it finds something ugly and demand proofs.
Thus tested by you,
doubt may become
But don’t give in,
demand reasons and
be persistent and
attentive every single time, and
the day will come when,
instead of a destroyer,
he will become one of your best
—perhaps one of the most intelligent of those who help you build your life. ~ Rilke
Rilke continues to confirm my suspicion that poets are ultimately the best theologians.
I doubt I’d label doubt as a virtue. But I doubt doubt’s a vice either
Like everything else, it’s what we do with it, isn’t it?
Taken as an emotional response, perhaps it would be best to treat it as we should every other emotional response: pay attention to it like a flashing red light on our dashboard and ask why it’s there.
We often say we shouldn’t feed our fears, and would perhaps add to that we shouldn’t feed our doubts. But perhaps it is fearing to face our doubts that actually feeds them and the fears behind them, all the more, shoving them down, caulking over them, whitewashing them with enthusiastic prayer and Scripture recitations or with enthusiastic postulations and Scientific recitations (depending on whether we’re talking about religious or irreligious faith). But in the end, they keep breaking through the walls we put up, the crack increasingly, consistently appearing in every scene, every room of our lives.
What if behind every crack of doubt there is the light of revelation waiting to get through, the light of an explosive epiphany waiting to be faced and embraced so that in the light of it we can sort out the good and the bad, the keepers and the throwaways.
What if instead of exorcising our doubts we need to allow ourselves to be exercised by them?
To stop fearing our doubts and keeping them in the shadows, to stop trying to escape to the next scene to avoid them, to embrace them as intelligent servants rather than pushing them away as feared destroyers – this is perhaps the greatest challenge of a life of faith.
Perhaps it’s the greatest challenge of being human.