Doubt

I had a random conversation with a guy named Josh yesterday. This occurred at Devil’s Pizza in Durham on 9th Street. I wandered in there while I was on 9th Street shopping. I was hungry so I ordered a slice and sat down. Josh was sitting on the next table over, and was facing me. He proceeded to engage me in a conversation. He brought up the issue of religion, and told me that he was attending a big Evangelical mega-church near where I live. I have been to this church. It repels me. I find this form of religious expression to be simply a form of entertainment and nothing more.

I suppose he tweaked me. Also, he was quite insistent that he wanted to have a conversation with me on the subject of religion. Every time I tried to turn the conversation away from religion, he turned it back. Eventually, I surrendered to the inevitable, came over, sat down with Josh and told him the truth.

Bottom line: When Josh walked into Devi’s Pizza yesterday, he was a Christian. When he walked out, he was not so sure. Not that he abandoned his faith at that moment, but he was absolutely sure about what he believed when he met me, and when he walked away, he was filled with doubt.

Here is the thing: I really like doubt. I think doubt is great. It keeps you humble. The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know much. What I did in that man’s life was to demolish myths and shine the light of doubt into his heart.

When I was a Christian, doubt was considered a bad thing: We were to do everything possible to root doubt out of our hearts and lives. Now, I embrace it. Interesting. Josh, if you are out there, I would love to hear from you, and how you are doing. Let me know how that doubt thing is working for you. It works for me, that’s for sure.

More later.

6 thoughts on “Doubt

  1. I like this post. I have grown up in church and you are exactly right. We are taught that doubt is a bad thing, and that we should not ask questions, and that we should do what we are told without question. But that produces people who are unable to think for themselves. If you only believe what you believe because someone told you to, it will never be concrete, and it will never be as meaningful to you. I had to overcome that barrier, and start to figure out what I believed for myself. I was looked down upon for studying other religions, and even today I am looked down upon for asking questions, or questioning why we do what we do. So I admire what you did. We need to learn to embrace doubt. We need to not take a narrow-minded approach to the issue, and be willing to see other views. If Christianity is really as great as we think it is, we have nothing to worry about. That was something that I had to find out on my own.

  2. Doubt is a cop out. It is a way of saying, “I refuse to be my spiritual self.” Understand that the spiritual can atrophy like the bodily can atrophy. To choose to doubt is to choose to atrophy your spiritual self – to weaken your own person. To doubt is to close one’s eyes in order not to work anymore. It’s slothful.

    • Francis:

      Interesting! I would maintain the exact opposite. I know for sure that I work a lot harder on my spirituality now, when I am in a state of doubt, than I did when I was a Christian. But sure, I’ll bite. Tell me why you believe that passionately believing things for which there is no physical evidence, and which may possibly violate the physical laws of the universe, is somehow less “slothful”. Does really, really believing that stuff tone up the old brain cells somehow? Help me out here…

      Regards,
      Jeff

      • Dear Jeff – humans have both a physical/material component (body) and spiritual/immaterial component (a soul made in the Image of God with a) intellect and b ) free will). While our bodies need the physical senses and their operations to survive on earth with our fellow creatures, we need our spirits (made in God’s image) and our spiritual graces from God (such as faith, hope and love) in order to become prepared for life after earthly death. We must balance the physical and the spiritual for our own good – in order that our “persons” may be healed (from that wound of Original Sin) and so that we may be fully prepared for life after earthly death. If you neglect one element, you neglect your whole person.

      • Dear Jeff – humans have both a physical/material component (body) and spiritual/immaterial component (a soul made in the Image of God with a) intellect and b ) free will). While our bodies need the physical senses and their operations to survive on earth with our fellow creatures, we need our spirits (made in God’s image) and our spiritual graces from God (such as faith, hope and love) in order to become prepared for life after earthly death. We must balance the physical and the spiritual for our own good – in order that our “persons” may be healed (from that wound of Original Sin) and so that we may be fully prepared for life after earthly death. If you neglect one element, you neglect your whole person.

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