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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Be Like Thomas

When did we get to the point of thinking that we don't need any evidence for what we believe?

When did we get to the point of thinking that doubting is bad?

I had someone challenge me recently in my assertion that doubt is a good thing. His response was that we shouldn't doubt Jesus. I thought about it for a moment and then realized that doubting Jesus isn't condemned in the bible, it's exemplified.

Thomas famously questions his compatriots who told him about Jesus' resurrection. He stubbornly refused to believe until he had proof (which the others already had). When Jesus showed up again he didn't hesitate to provided the requested proof. He didn't condemn Thomas for his doubts, and then Thomas, in the light of the evidence, provides the best and fullest understanding of who Jesus is when he exclaims: "My Lord and my God."

I wonder if the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on rational thought and proof is actually what planted the seeds of irrational thought and lack of proof in religion.

Sure, there have been many attempts to rationalize and prove religion. There are apologists that make it their work to provide Christian evidence and advocate for intelligent design. But their arguments seem to trail off at the end. They seem to all reach a point where you have to "just believe." And any expressed doubt is anathema.

Jesus was quick to point out things that made him angry. He flipped tables in the temple, broke the Sabbath in the synagogue, and called the law-teachers children of the devil. Let's just say he wasn't subtle in expressing his disapproval when he felt it.

And he doesn't disapprove of Thomas doubting.

What does that say about doubt? What does that say about us?

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