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Doubt Is The Devil

Yesterday I talked about my conversation with two Jehovah’s Witnesses that came to my door. As we were talking, I wanted to make it clear to them that I was not dogmatic in my thinking in the hopes that I could encourage them to be less dogmatic and consider the possibility that they might not have all the answers (as the older “Witness” actually claimed to have “all the answers”).

This is where things got interesting in the conversation. I told them that I might be wrong about the world and that they should likewise consider the possibility that they may be wrong as well. The older “Witness” then told me that “doubt is the devil.”

Now, I took that opportunity to joke about how I have just as much doubt about the devil as I do in God before trying to move the conversation along to the idea of continuing to search for answers even to questions we have already think we settled. Here I talked about how last year scientists thought that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity might be wrong and that this was actually pretty exciting for many scientists.

I tried to explain to them that the Theory of Relativity was settled science and as solid a theory as the theory of gravity (of course I had to take a moment to explain the difference between a layperson’s use of the term “theory” verse a scientist’s use of the term). So even though we know that the Einstein was right about Relativity, we actually for a moment had to re-question that view.

My point here was that even though they know that Jesus died for their sins and that God exists, that maybe they too should re-examine that view. But doubt is the devil was again repeated by the older witness. He said that if you have the answer, there is no need to keep searching for it.

Still, he was not my target and so I encouraged the younger witness to doubt and to not be dogmatic. I encouraged him to do his research. I pointed out several books that he could read or even search YouTube for lectures on those books. I again repeated that I too would keep an open mind and that he should as well. I told him that doubt wasn’t the devil, dogmatism was. We should doubt everything, even things we think we know with certainty because you never know when you might be wrong about something.

This was pretty much where the discussion ended. The older witness closing off discussion by insisting that doubt was the devil, the younger witness agreeing with him publicly, and me expressing the radical view that none of us know everything and that we might be wrong and as a result we should keep an open mind to new evidence should it be presented.

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