Food for Thought|Jun 6, 2007 8:02 AM| by:

Of Truth and Doubt

There is a spirit of inquiry and a spirit of doubt. The two may appear similar and close in their action but are very different in their origin and function.

The spirit of inquiry is born out of a veiled faith — a faith that what is being sought, exists.  The spirit of doubt springs from distrust — that what is being sought, does not exist. The spirit of inquiry is open; the spirit of doubt is presumptuous. The former presumes that things we do not know, may exist, and perhaps we can find them. Doubt presumes that things we do not know or have no experience of now, most likely do not exist, which is why it tries to deny and discard piece by piece any possible evidence that it may find to the contrary. Therefore, whereas inquiry opens the doors for a greater search and finding, doubt closes whatever doors may still be open, colouring all with its own grey hue. The spirit of inquiry creates and builds, whereas the spirit of doubt destroys and demolishes.

Both science and spirituality are built upon the spirit of inquiry. They are a seeking for truth, light and wisdom, a search for the new and unknown. Any absence of such genuine inquiry turns science into repetitive and mechanical research. So also, the absence of such a thirst turns spirituality into a blind cult or religion.

Yet doubt has a role to play. When science becomes a matter of fixed formulas and inflexible laws, and spirituality a mass of dead customs, doubt surfaces. Doubt razes to the ground our seemingly safe structures. Or else, it frees us from all structures so that we can stand before the infinity of Truth, which exceeds every man-made formula.

But inquiry and not doubt is the way, for the very thirst presupposes water somewhere.  Doubt and faith are mutually opposing forces that cancel each other. Inquiry is like a waft of wind that fans the fire of faith. Doubt, in contrast, is like a storm that may cover and extinguish the fire. Therefore, let us proceed in our search for Truth on the basis of a faith that inquires rather than on the shifting grounds of doubt and criticism.

Let us then seek out and inquire, let us search and find.

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