Monday, November 07, 2011

Food for thought: Doubt & belief

photo: mine

"Perhaps that's a general principle: the depth of our doubt is roughly proportionate to the depth of our faith. Those with strong faith have equally strong doubts.... 
Here lies the basic flaw of all doubt: it really can never be satisfied. No evidence is ever fully, finally enough. Doubt wants always to consume, never to consummate. It clamors endlessly for an answer, and so drowns out any answer that might be given. It demands proof, but will doubt the proof proffered. Doubt, then, can become an appetite gone wrong; its craving increases the more we try to fill it. Christ's concluding words to Thomas are not so much an endorsement of 'mere belief' as a warning that the quest for 'proof' is not the path of blessedness. 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'
Just what is the connection between seeing and believing? Jesus tells Thomas after he sees him to stop doubting and believe. Belief is still called for, still demanded. Seeing does not remove the necessity of belief: seeing is not believing... 
Doubt, when honest, should set us on a quest for that which is true, real, that for which we can give not only our intellectual assent but, even more, that to which we can entrust our very lives. Thomas's doubt led to this place. Jesus shows his wounds to Thomas, tells Thomas to see, to touch. He sees, but he doesn't touch. He knows when enough is enough. And here is the real sign that Thomas is not some poseur, some mere academic trend-chaser: his seeing gives way, not just to belief, but to worship: 'My Lord and my God!'"
~Mark Buchannon in "The Benefit of the Doubt"

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