Open-minded doubt vs close-minded doubt
Oxford Languages define doubt as a “feeling of uncertainty”. If we are to be honest about it, aren’t we living in a life full of uncertainty? Prayers and sayings often characterize doubt as the opposite of faith, as if doubt is a sin in itself.
Open-minded doubt, to me, is healthy. I would even say it is conducive to authenticity, because this means we are aware of what we know and don’t know about our experiences, the fallibility of our insights, and the potential unintended consequences of our actions. An open-minded doubt leads to curiosity and inquiry; it can also be an opportunity to be courageous. Faithful, even.
Close-minded doubt is unhealthy, and this may be what the Bible characterizes as a sin. Close-minded doubt implies that we have certain hills we’re willing to die on even if it turns out that our beliefs may be unreasonable.
I do not see Doubting Thomas as a tragic character; rather, I see him as a relatable character precisely because he knows how fallible he is. Maybe he is aware of how prone to fear or how gullible he is, so he protects himself. Even if Jesus would comment on how doubtful and fearful His disciples are, He goes on to provide clues or signs that will resonate to them anyway.
A close-minded kind of faith – blind faith at that – is dangerous too, because it avoids inquiry. It avoids dialogue. It avoids two-way relationships.
Maybe an open-minded doubt and open-minded faith are indeed two sides of the same coin.
John 14:6-14. If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also: and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him.
[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 2023-123: MAY 3, 2023]