Spirituality & Health Magazine

|
Tue, February 28 2012

Keep the Doubt

By:
Rabbi Rami Shapiro

I am often told to keep the faith. The truth is, however, I prefer doubt. Faith is about clinging to answers that cannot be proven, while doubt is about wrestling with questions that just won’t go away. Of course I have faith in the value of doubt, so maybe I can keep both, but forced to choose I choose doubt.

Doubt is liberating. Faith plucks the fruit of questioning before it has time to ripen; doubt allows the fruit to ripen. This is what spirituality (dare I say religion?) ought to be about: ripening the questions. Yet people’s hunger for answers is so great that faith almost always trumps doubt.

Unfortunately the answers we pluck and eat rarely satisfy. This is because our questions are weak, and our answers to them shallow. In fact what we call answers are simply echoes of our own opinions. This is why I distrust answers: the right ones always turn out to be mine, and the wrong ones always turn out to be yours. Either I’m infallible, or I simply prefer my ideas to any others.

I’m not saying there is no right or wrong answer. I’m only saying I can’t know which is which. So honesty dictates that I admit to not knowing, and keep the doubt rather than the faith.

 

Rabbi Rami Shapiro's picture
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," appears bimonthly in Spirituality & Health magazine. His newest book is "Rabbi Rami Guides: God"

OUR SPONSORS


  • Derma E
  • Expand Adventures
  • Flatiron Books
  • The Four Winds
  • ILike Organic Skin Care
  • New Vision Seminary
  • Mukpo Institute
  • Omega Institute
  • Share International