Today, Joan Chittister, in Uncommon Gratitude, sings the praises of Doubt.  (I never heard my grade school nuns speak highly of doubt – they only focused on “faith.”)

“Without doubt, life would simply be a series of packaged assumptions, none of them tested, none of them sure, and all of them belonging not to us, but to someone else whose truth we have made our own.  The problem with accepting truth as it … becomes a patina of ideas inside of which we live our lives without passion, without care.

Doubt, on the other hand, is the mother of conviction. Once we have pursued our doubts to the dust, we forge a stronger, not a weaker, belief system. These truths are true, we know, because they are now true for us rather than simply for someone else. To suppress doubt, then, to discourage thinking, to try to stop a person from questioning the unquestionable is simply to make them more and more susceptible to the cynical, more unaccepting of naive belief. It is doubt that is the beginning of real faith.”

I like that – “Doubt…is the mother of conviction.”  Yes, knowledge and certainty each have their place, but in the end, for whatever reason, there are things I cannot truly know, things of which I cannot be certain.  As Chittister puts it: “There is simply a point in life when reason fails to satisfy our awareness of what is clearly unreasonable and clearly real at the same time—like love and self-sacrifice and trust and good. Data does not exist to explain these unexplainable things.”

That some things are unknowable does not, of course, excuse me from the quest for knowledge, and I am too stubborn for that in any event, but it does provide me with some understanding of that which I cannot understand.  Onward through the fog.

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