Site Map Header

Ottawa Citizen Atricles Tab

Ottawa Citizen Logo

January 15, 2012

Question: How should we deal with spiritual doubts?

 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 unclean.

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.
-  Jack McLean

Printed in the The Ottawa Citizen January 15, 2012
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Home     Contact   Site Map    Web Support

© The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Canada 2011