People who doubt and who write about doubt feel the need to universalize their experience of doubt, and so inadvertently mirror the position they seek to oppose. Instead of disallowing doubt, they disallow lack of doubt. Instead of repressing lack of certainty, they repress lack of uncertainty. Instead of requiring assurance in all things, they require assurance in nothing.

But there is no warrant for universalizing doubt. Though well meant, it is little more than projection of one’s own experience onto the canvas of humanity, the generalization of the parochial. But doubt need not be common to all to be legitimate for some. Nor does doubt confer some kind of moral or spiritual superiority on those who experience it versus those who do not. The one who believes without doubt is not ipso facto less sophisticated, less thoughtful, less theologically adept, less sensitive to the ambiguities and shortcomings and evils of fallen human life than the who believes in the midst of or in spite of doubt. Doubt is not the mark of maturity. It is not the mark of anything except itself.

Brad East