Posted by: Jim Rosemergy | January 30, 2014

Spirituality: The Union of Doubt and Faith

Two things give birth to religion and spirituality: mystery and questions. We encounter the mystery of being alive, and we have questions. The questions indicate that we need answers, but perhaps the greater need is to learn to live with mystery. We can ask  questions about the mysteries of life, and we may receive an answer, but for every answer, there is another mystery. 

When religion was born, one of its roles was to makes sense of things, to make the mystery palatable. The world is so uncertain and seemingly chaotic that there had to be order, and when order was established in religion, dogma was created. The dogma revealed the way it is and was designed to bring comfort and equip us to live with the mystery.

This is the dream of religion, but like all dreams, there is a need to awaken.  

We must learn to live in the balance of doubt and faith. Where this balance is achieved, we move beyond religion and begin to discover spirituality. To our left is doubt. It extends its hand to us, and we do not want to take it. To our right is faith, and we reach out to it, but faith refuses to take our hand. Why the refusal? Because only one who embraces doubt may grasp the hand of faith.  Both enable us to live with mystery and where there is mystery, spirituality abounds. 

Religion has its dogma, but it pays a price. It fails to acknowledge doubt because it is certain that it knows the way. And where there is no doubt, there can be no faith, but where doubt and faith are wed, a child is born—spirituality. 



  1. Hmmmm, exactly what I’ve been mulling over the past couple weeks. Thanks.

    Namaste, Anne

    Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 01:20:43 +0000 To:

  2. Hi Anne, I am with you in considering the balance of doubt and faith. They are closer than we think. Blessings,

  3. I am on the fulcrum of a teeter -totter, doubt is to my left and faith is to my right, I am struggling to maintain a balance and have not reached spirituality. I will continue to work on achieving balance!

  4. I like what you have said here. I would only add that, for me, this marriage of doubt and faith really defines the path. I am living my life on the basis of certain assumptions. But the experience of those assumptions calls for a higher and better vision. That vision is revealed in some manner to me, which I intellectually grasp quickly. But my habits, my way of seeing things, draw me back to my old way of being (doubt). It takes courage, persistence, and the patience of faith to experiment with a new way of seeing and living life. One example may be “in my defenselessness my safety lies.” With Easter just around the corner, I am thinking about the power on non-resistance. Grasping new ideas can be as fast as an instant, but incorporating into one’s daily behavior can be painfully slow.

  5. Hi Jim

    I do read your blog but so far I have not penned a reply. I did enjoy “Spirituality: The Union of Doubt and Faith”. It reminded me of the theme of the book I am currently reading “The Mystery Experience” by Timothy Freke.

    He explores the relationship between The Mystery and the Story, saying it is important to make sense of the story but in doing so we must not lose sight of the mystery, and it is about finding the way to hold on to both.

    Have you heard of Tim Freke? You can preview his book on Amazon; I would be interested to hear what you think of it.


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