5 Ways to Doubt Your Doubts

Tim Keller | November 7, 2016

Our most rigorous rational thinking is shot through with various forms of faith. Even skeptical doubt always contains an element of belief.

In his essay “The Critique of Doubt,” Michael Polanyi argues that doubt and belief are ultimately “equivalent.” Why? “The doubting of any explicit statement,” he writes, “denies [one] belief . . . in favor of other beliefs which are not doubted for the time being.” You can’t doubt belief A except on the basis of some belief B you’re believing instead at the moment.

So, for example, you cannot say, “No one can know enough to be certain about God and religion,” without assuming at that moment that you know enough about the nature of religious knowledge to be certain about that.

Doubt Your Doubts 

Some years ago a man began attending our church. He had begun life with a general belief in God, but he had been assailed with doubts during his college years and had lived for decades without any religious faith. After a number of months of attending our congregation he told me that faith in God was looking much more plausible to him. When I asked how that was happening, he said a turning…

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