View Full Version : Doubt and its role in spirituality

July 28th, 2008, 03:51 AM
I thought we could use a thread for doubt. It's role in spirituality, how it can be positive and negative and what people have learned from experiencing it. Also, what if anything helped you overcome your doubt? oh and if you worship gods, how do they help, react, etc to your doubt? Any advice you can give to those who are in the throws of doubt?

Basically anything about doubt would be fine.

I've personally had a lot of run-ins with doubt, sometimes it really screws me up, but other times I see it as a blessing and a lot of the times is just is, being there in the background. I used to let it rule my spirituality, but I'm getting a little better with that now. I might post some more thought on this later...

July 28th, 2008, 06:12 AM
I think that doubt and scepticism form a crucial part of healthy spirituality. If you go through life believing everything you hear or read without critical examination, you're bound to run into a lot of problems with misinformation.

Doubt and scepticism, coupled with critical analysis of phenomena or conceptual ideas leads to one having a rational outlook on one's spirituality and religious views. It cuts out the BS and gives you something functional that is both deeply personal and logically consistent.

I used to struggle with this early on, but I think I have struck a healthy midpoint where I look at things rationally, but still feel and experience things emotionally.

July 28th, 2008, 07:13 AM
I really have to second what Louisvillian said, and I think his point about striking a balance is absolutely critical. If you can make your doubt work for you, rather than letting it work you, it can be a powerful tool.

Ben Gruagach
July 28th, 2008, 09:25 AM
I'm like Louisvillian and Corvus -- I see doubt as an important part of a healthy spirituality. Without a working BS-detector we end up victims of whatever charismatic person or group that comes our way. Giving up our critical faculties means abdicating our personal responsibility, which is an illusion sure to get shattered in a rather unpleasant way.

It can seem comforting to just accept that others have "The Truth" and that we can get all the answers to everything if we just submit to whoever the authority is supposed to be. However, when we get into hard times, when we get to the point where it really is just us as individuals and the Divine (however It manifests) those so-called authorities will not be there to fulfill our responsibilities, to interact with the Divine on our behalf. The Divine doesn't need someone else to dictate for Them when They want to speak to us directly.

July 28th, 2008, 10:15 AM
I think the concept of doubt covers so many levels that it is nearly impossible to address them. However, that said it is also a function that must be acknowledged to assess its impact upon us.

Upon my spiritual growth I think the most undermining facet of doubt is its ability to shake my ability to believe. Not only shake but impact upon my ability to believe in my self, my gods / goddess, my place in the universe. In many ways it is the catalyst that causes me to have reservations of what is real. In a great many ways the fuel source that feeds the "How can this be?" questions as well as the "Why" questions. It can be said to be the very source of the "It's not real perspective!"

Yet, inversely, doubt can be the trigger that makes one dig even deeper into their spiritual truths. When our beliefs are confronted, doubt can be the stimilus that causes us to fight to defend or research to support our beliefs. In many instances, doubt can be the very glue that causes us to make and unmake our religious and spiritual landscape and view the manner in which it is fitted together.

Yet I think that to say "I doubt your findings" is different than to say "I doubt my own beliefs". One seems to be based upon our perspective of knowledge while the other is based upon our perspecitve of our own sense of our realility.

The knoweldge base can always be proven or disproven to a degree by research and analysis. Our perspective of our realility is not so easy to support or disprove by mere research or analytical though. Much of our place in realility is driven by unprovable beliefs, simply things we must take on faith.

July 28th, 2008, 10:52 AM
Doubt has taught me the same about spirituality as about love - it forces us to let go and give up of what we think we need and what we think is right, so we can finally make room to discover what fits and what's worthwhile. It humbles me (I always know my spirituality may be untrue, false, or worthless to others, because at times it has been to me!), and forces me to face shadows I would otherwise avoid. It's trial by fire.

July 28th, 2008, 10:05 PM
I can't agree more with whats already been said. Infact, I think Louisvillain has said it very elegantly.

I'd add that to me, doubt is a crucial part of the human existence. We don't just see doubt in spirituality and religious matters, we see it all over Human lives. Doubt is to me what keeps us going, becasue I think to be confident all the time would be a disaster. There would be nothing to keep us from stepping back and then going forward. Nothing to keep change happening all the time.

July 30th, 2008, 07:59 AM
For me, doubt can be a very powerful tool in regards to critically analyzing my own personal path and beliefs, while also rationalizing other's who have expressed their own viewpoint.

However, there needs to be a fine balance between too much and too little. Too much could end up making a person doubt their own existence, thoughts, and perspective to a point where their own focus on life. Too little and the person believes everything without question, thought, or knowledge.

Ben Gruagach
July 30th, 2008, 06:45 PM
Too much doubt can definitely be a problem. Doubting yourself, for instance, can result in spiritual paralysis.

July 30th, 2008, 06:56 PM
Too much doubt can definitely be a problem. Doubting yourself, for instance, can result in spiritual paralysis.

Yes, I have experience with this myself.
Too much doubt and it's negative affects on ones spirituality.
It's not fun and often is like a vicious cycle.

I agree with the healthy doubt and what everyone else has said about that. I do think it's good and necessary to have doubt in one's life and spirituality as long as it's in moderation. Doubt does have its good points, basically.

Rudas Starblaze
July 30th, 2008, 07:01 PM
if anyone doubts me.... thats their own problem! i obviously exist damnit!!! :lol:

Son of Deborah
August 1st, 2008, 02:12 AM
The way I self-identify my spiritual path is "Seeker, Mystic, Skeptic," so I obviously consider doubt to be very important to one's path, especially in our current age of information. In the past, knowledge was hidden, but generally more reliable, because it could only be hard-won from masters who had won it themselves, or find old musty tomes which took too much effort in publication to simply assume as hoax or fraud. Nowadays, given the Internet and instant knowledge on-demand anywhere, the information is there, but cluttered with so much trash and falseness. Just look at e-mail forwards :hehehehe:

Hell, there are times I even doubt my own sanity. It would certainly be a valid explanation of much that I have experienced on my path. I think having that small, nagging thought that "I might be crazy" is good, cause it keeps us grounded and prevents us from taking ourselves too seriously. But, beyond that, it can only be self-defeating. The only tools I have to perceive the world around me are my senses, so I've got to side with them unless someone can present me with some staggering evidence that what I experience is a lie. Otherwise, reality itself breaks down, defeated, utterly meaningless. We must trust what we sense, or we are nothing.

August 1st, 2008, 02:22 AM
Doubt is often part of the path to learning more about yourself, changing the bad and nurturing the good, and learning how to finally make things work.