Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.
– Frederick Buechner
I talk to God but the sky is empty. ― Sylvia Plath
I think the trouble with me is lack of faith… often when I pray I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address. – C.S. Lewis
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty! ― Douglas Adams
Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one. ― Voltaire
Who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith?… We’ve all experienced this, me too. – Pope Francis
… the Old Testament, which is where many of the questions (and questioners) are. The Old Testament proves that God honors questioners. Remember, grumpy Job emerges as the hero of that book, not his theologically defensive friends. — Philip Yancey
Songs about DOUBTS & QUESTIONS:
- No Doubt About It by We The Kingdom (Christian): https://youtu.be/JCvKzyj2Tu8
- Lost in Doubt by Fame on Fire (pop): https://youtu.be/uTJjQ3QX3Y8
- Shadow of a Doubt by Bonnie Raitt (country): https://youtu.be/CRA8u93sOWs
- Doubt by Twenty-One Pilots (rap/spoken word): https://youtu.be/MEiVnNNpJLA
- Forgiven by Alanis Morisette (pop): https://youtu.be/-9DnL-TlyJw
- Sense of Doubt by David Bowie (instrumental): https://youtu.be/ENqheXKftbo
- No Doubt About Love by Kenny Loggins (country): https://youtu.be/usDtyKAfHjw
- Hand to Hold by JJ Heller (pop): https://youtu.be/n88EHf_ocoQ
- Remove This Doubt by Diana Ross & The Supremes (rock/soul): https://youtu.be/7qnQ9bZAMLo
- The Angel of Doubt by Punch Brothers (folk): https://youtu.be/9PibO0h7Hrg
- Lay Your Doubts & Fears Aside from Semele, HWV 58, Act II Scene III: No. 32 (Jupiter) (opera): https://youtu.be/a9nyBhLiumw
- Dyin Day by Anias Mitchell (folk/country): https://youtu.be/X1KG7jsaTrM
- Ain’t No Doubt About It by Wilson Pickett (rock/soul): https://youtu.be/CdjbvwJ4NHg
- Don’t Speak by No Doubt (pop): https://youtu.be/TR3Vdo5etCQ
- First by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://youtu.be/RbWQV3OiRqA
- Who Could Ever Doubt My Love? By Diana Ross and the Supremes (soul/rock): https://youtu.be/4yaUE3L5Ex4
- Doubt by Joywave (pop): https://youtu.be/rTfGoa4p_EQ
- Doubt by Mary J Blige (R&B/soul): https://youtu.be/NUE5r4Mzf80
- Doubt Me Now by Cody Johnson (country): https://youtu.be/CdPmRNl3a6E
- No Doubt by Robin Gibb (rock): https://youtu.be/il0ugK6Doo0
- Raise a Hallelujah by Jonathan and Melissa Helser (Christian): https://youtu.be/awkO61T6i0k
- Laughing With by Regina Spektor (pop): https://youtu.be/-pxRXP3w-sQ
- Doubt by The Cure (rock): https://youtu.be/X2iHXlCShmY
- If You Find Yourself in Love by Belle & Sebastien (pop): https://youtu.be/de8OlR7G1xU
- Shadow of a Doubt by Roxette (rock): https://youtu.be/NMwbdiKzd4U
- When In Doubt by Punch Brothers (folk instrumental): https://youtu.be/cjBQT8GKf80
- No Doubt About It by Bay City Rollers (pop/rock): https://youtu.be/oPPERfmIpzE
- This Is the House that Doubt Built by A Day to Remember (hard rock/punk rock): https://youtu.be/9xjb9rvi7Js
- A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way by Reel Big Fish Band (zydeco/cajun): https://youtu.be/aLDgVieHIOM
- Shadow of a Doubt by Asia (rock): https://youtu.be/ZfKnjoShJTc
- Monolith of Doubt by After Forever (metal rock): https://youtu.be/rnNQpPW6ofc
- Without a Doubt by The Roots (rap, caution: explicit lyrics): https://youtu.be/IJJzRWO72Po
- Debate Exposes Doubt by Death Cab for Cutie (indie/rock): https://youtu.be/0E83Fvd5rFA
|A Sonnet for St. Thomas the Apostle|
— Malcolm Guite
“We do not know… how can we know the way?”
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.
Because He loved your awkward counter-point
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.
QUESTIONING: An Act of Faith
When I speak to college students, I challenge them to find a single argument against God in the older agnostics (Bertrand Russell, Voltaire, David Hume) or the newer ones (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) that is not already included in books like Psalms, Job, Habakkuk, and Lamentations. I have respect for a God who not only gives us the freedom to reject him, but also includes the arguments we can use in the Bible. God seems rather doubt-tolerant, actually. — Philip Yancey
In other words, no matter how strong our faith is, at some point we may experience doubt. But instead of being a sign of weakness, doubt can actually be something that causes us to dig deeper into our relationship with God, and can even make our faith stronger. — Jesse Carey
Certainty is so often overrated. This is especially the case when it comes to faith, or other imponderables. — Julia Baird
Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith… Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful. – Paul Tillich
Belief in God does not exempt us from feelings of abandonment by God. Praising God does not inoculate us from doubts about God. – Eugene Peterson
Surely… we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety. – John Calvin
I do not believe there ever existed a Christian yet, who did not now and then doubt his interest in Jesus. I think, when a man says, “I never doubt,” it is quite time for us to doubt him. – Charles Spurgeon
The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues, and thanked God that he was not like other men… Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.”– Madeleine L’Engle
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate… I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. – Brennan Manning
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as a cabbage as long as you doubt. – Dallas Willard
All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it, tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest – if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself – you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.‘ — C. S. Lewis
I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me—that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. — Anne Lamott
Who among us—everybody, everybody!—who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We’ve all experienced this, me too. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them … If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. — Pope Francis
Darkness is such that I really do not see—neither with my mind nor with my reason—the place of God in my soul is blank—There is no God in me—when the pain of longing is so great—I just long & long for God … The torture and pain I can’t explain. — St. Mother Teresa
For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy of God. — Martin Luther
The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble … Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise amid overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints. — Charles Spurgeon
If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. ― Yann Martel
COMMENTARY on THOMAS as a DOUBTER
Here’s my simple contention about this passage: Thomas is not so much a doubter as he is a realist. Think about it. Everything we know about Thomas up to this point suggests that he is forthright, genuine, and even courageous …
Thomas, I would contend, is at heart a pragmatist, one who likes his truth straight up and who relentlessly takes stock of the situation before making a decision. …
Which leads me to believe that what changes when Thomas is confronted by the risen Lord is not that he is no longer a doubter – he never really was – and certainly not his realism. No, what changes is his perception of reality itself. Of what is possible. Of what God can do. Even of what God can do through him….
Jesus comes and takes his mocking words and turns them back on him, not to humiliate or scold him, but simply to confront him with the possibility that his reality was too small, his vision of what is possible too limited. And when Jesus calls him to faith, he’s actually inviting him to enter into a whole new world. …
And this issue of having too small a vision of reality is what I find interesting. Because I also fall into a worldview governed by limitations and am tempted to call that “realism.” Which is when I need to have the community remind me of a grander vision. A vision not defined by failure but possibility, not governed by scarcity but by abundance, not ruled by remembered offenses but set free by forgiveness and reconciliation …
There are, I suspect, a lot of Thomases in our congregations…. who should not have to surrender their sense of realism, but instead be invited to a whole new reality that God created — David Lose
So, two things I noticed and wondered about when reading this passage.
First, Thomas only asks to see what the other disciples have already seen. … Thomas asks for no extraordinary proof to move his extraordinary doubt, but only requests what the others had already been given.
Second, is Thomas’ reaction one of doubt or realism? Might it be that Thomas was, above all else, a realist? And that reality had come as never before ….— David Lose
This week’s gospel lection offers us a secret room, and, with it, an invitation to touch, to cross more deeply into Jesus’ story and our own… History has labeled this disciple Doubting Thomas, as if his uncertainty were the most memorable thing about this follower of Jesus who, elsewhere, is the first to step up and say he is willing to die with him Yet Jesus, as is his way, gives Thomas what he needs — Jan Richardson
I was reminded that in the story of the raising of Lazarus, Thomas is the one—the only one—who steps forward and expresses his willingness to die with Jesus. In this week’s reading, Thomas once again crosses into a place where others have not ventured: into the very flesh of the risen Christ… The wounds of the risen Christ are not a prison; they are a passage. Thomas’s hand in Christ’s side is not some bizarre, morbid probe: it is a union, and a reminder that in taking flesh, Christ wed himself to us.— Jan Richardson
Inventory ― Dorothy Parker
Four be the things
I am wiser to know:
a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things
I’d been better without:
freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things
I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and
Three be the things
I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope
and a sock in the eye.
We learn from failure, not from success! ― Bram Stoker
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. ― René Descartes
Doubt everything. Find your own light. ― Gautama Buddha
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.― William Shakespeare
To deny, to believe, and to doubt absolutely — this is for man what running is for a horse. – Blaise Pascal
Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.
― George Carlin
Doubt as sin. — Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature — is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned. ― Friedrich Nietzsche
I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess. ― Walt Whitman
And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers–perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life. ― Rainer Maria Rilke
THE GIFT of DOUBT —from Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister (Penguin Random House)
As Voltaire remarked, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
The problem is that certitude seduces us. It enables us to believe that what was said to be true is true because someone else said so. It simply cuts off thought. It arrests discussion in midflight. And yet we yearn for it with a passion. We spend endless, sleepless nights grappling with intellectual options in order to wiggle them into a satisfying kind of certainty without so much as a scintilla of evidence.
Rulers of all stripe and type dispense certainties—theirs—with great abandon. They do whatever it takes—define cultural dogmas, assert organizational doctrines, impose decrees, and use power, force and penal systems—to suppress the ideas of anyone who dares to question them. Ideas, after all, are dangerous things. Ideas have brought down as many myths and mysteries as they have toppled kingdoms.
But there is another way to live that runs hot and bright through darkness. There are always some in every population who know that life is not meant to be about certainty. Life, they realize, is about possibility. They see certitude as a direction but not an end.
Doubt is what shakes our arrogance and makes us look again at what we have never really looked at before. Without doubt there is little room for faith in anything. What we accept without question we will live without morality. It is in populations like this that monarchs become dictators and spiritual leaders become charlatans and knowledge becomes myth.
An ancient people tell the story of sending out two shamans to study their holy mountain so that they could know what their gods expected of them. The first shaman came back from the north side of the mountain to tell them that it was covered with fruit trees, a sign that their god would always bless them abundantly. The second shaman came back from the south side of the mountain to tell the people that it was barren and covered with rock, a sign that their god would always be with them but intended them to take care of themselves. So, which shaman was right? If both, then it is dangerous to dogmatize either position.
It is doubt, not certitude, that enables us to believe, because it requires us to think deeply about an entire subject, and not simply depend on the side of reality that is on our side of the mountain. Only when we look beyond absolutes to understand every level of life can we possibly live life to the fullest, with the deepest kind of insight, with the greatest degree of compassion for others.
Voltaire was right, of course. Certainty is comfortable but always unlikely and forever disruptive. As life changes so must our explanation and response to it.
The Blessing of Thomas
— Maren Tirabassi
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” — John 20:29b
Blessed are the ones, says Thomas,
to those who listen to him, this eastertide,
who don’t need a sanctuary to worship God.
Blessed are those who don’t need a choir to hear holy music,
and who don’t need to sit in a pew
to open their hearts in prayer,
and who don’t need a stained glass window,
or a preacher or even bread and cup
to find the good news.
Blessed are those who really touch
even with gloves on,
who really smile with a mask,
who can be kind on Facetime or Zoom,
who follow a livestream to find Jesus alive.
But also blessed is the Thomas in every one of us
who acknowledges our longing
to hold someone’s real warm hand
not just the story of a hand
that reaches out to someone else, and who wants to feel
not Jesus’ long-ago bleeding side
(we congratulate ourselves about that)
but at least to feel side by side
with other Christians
in order to be side by side with Christ.
Blessed is the Thomas in all of us, who lives with doubts and hopes,
and learns to let go of all expectations
when waiting to meet God.