With the recent tragedy in Connecticut there is reason to doubt.
Last friday I was driving in my car listening to talk radio. The entire show was dedicated to the day’s horrific events. At one point the host started to explain that although he is not religious, he is ‘spiritual’. He stated emphatically that he ‘knows’ there is a god of some kind, but events like the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School cause him to doubt.
Similar events cause me to doubt. Though whenever I doubt I try to doubt wisely.
The poet John Donne once expressed the idea this way in a portion of a larger poem:
Though truth and falsehood be
Near twins, yet truth a little elder is;
Be busy to seek her; believe me this,
He’s not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.
To adore, or scorn an image, or protest,
May all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;
To sleep, or run wrong, is. On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must and about must go,
And what the hill’s suddenness resists, win so. (John Donne, Satire III)
In light of the disturbing events that took place I doubt: not the goodness of God, but the goodness of humanity; not the power of God, but the power of evolutionary progress; not the existence of God, but the existence of safety and security. In this Christmas season — when ‘Peace on Earth’ is proclaimed — we see in this recent tragedy a reminder that true peace comes from beyond this earthly sphere. ‘Peace on Earth’ is not something we can foster or create ourselves. God must break in and restore all things. The tears shed during this age of tribulation before Christ finally returns are more pronounced this Advent season; we are so desperate for the second Advent. And there isn’t a doubt in my mind about that.