Belief and doubt
In my experience, these two words were usually brought up in the context of discussing the truth claims, or at least the perceived claims, of Christianity. The implied message I often picked up from many of the power-people in my culture, was that “doubt” was by and large a good word and “belief” was bad. The connection was so common, it was almost like a children’s story about what sound a cow made, etc.
More than that, adding the word “doubt” to your vocabulary somehow made you magically enlightened and sophisticated almost overnight. But take the word “belief” on your tongue, in this context, and suddenly all academic and intellectual accomplishments faded away.
What to say, except that I was born at a strange time in world history in the West.
Today, though, I hope to offer these two fine words another platform on which to perform. Maybe they were getting a little tired of the old routine anyway. I know that I was.
So here is a news flash: No matter what you decide to do with your life, some people will like it and some people won’t. Some will believe that you are doing the right thing, others will express doubt and be quite convinced otherwise. You’re wonderful. You’re crazy. Brilliant one minute and berserk the next. Too tall and too short. A great asset to the world community and the chief cause of global decline.
As a recovering people-pleaser myself, I can understand if this situation causes a fair amount of stress and anxiety for some of you. As you can see though, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to keep everyone happy and do anything of consequence with your life. Been there. Done that. Doesn’t work.
This isn’t to suggest that it is a good idea to block out all words of caution and helpful criticism. No, another person may well have an observation or an insight that you and I need to consider. It isn’t helpful to hear constant affirmation. If you or I get the cow sound wrong… I guess we need to be told. By the way, what sound does a giraffe make anyway?
Having said that, brace yourselves my Internet friends. For as the old saying goes:
“You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time.”
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