Doubt

At services today, the rabbi invited a member of the congregation to read the opening monologue from Doubt. I’ve spent about 30 mins googling for it and can’t find it online, so I cannot reprint it here. If you know where to find it, leave a link in the comments.

The play starts out with Father Flynn giving a sermon about Doubt, he begins "What do you do when you’re not sure?" And then goes on to tell about a sailor who survives a sinking ship, hacks together a raft, and using the stars as his guide, sets a course to land. But then the skies cloud over for the next three weeks and he has no idea if he’s heading in the right direction. He’s racked with doubt and try as he might, he can’t be sure he’s still heading in the correct course. It’s powerful drama and its a powerful parable. The rabbi, Niles Goldstein, used the story to talk about the role of doubt in faith and how important it is to be honest about your doubts.

But all I could think of was our president, George W Bush. The thing that kills me about him is he never expresses a shred of doubt about his path. In Iraq or elsewhere. The only thing I’ve ever felt about Iraq is doubt. Doubt it was a good idea. Doubt we could win. Doubt that we should leave. Doubt that we are doing better. Doubt that we aren’t. I am confused about Iraq. Who isn’t to be honest? I hope George W Bush has doubts. I hope his absolute confidence in his path is a show. But I fear it isn’t.

What I look for most in people is an open mind. I dislike zealots, righteous people, certainty. Because there is no truth. Just opinion and doubt.

I put my opinions out there every day. And I believe they are right. But one of the reasons I put them out there is that there is always the doubt. What if I am wrong? And by expressing my thoughts and getting feedback from you on them, I can learn, change my thinking. Adapt.

Doubt is key. It has to exist. Otherwise we’ll drive off a cliff at 70 mph. And that’s a bad idea.