I suppose one of the problems with doubt is the fact that I’m not sure about it. Oh, I know that it exists but it only seems to exist in my mind. The reality is this: I doubt doubt. But shouldn’t I doubt it? Maybe?
It’s not that there can’t be evidence given that doubt exists. I not only see the effects of doubt in the actions (or inactions) of other people, it seems to be intrinsic to my very nature. I think therefore I doubt?
It’s not that logic can never ‘prove’ doubt. It most certainly can. If incomplete knowledge produces uncertainty, and humans have incomplete knowledge, then humans doubt. Voila! Doubt proven beyond a shadow of…well.
Science does a pretty good job of securing the certainty of doubt. There has been more scientific progress in the last 200 years than all of the rest of history combined. That being said, there have been more scientific ‘facts’ in the past century that have been given the boot for ‘better’ scientific ‘facts’ than we would like to admit. In fact, the scientific failures of modernity brought us post-modernity, the age of doubt. The age of scientific reliance gave way to the age of the science of skepticism. If you build it, it will break, blow up, quit, stop, or just plain fail! So can science prove anything? Well, maybe. But can anything prove science? I doubt it. It is also the age of cultural failure. Governments failed to provide peace and millions have died on the battlefields that were supposed to be non-existent by now. The new age should have brought peace, but we kicked God out only to find it easier to justify war.
The family breeds doubt. No fault divorce, the age of free sex, and the destruction of the sacrament of marriage has shattered the dreams of billions of children who only wish their parents could’ve stayed together. Now they see their marital commitments as unnecessary at least, and temporary at best. If you ask newlyweds if they will stay married for 20 years or more, their answer would probably be, “I doubt it”.
Doubt is contemporary. It is the essence of our news cycle. 24 hours of the same news over and over has left the public waiting for breaking news that will be repeated at the same rate as the last story. I wonder if repeated news is news at all, or as many have determined, is it just propaganda by the media machine. Do people trust the major news sources that we so faithfully watch? I doubt it.
Doubt is political. The name of the game in politics today is how can we place enough doubt in the minds of the swing voter so that he will continue to elect the status quo? Most people agree that principles take a back seat to ‘security’ when it comes to the voting booth. We have become a doubt determined democracy rather than a resolute republic.
Doubt is socioeconomic. When asked about their financial future, the median answer is uncertainty covered with outright skepticism. People don’t have careers anymore. They have portable retirement plans and disposable jobs. Retirement after a long career at the same place is more than doubtful, its dreamy.
Doubt is religious. The majority of Americans stay home on Sunday now. The rest are extremely cautious about joining any organization, must less a church. Young people especially have little problem with hopping around from church to church, never truly becoming part of a community of anything. If its a religious organization, we are dogmatically doubtful of its doctrine.
One might say that all of this doubt is a good thing. I’ve even heard and read of those who say that doubt is in fact virtue. I believe on some level, the skeptics are right. A little bit of skepticism is healthy, but I can’t go so far as to label it as virtuous.
You see, the opposite of doubt is not ignorance. Unfortunately, that is a common misnomer. It’s a misapplication we make especially after we have been burned by our lack of healthy skepticism about something that we thought we knew more about than we actually did. We equate the pain of being wrong about something we should’ve studied more in depth, to trusting anything and being committed to it.
Those are the opposite of doubt, trust and commitment, not ignorance. And when we begin to see that it is not ignorance that is being overcome by doubt in all areas of life, but it is trust and commitment that suffer from our ardent apprehension, we may not value doubt so much. We are quick to smash ignorance and march under the banner of doubt, touting its supposed virtuous qualities and lifting its superior side effects like lack of embarrassment, lack of personal cost, and lack of personal investment. It’s easy for us to miss the fact that the lack of trust costs us a great deal relationally, spiritually, and culturally. It’s easily overlooked that a lack of commitment costs a great deal when it fails to produce personal perseverance and patience.
All I am saying is this, if we are satisfied with doubt, skepticism, and uncertainty, and hold contempt for faith, trust, and commitment, then we should be honest with ourselves about the cost of such a sway in scruples. We have not been a nation, or a human race for that matter, that has erred on the side of doubt. We have defaulted to greater virtues in the past. But if this path of perfidiousness is our doubtful destination, then let us hesitate on the treacherous trail of fickleness. Let us gaze at the humanity we once were and long for the day gone by of trust and commitment. Before we dive into the abyss of apostasy, can we take one last look at our former faithful condition and wonder, was it really that bad?
I doubt it.