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Doubt is the opposite of faith. Regardless of what religion or worldview one holds, everyone’s faith is mixed with a certain amount of doubt as well. Dealing with our doubts is quite important—perhaps equally important as dealing with our faith.
[Discussion: What could happen to those holding a certain worldview—be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, moral secularist or nihilist—who go through life too busy or indifferent to ask difficult questions about why they believe what they do?]
Doubts are really just a set of alternate beliefs. It’s impossible to doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if I doubt someone is telling the truth, it means I have faith that this someone is lying, and this is how it is with all beliefs and doubts. One can only doubt Belief A from a position of faith in Belief B. Thus, even self-proclaimed skeptics must realize there is faith hidden in their doubts.
A faith without any doubts is like your body lacking an immune system. If you never analyze your worldview, you will find yourself defenseless in difficult life situations or in the face of challenging questions from someone who doesn’t hold your beliefs. A person’s faith can evaporate very quickly if she hasn’t worked through her doubts, and only via such introspection will she be able to provide a logical and reasonable self-defense regarding her faith. Additionally, going through the process of investigating and considering your doubts, will give you increased respect, understanding, and sympathy towards those who doubt your worldview.
Everyone who thinks there is right and wrong, who wants to do moral reasoning, must be religious. Everyone who says, “You should to do this,” or “You shouldn’t do that,” reasons from their implicit or explicit moral and religious positions. Even the nihilists, who say there is no right and wrong, are religious, because they have faith in their unprovable position that ethics and morality do not matter.
All people live by faith. Regardless of what our religious beliefs are, they require faith.
Christians have faith that the God of the Bible exists;
Secularists have faith that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist, or, even if he does, he wouldn’t hold them accountable for their behavior;
Neither position can be proven with 100% certainty, which is why it’s important to analyze our doubts and not run away from this mental exercise, like many people do. They don’t want to think about difficult things, so they make assumptions about the nature of things, the universe, God, and never research it longer than 15 minutes. Then, they cross their fingers and hope for the best. Is this a wise manner to treat potentially the most important decision of your life? Take the challenge and develop an honest understanding of your faith and doubts.
Stay tuned for our next post.
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