Monday, July 08, 2013

Monday morsel: faith and doubt

This is one of my favourite quotations, from Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  The main character, a young boy named Piscine (Pi) Patel, is in pursuit of God and is checking out the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, much to the consternation of his parents and of the priest, rabbi, and imam.  Here are Pi's thoughts on faith and doubt:

"...atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith.  Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them -- and then they leap.

 I'll be honest about it.  It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics.  Doubt is useful for a while.  We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane.  If Christ played with doubt, so must we.  If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt.  But we must move on.  To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."


  1. I love that last sentence in the quote, Jeannie! Doubt can be useful as it brings us closer to God, but if instead we use doubt as a means of avoiding movement at all the it's not really doubt but indecision.

    1. That's a really good point, Tim. I wonder if sometimes people are afraid that doubt will draw them further FROM God, so they push their doubts down inside and refuse to acknowledge them. But I don't think the people in the Bible who loved and pursued God model that approach.

      Pi seems to be implying that agnosticism is like a decision not to decide. Interesting!


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