Saturday, July 6, 2013

On faith and doubt

I am convinced that there must be grounds for doubt as well as belief, 
in order to render the choice more truly a choice,
 and therefore the more deliberate, 
and laden with personal vulnerability and investment.  

The option to believe must appear on one's personal horizon 
like the fruit of paradise, 
perched precariously between sets of demands held in dynamic tension.  

One is, it would seem, 
always provided with sufficient materials out of which to fashion
 a life of credible conviction or dismissive denial.  

We are acted upon, 
in other words, 
by appeals to our personal values, 
our yearnings, 
our fears,
 our appetites and our ego.  

What we choose to embrace, 
to be responsive to, 
is the purest reflection of who we are and what we love.  

That is why faith,
 the choice to believe,
 is in the final analysis an action 
that is positively laden with moral significance.  

The call to faith is a summons to engage the heart, 
to attune it to resonate in sympathy with principles
 and values and ideals that we devoutly hope are true, 
and have reasonable but not certain grounds for believing to be true.

Terryl Givens, "Lightning out of Heaven: Joseph Smith and the Forging of Community," forum address, Brigham Young University, 29 November, 2005