Top favorite filter_none issues star search apps google-plus facebook instagram twitter pinterest youtube lock

Keep the Doubt

by Rabbi Rami ShapiroFebruary 28, 2012
Grow

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 Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.

His newest book is The World Wisdom Bible.

He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."

To comment on this installment of One For the Road or submit a question, email the editors. Questions may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.


This entry is tagged with:
FaithDoubtReligionSpirituality

Enlightening, Empowering, Innovative, Inspiring… Don’t Miss a Word!

Become a subscriber, or find us at your local bookstore, newsstand, or grocer.

Find us on instagram @SpiritHealthMag


1 (844) 375-3755
2017 Spirituality & Health MEDIA, LLC