The annual appearance of doubting Thomas… In our own times there is a commonly accepted “universe of doubt” in which virtually no proposition is accepted as objectively true. All truths claiming that name are, by virtue of the claim, considered suspect and not to be trusted. If the former era was an Age of Faith, ours is an Age of Doubt.
Doubting Thomas had, at least, the openness to say, “I won’t believe until… until I see the nail marks in his hands, until I put my hand into the wound in his side.” Thomas was not without faith – he just wanted proof. A contemporary Thomas, however, seeks no proof for he denies that any could be offered and so he simply doubts – and dismisses – the possibility of rising from the dead. Such is the cultural matrix in which we live.
Doubt is not the opposite of faith, but rather an element of it. Doubt, indeed, can lead us to faith or restore us to it when faith is lost. But when doubt consumes faith, we are left miserably disconnected from God, painfully estranged from love, and achingly cut off from hope. As Buddhist wisdom teaches: “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships.”
It would be dishonest to artificially dismiss our doubts. Rather, what we need is to trust that there is something greater, brighter, more pure, true, just, loving and timeless than our doubts. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
When doubting Thomas got his proof, he did not say, “Alright. I believe you’re alive.” Such a response would have been little more than a skeptic’s grudging admission to the facts. Rather, doubting Thomas’ response was one of faith: “My Lord and my God!”
Paul A. Magnano