Faith, Doubt and Certainty
One of my friends asked me a question in WhatsApp, “do you believe there is 100% God’s existence?” I may study and give a response based on the greatest arguments (till today) on the existence of God. I can give some examples from the lives of people I know or my own life to substantiate my claims. When I thought a little more of the question, it is not that the person don’t think God exists, but a difficulty in believing 100%. I checked the internet to have some clarity about the three terms mentioned below.
Certainty is the state of a subject S having no rational grounds to doubt some truth T about reality, immediate or time-relative.
Faith: derived from Latin fides and Old French feid is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept.
Doubt: to call into question the truth of something.
All of us have studied a bit of science in the schools and science does speak of certain things with certainty or 100% surety. In the realm of quantum physics, science too faces difficulties with regard to certainty. But keeping that argument aside, the first question to be asked is, “was the original question a scientific one?”. If it is a scientific question, I think the answer is NO. Why? I can’t prove to others the existence of God by any means that is convincing to all.
We can’t answer many questions connected to humanity (eg. What is human?)with certainty, and thus this question of God, who is a mystery, from all the definitions of God in various traditions, can’t be answered with certainty. And if you are able to answer with a 100% surety that God exists, that reality you are speaking of may not be God. Three quotes may be helpful.
Faith that doesn’t doubt is a dead faith (Miguel de Unamuno)
Doubt isn’t the opposite of Faith, but it is an element of Faith (Paul Tillich)
The opposite of Faith is not doubt, but certainty (Anne Lamott)
I will formulate three questions and my response to them,
- Am I certain that God exists? (definitely not 100%)
- Do I have my doubts about Gods existence (Yes)
- Do I have faith that God exists (Definitely Yes)
One immediate reaction can be, that this faith is irrational. I don’t think so. It is not a faith of certainty, but a faith-based on the experiences of many people and my own experience. Faith is on a reality whom I can’t comprehend fully by any of my experiences or abilities, but on a reality whom I have some experience of.
If you are certain about God’s existence, do you need to have faith?
If you are interested, you could check out some of my other pieces