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  Opinion   Oped  11 Apr 2018  Mystic Mantra: The strange path to faith

Mystic Mantra: The strange path to faith

Father Dominic Emmanuel, a founder-member of the Parliament of Religions, can be contacted at frdominic@gmail.com
Published : Apr 11, 2018, 6:26 am IST
Updated : Apr 11, 2018, 6:34 am IST

Every religion proposes a path to its followers of discovering God and/or arriving at deeper faith.

For instance, when the incidences of Jesus’ resurrection is told to his disciples by those who had seen him alive, despite having heard and experienced him, they refuse to believe them and not just doubt.
 For instance, when the incidences of Jesus’ resurrection is told to his disciples by those who had seen him alive, despite having heard and experienced him, they refuse to believe them and not just doubt.

I would like to ask forgiveness from God for questioning him and doubting his word and his promises”, is what I get to hear often in my profession as a priest. While on the one hand they are surprised hearing my response that it was absolutely fine to question, doubt or even sometimes “fight” with God, on the other hand they also go back consoled to have found a confirmation to their own experience of questioning the divine.

There are undoubtedly many paths to God and to faith. Every religion proposes a path to its followers of discovering God and/or arriving at deeper faith. Hinduism probably offers the widest spectrum in the area of one’s search for the divine. A normal person, not well versed in such matters, however, may feel that doubting and questioning God is heretical and needs total avoiding. Nay, one even begs God’s forgiveness when doubtful thoughts arise in one’s searching or pleading heart. Such doubts become even stronger when, putting all our trust in God, our prayers are either not immediately answered or not answered the way we would have liked it to be.

 

Interestingly the Bible has several references to how people often doubted and questioned God’s prophets, his words and his promises. But even more interesting to note is that in such situations, instead of God punishing them, except sometimes with a gentle smack on the knuckles as it were, he comes to their aid. He helps them overcome their doubts by revealing himself to them. This is seen particularly in the Bible readings that Christians are exposed to in the current Easter season.

For instance, when the incidences of Jesus’ resurrection is told to his disciples by those who had seen him alive, despite having heard and experienced him, they refuse to believe them and not just doubt. This happens often. But Jesus doesn’t punish anyone. Apart from understanding their doubts (since no one had either risen from the dead or indeed claimed so), he takes the time and opportunity to show himself to them again. The most famous example is of Apostle Thomas, who when told that they had seen the Lord, responded obstinately: “Unless I see the marks of the nail in his hands and unless I put my finger in his side, I would not believe.”

 

The Lord Jesus does oblige him. Appearing again he tells him: “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe,” adding: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

So instead of feeling guilty about our doubts and questions, let us then through them discover and deepen our faith.

Tags: priest, faith, bible, jesus