The Gift of Doubt

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas
with short reflections on 12 gifts

Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is a deplorable one.  Voltaire

Balancing the gift of faith is the gift of doubt.  Questioning what we read, see, and hear.  Challenging authority.  Thinking for ourselves.  Tiring for the doubter, perhaps; tiresome for others, almost certainly!  Yet if we never doubt, we bestow faith where it is not warranted: in apocalyptic predictions, in figures with only charisma to recommend them, in wacky religions and diets, in sappy internet stories.  In this season, maybe Santa Claus offers us a clue on how to hold faith and doubt in creative tension: believing in the principle of giving without measure, and yet not believing that there is an archetype who personifies the principle.


  1. Jim taylor

    Every coin has two sides — perhaps only in Zen can you have one hand clapping! Without doubt, does one really have faith? Without sorrow, can we appreciate joy? Without despair, hope? I like to think that one can love without necessarily being loved back, but maybe that’s not possible either.


    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – That’s interesting – the flip side of love not being ‘hate’, but ‘being loved’. I suspect we can’t love without ever having been loved, although I don’t know if there’s hard wiring involved that might over-ride experience.

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