Vol.IX No.III Pg.1
May 1972

Healthful Doubts

Robert F. Turner

Francis Bacon wrote, If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.

And Oscar Hammerstein is credited with the following: Too many men be­come certain about too many things too early in their lives. Over-eager to have everything settled in their minds, they lack both the wisdom and the courage to expose their hastily adopted ideas to healthy doubts. They cling with blind passion to their false certainties and too often are ready to kill or be killed for them. In these immature absolutists lies the seed of tragedy. The earth is sick with them.

The certainties of a strong man are built on a structure of resolved doubts. By the time he reaches a conclusion, he has traveled the road of reason. Even then he will be tolerant of another mans beliefs, and willing always to compare them fairly with his own. The man with a civilized mind is neither afraid nor ashamed to change it.

Your uncritical loyalty to weak ideas can not make them strong. Be ever ready to let your ideas stand up and fight for themselves. Let them survive or die according to their merit. It is only in ideas honestly and bravely tested that you will find security.

Gods word puts it in a simple statement: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. The Bereans were commended because they searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (1 Thess. 5:21 Acts 17:11) The word itself was confirmed — with signs following (Mk. 16:20), so that searchers for divine truth could approach it with confidence.

There is no virtue in doubting for doubts sake. The iconoclast is satisfied with the rubble of destroyed ideas; but the healthy doubts of a truth seeker drive him to objectively consider the source of truth, and be satisfied with nothing less. He questions that he might grow; and his loyalty to God is greater than party and creed. He seeks, and Jesus said he shall find. (Matt. 7:7-f.)