Saturday, August 26, 2006

Question everything, doubt nothing

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.
- Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

Note that Jefferson uses the word "question," not "doubt."

Doubt is a lazy man's way of copping out of something. Rather than actually thinking or working through a question or problem that goes deeper than what appears on the surface, many people simply express their doubt about the thoughts of others, then run.

Those who strike this way and run find it easier than having to stand up for what they believe in and develop evidence into proofs, or at least acceptable positions.

To question something means that a person is prepared to expend some effort to work with facts and hypotheses, indeed to distinguish fact from opinion in many cases, to reach a workable conclusion.

We find this difference most often in political parties. Party members may support their candidates, offer their time and money and work toward the goals of the party, but few have ever stood toe to toe with someone who supports an opposing party and debated the fundamentals of each party's positions. They shout their doubts at each other, but they may not question what is in their own hearts.

It's easy to doubt the existence of God. A simple thought or sentence will do it. To question whether God exists based on the evidence available to science is quite another matter.

I don't know of a single person who has examined the breadth and depth of knowledge provided by modern science, looking at the subject from the viewpoints of as many disciplines as possible, who has not said, at least, "the evidence is overwhelming."

Question everything. Doubt nothing. Doubt will earn you nothing. Questioning will lead you to more questions, but that is what the human mind was created to do, to absorb and process far more information than one person can gather in a lifetime.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage everyone to ask questions.
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