A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about faith. In that post, I dealt with pretty much every aspect of faith I can think of. However, I didn’t cover doubt. Because that post became much longer than I expected it to be. So in this post, I will deal with the arch enemy of faith. Doubt. But before we go into the details, I want to make something clear. For the rest of this post, whenever I use words “faith” and “doubt”, I am talking about faith on somebody. I am talking about a relationship. Not about faith in “something”. Not like “I believe these pills gonna cure my cold”. Now that’s clear, let’s get into the main subject.
What is doubt? Antonym for faith. Dictionary defines it as “lack of faith” or “uncertainty”. However I think that doubt is more than just “lack of faith” or “uncertainty”. Whenever there is a relationship there is more than just uncertainty. In a relationship, doubt is “fear of betrayal”. Now that fear has come into the picture, let me give you a little background of fear.
Whenever there is any kind of fear, it is always based on one thing. It is always based on lack of knowledge. Why do kids fear darkness? Because they don’t know what may lie ahead. And all the “big people” around them love to tell them scary stories of ghosts. So their imagination run wild and in their mind they ask the question what if there is a ghost ahead? What will it do to me? Will it eat me? I don’t want to die… That’s what happens in a child’s mind. So, if you don’t want your kids to be afraid of dark, don’t tell them scary stories. But that is besides the point. They are afraid because they don’t know what lies ahead. Fear is always base on “What if?”. Fear is always based on lack of knowledge.
According to the all knowing dictionary, meaning of doubt is uncertainty. With fear, it is also pretty much the same thing. Fear also produces uncertainty. So I think the meaning of doubt(in a relationship) would be fear of betrayal.
Now that we have dealt with the question of what, let us deal with why. But with the question of why, the question of how comes for free(buy one, get one free). So let us deal with both. I think faith precedes doubt. To doubt something, you must have faith somewhere in the equation. You can not doubt something without some kind of faith. For example, sometimes you doubt your friends. Will he really keep his promise about returning your book? There, you question your own faith on your friend.
There is also another kind of doubt. Suppose one of your friend’s friend needs some data urgently and he does not have a pen drive with him. Neither does your friend have a pen drive. But you do. So your friend asks you to lend your pen drive to his friend. Your friend have faith in his friend. However you do not know him. So, in your mind you doubt or question will he return the pen drive? So there, you are questioning your friend’s faith in his friend. So in any way look at it, faith precedes doubt.
Without faith, doubt can not exist. So, then we need to know what faith is. For the answer to that question, you can read my post on faith. However, if you don’t want to read it, I’ll give you one simple illustration.
For this illustration, I’d like to thank my friend Jojo. The illustration goes like this. When a baby is tossed up in the air, and she is up in the air, she doesn’t cry, but she laughs. Because the baby believes that the person who has thrown her into air, will also catch her. She believes in the person tossing her up in the air completely. There is not a shred of doubt in her mind. That is an example of faith. We all were once babies. So, we had that kind of faith in people around us. We weren’t a doubter or skeptic when we were born. So now that we have grown up, from where does doubt comes into our mind?
The answer lies in the current state of this world. We do not live in an ideal world. People don’t do as they say. They break promises. They use others in their own pursuit of grandeur. So, as the baby grows up, he/she will have certain “real world”(rather than the “ideal world” created by their parents) experience. Experiences where someone doesn’t keep their promises. Where someone whom they trust, betrays their trust. Someone who uses him/her so that they themselves can have whatever they want. So at first, where there was complete certainty(because of the “ideal world” created by their parents), a little bit of uncertainty starts to creep in(because of the “real world” experiences). As he/she grows up, there will be more and more such experiences. So the uncertainty will keep growing.
Now he/she has reached a state in her life where whenever there is someone new in his/her life, whenever someone promises him/her something, his/her imagination kicks in and they start to think about what can be the outcome of this. They remember their previous bad experiences. They want to trust the person but their past experiences tells them something different. It says, do not trust this person, remember that guy whom you trusted completely but he betrayed you? I think that’s how we learn to doubt.
So doubt begins with bad experiences, however it thrives in imagination. I think the ingredients needed to create doubt in any person’s mind are, bad experiences and imaginations.
Let me summarize the main points: * Meaning of doubt : Fear of betrayal * The formula to create doubt in any mind : bad experiences + imagination
So now that we have understood how doubt comes into existence, let us see if we can find out if there is any tonic for it. Any serum that can cure us from our doubt. I think there is. However to get to that tonic we need to get even deeper into the topic. I think doubt is not the real problem To get to the real problem, we need to get back to the definition. I defined doubt as “fear of betrayal”. Where does fear come from? Lack of knowledge. So the tonic for doubt is knowledge. Whenever in doubt about someone, try to get to know him/her more.
Imaginations can not run wild if you know the person. If you know how the person behaves, if you know the character of the person, you will know that if he is trustworthy or not. If you know that he is trustworthy, your imagination will not be able to run wild. You have assurance. That assurance comes from knowledge.
The another way to cure doubt is to suppress your imagination. But that is not good for your mental health. Trust me. Do you know any person who is very superstitious? Let me tell you, he used this method. He has suppressed his imagination. Imagination is essential for asking questions. It is essential for creativity, for innovation, for thinking out of the box. So you shouldn’t suppress your imagination. You should acquire more knowledge.
So how does this apply to Christianity? What do I do when I am in a crisis of faith? What do I do when I doubt God? The answer to that question is acquire more knowledge about God. Bible says:
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)
Have you asked why is it so? Why does bible say so? Well, now you don’t have to. Because, now you understand. Bible says this because faith(or assurance) comes by acquiring knowledge. By hearing the word of God, you are acquiring knowledge about God. So, in one simple sentence, when you doubt God, read the bible. So, let me finish with a quote.
“You can’t stand effectively on “blind” faith. You must have a “knowing” faith.” -Gloria Copeland