In the face of what is taken for granted, we hear: “I have not the slightest shadow of doubt”. It is also said that “ignorance is very bold”. This is also true of faith. Some abandon it or embrace it without hesitation, without asking questions. Others ask themselves and ask: “I have so many doubts about faith… What should I do? Do you never have any doubts? We address here the question of whether it is possible to believe and doubt at the same time. We offer this handful of affirmations in the hope of opening up other reflections and conversations.
– Doubt is part of life. No one should set himself up as the absolute and definitive master of truth. Our knowledge is always relative. We are thirsty seekers of meaning, not its possessors. A doubt is a question that puts us on the trail of truth. As long as we live we doubt, because life is mystery. The important thing is that doubt awakens in us the desire to search and turns us into tireless explorers of truth. But we can never get out of doubt by ourselves.
– Doubt is also part of faith. Faith places us before what is beyond us, not before the absurd. It is the capacity to endure doubt. Doubting is not necessarily a sign of a lack of faith or a disease of faith. Doubting leads us to purify our naïve or prefabricated beliefs and allows us to immerse ourselves in the mystery that is God, that is the other, that is ourselves. “Faith does not eliminate questions; indeed, a believer who does not ask himself questions would end up by becoming corseted”. Ratzinger dixit.
– To believe is not to think but to love. The act of faith is not reduced to a clear and distinct knowledge of an abstract truth, but an intimate adherence to a person, to Jesus Christ the Lord. Doubts make us grow if they lead us to know Christ better and to love him more. In this way we reach the deepest level of faith, which is love and trust. Without this leap of trusting adherence we would be trapped in the nets of ignorance or in the chains of error, which is worse.
– Setting off alarm bells. Doubting becomes dangerous with surrender, allowing it to spread in free fall through the mind and heart. This happens when in times of doubt nothing is done: neither to the Word of God nor to the good counsel of those who have experience. Let us not undervalue advice. Counselling the doubter is a work of mercy. Without help, doubt leads to scepticism, even if it seems to be comfortable or neutral territory.
Let us conclude: There is a natural doubt in believing and loving. In the face of it, let us avoid two extremes: Unquestioning certainty and obsessive doubt. Virtue is in the middle of both. It is a synthesis of opposites.
Juan Carlos cmf