Moderate doubt is the beacon of the wise…

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my blog. At this point the only reason you are reading is because I have specifically asked you to, in which case, I thank you most sincerely for your kindness and your willingness to placate me.

It should be fairly obvious that Doubting Tom is a pseudonym. Even the ‘Tom’ part. I thought I would use my inaugural blog post to explain why I picked this name, which in turn will lead nicely on to the reasons for the blog.

The phrase “Doubting Thomas” derives its inspiration from the Gospel According to John (20: 24-29 King James version). In these passages, Thomas the apostle refuses to believe that Jesus had been resurrected until he could see and touch Him for himself.

I interpret these passages as an endorsement of belief over evidence, particularly in light of verse 29:

Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed…

Though there is much to admire in the teachings of Jesus, I do not deem his words to be beyond criticism and the above passage is no exception. 

Thomas is not being commended for his doubt. Going by His words, Jesus is implying that Thomas is not blessed because he refused to take the words of his fellow apostles at face value. Personally, I do not see this as a failing. There can be little doubt that Thomas would have wanted the resurrection of his master to be true more than anything. His desire to see for himself before believing took strength; it would have been far easier for him to simply take the word of the other disciples without questioning further.

Up until about a year ago, I was always happy to describe myself as a religious individual. Nevertheless, there were always aspects of all religions, including my own, that did not seem to ring true. That did not seem to make sense when analysed more rationally. Despite this, I rarely analysed things further and was content to simply disregard the bits that didn’t make sense, whilst simply remaining a believer. During the past 12 months however, I have realised that this approach no longer sits well with me and decided to further analyse what it is I truly believed in.

I decided that I must now not just simply declare that I have doubts and move on. I must attempt to reconcile them or be prepared to change my whole outlook. Much as I dislike the cliché, there is no other way to say it:

I am on a journey. A journey which is not going to end any time soon, if at all.

Despite this opening post focusing almost exclusively on religion, this is unlikely to be the only thing I write about in my posts. I have realised that everything is linked. Overlap can be found anywhere and everywhere. I have not only decided to confront my views on religion, but also on politics, relationships, ethics; indeed, on the very nature of the human condition itself.

I hope that this blog will serve as a way of keeping track of this process. I confess that I have been plagued with doubts – I am not a scientist, a theologian or an accomplished writer. I am under no illusions as to the profundity of anything that I write within these posts. Everything I write here will have been said by others and far more articulately. However, I invite you dear reader to join me in this journey as I attempt to make sense of the craziness that is all around. Doubt plagues us all. So let us be like Thomas. Let us not be content to simply believe things because it’s easier.

Oh… and in case you’re wondering who declared that “Modest doubt is the beacon of the wise”…? William Shakespeare. You have to hand it to him.

Until next time, be well

D.T

 

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