Archive for faith

Doubt as a Complement to Faith

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2012 by Konstantin

Lesson: 

Faith without Doubt is unreasonable. Doubt without Faith is unsustainable. 

faith and doubt

In many respects, ‘faith’ and ‘doubt’ are antonymous; diametrically opposed concepts that are mutually exclusive and polar opposites on the spectrum of human sentience.

Faith is defined as ‘knowledge without evidence’.  Doubt is defined as ‘skepticism towards knowledge as a result of lacking or unconvincing evidence’.

Conclusively, based on their aforementioned definition, the two terms would negate one another.

The abstraction of ‘faith’, in many cultures, is perceived as virtuous; a spec of hope and resilience in the face of almost inevitable calamity.  After all, it is faith that so humbly reserves a space for the word ‘almost’ prior to ‘inevitable’, allowing for that minuscule ray of hope to flourish from improbability to certainty.

In a global society that constructs cultural frameworks under the pretense of self- preservation, faith has found a resounding place in the human psyche; a place whose pertinence is unmatched in ensuring the survival of the human race.

Faith is the sentiment by which we project our hopes and dreams into the future.

In many ways, faith constitutes an integral part of human adaptability and survival.  But there are drawbacks, the implications of which can be disastrous.  Faith is often confused with certainty as it is often used to alleviate uncertainty.  It can balloon to such proportions that it no longer has the ability to control itself; it becomes blind, self-reinforcing and belligerent towards anything that invokes doubt.

I often encounter this sort of faith in religious zealots that are incapable of compromising their faith.  So set are they on eliminating all remnants of doubt that they alienate themselves to the reality of life.

So is ‘doubt’ the antithesis of  ‘faith’?

Before the age of reason, doubt had always reserved a dreaded corner of the human mind.  It was the culmination of all the obstacles in the human mind that impeded catharsis.  Oftentimes we say ‘my heart is filled with doubt’ when we are overcome with grief and uncertainty, and unmoderated doubt is bound to produce such results.  But logically, doubt has its perks; it constantly serves to refine the standard of what is ‘acceptable evidence’ required to deem something truthful.  Doubt is the process by which we produce inquiry and thusly progress.

In many ways, faith and doubt are complementary.  Where faith serves as a hedge, albeit an unproven hedge, against uncertainty, doubt serves as a hedge against blind faith.

Doubt is the failsafe that mediates faith, ensuring it does not grow beyond its intended purpose.

As an ardent skeptic, it was difficult for me to reach this conclusion.  Doubt had always been a weapon best deployed in the event of idiocy; often encountered idiocy.  I was hasty in my generalizations: I had come to recognize faith as unbridled devotion to mad ramblings in the holy scriptures of Abrahamic religion.  I had broken my own rule.

Rule infinity: Moderation is key

Faith, in small doses, is an elixir of analgesic properties, both spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically.  It has the potential to alleviate burdens which are otherwise perpetuated by doubt, acting alone.  In excess, faith is counterbalanced by doubt; opposing forces that convolve to create balance, neither favoring hopeless doubt nor blind faith.