I believe in doubt. I believe in questioning. I believe especially in questioning those so-called universal truths, those ideas that are so obvious that they are usually thought to be beyond question, beyond doubt. Those are the ideas that need doubt, because the questions themselves will either make the idea stronger or show its weakness.
I believe in doubting and questioning myself. I used to call myself a Christian. But even as a child I found it difficult not to question the most basic tenants of Christianity. I tried to believe, but the doubt persisted and the questions remained. I still go to church, sometimes. I still seek answers to those questions, but I can no longer call myself a Christian, because I no longer have the level of belief that seems necessary for such a title. But I cannot call myself an atheist; for I also doubt the surety of saying there is no God.
I believe in doubting and questioning society. The ancient Greeks, creators of art and architecture, believed in thought and democracy and investigation and writing and libraries, glorious libraries containing the ideas and thoughts of disappeared societies that had come before them. The Greeks also believed in slavery and never thought to doubt, never thought to question, that a society built on the backs of the oppressed would eventually crumble as the oppressed questioned their fate. Over time people doubted the idea of slavery as a concept that could be contained within a democratic society. And that change came about through questioning.
I believe it is only in questioning, only in doubt that we will advance as a society and as a planet. I believe that the ideas that our society has deemed dangerous to doubt are those that must be doubted. Good ideas, if doubted, will hold up under scrutiny. Unsound ideas may be holding us back. What ideas do we now hold dear that future generations will see as so obviously flawed and so directly connected to the problems that we now seem to find no solution to? The questions that are labeled un-American and un-patriotic, may be the questions that are the most important to answer. Perhaps the very idea of nations, nationality and patriotism, concepts that appear to define us, are the very ideas that when thoroughly questioned will be rejected in the future. I can’t possibly presume to know, but I do believe that only through doubt will we ever find out.
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