Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Doubt and logic
Jonal entry 973 | Friday, April 21, 2006
I've been thinking for years about the relationship between doubt and belief in the Christian life. As the Pope said in the passage quoted on Wednesday, and as the Gospel says the father of a child possessed by a "foul spirit" confesses to Jesus, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief" (Mark 9:24), when we believe we still have nagging doubts, and when we doubt most of usat least those of us who have cared enough for our spiritual lives to be inquiring into these questionseven when we doubt, we find ourselves being pursued toward faith by "the Hound of Heaven" (as the poet Francis Thompson puts it). I may have mentioned here several years ago a conversation I had with a one-time friend who was an atheist: She told me she "just couldn't believe," to which I replied, "and I just can't not believe." Not that I've wanted to doubt, but there have been times when the Hound seemed to have lost my track, but it was never been for long.
I think that if I said "it's hard to believe" it would put many reading that "confession of doubt" into a funk, at least momentarily. How true, they'd say to themselves, and start wondering if they can really believe something as wonderful as the Gospel of life's victory over death through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. But if I said, "let's sing a couple of verses of 'He Lives!'" most who know the hymn would feel an immediate boost. That's what we've been talking about.
Or if we turned to the Psalms and found one that speaks directly to this doubt => believing tension like Psalm 3:
we find our spirits rising to take flight.
Several weeks ago I mentioned here a clique of fundamentalist critics of C. S. Lewis who questioned the salvation of that great defender of the faith. One of the charges they laid against arguably the greatest lay evangelist of the Twentieth Century was that he "seemed to say logic is a way to salvation." Apparently they forgot Psalm 8:3-9, which makes the same claim: sometimes believing is simple logic...
Sometimes it's hard not to doubt that the grave is the end it all, as the Rev. Donna Schaper with her liberal gospel wants us to do. But when we look at the heavens and the glory of creation, simple logic tells us, this is not one big coincidence. And our very hearts proclaim, "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! who have set your glory above the heavens."