Why you should never “doubt your doubts”

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First off: If you have no doubts in your life, then this is not for you.

That being said, I’ve seen the quote “doubt your doubts” floating around, and I’d like to address some conflicts I have with it.

Doubts are healthy, but if left unaddressed or added to, they can become very unhealthy.

If you truly DO doubt something in your life, I’d urge you to address it. If you let doubt linger it will fester and infect your happiness, eating away at it. And “doubting your doubts” will only compound the problem and increase the festering and doubt.

Addressing doubt will help you, not hurt you.

If you indiscriminately investigate your doubts and come to the conclusion that they are unfounded, it will set your mind at peace and you will be free of doubts dragging you down. Additionally, it will solidify what you believe and increase what you know because of that thorough and indiscriminating investigation.

If, on the off chance, you find that the doubts were warranted, you will be more enlightened about yourself and the world around you — even if it means you have to change yourself or something you believe. And even then, you will find yourself happier because doubt will no longer eat at you and drag you down.

Either way, addressing doubt will lead only to happiness and growth — whereas ignoring them can lead to worse issues and an unhealthy mental state.

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2 Comments

  1. I read that quote entirely differently. I know a Rabbi who was asked if he really believed in God, and his response was “Sometimes.” This would be odd coming from someone who was supposed to be steeped in the worship of God, but his explanation was interesting.

    Sure, there are reasons to not believe in God. Particularly for this individual, given the Holocaust and continued Jewish oppression. Nevertheless his further explanation, which I am paraphrasing elaborated.

    He answered that just because he may be questioning God was no reason to not say his prayers. This again is odd, questioning God was precisely why one may not say their prayers, since God may not be there. But his explanation was that faith, and all of the rituals going along with faith, are the framework that allowed him to work out his relationship with God. By sticking to his prayers, to keeping kosher, to living as an observant Jew, he had the freedom to really explore this relationship, because it was the observation that allowed him the opportunities to connect with God.

    I see that as the thrust of Uctdorf’s talk. We all have doubts, and those are good. But we cannot jettison everything we believe. The structure of our faith allows us the opportunity to explore doubts and work out, with God, where those doubts lead us.

    I do not think the issue is doubting the doubts, per se, but rather not tossing out the baby with the bath water.

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