How should we deal with spiritual doubts?
Answer: The answer
depends on what the questioner intends by “spiritual doubts.” It is
possible to doubt persons, including ourselves. But what would it
profit us to doubt ourselves? We may doubt certain beliefs or
teachings. If doubt becomes systematic, it will have a deleterious
effect on the life of faith, which is based on affirmation and belief.
Doubt is an insidious thing in the life of faith because faith is a
type of conscious knowledge that is based on firmly held beliefs,
which, in turn, orient our actions.
It is probably for this reason that Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the
Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, has revealed in one of his most
well-known and powerful prayers, the Tablet of Ahmad, “Be not of those
who doubt.” If we doubt God’s promises, they can never be realized.
Belief assists in their realization. If we choose to doubt, then, we
have to be very selective in the object of our doubts because it could
cause serious unravelling of the entire fabric. If we doubt, then, it
should be only to deepen our faith.
Another consideration arises. God never compels belief. Our divine
endowment includes reason and free-will. In the Bahá’í view, faith and
reason should be in accord. In certain instances, the rejection that
follows doubt will be a good thing. If, for example, I have been taught
that members of all other religions are followers of the devil, it
would be commendable to doubt and reject such a belief. If I have been
taught that the white race is superior to all other races, it would be
praiseworthy to condemn such a teaching. It would be good to doubt a
belief that says my religion is superior to all others, or that I
should not associate with followers of other faiths because they are
When we enter the more complex world of theological beliefs, the same
principle applies: examine the evidence and come to our own
conclusions, either accepting or rejecting the teaching in question.
This process of inquiry forms part of the “independent investigation of
the truth,” one of the fundamental teachings of the Bahá’í Faith. -