When Lesley Hazleton* was writing a biography of Muhammad, she was struck by something: The night he received the revelation of the Koran, according to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe, even fear. And yet this experience became the bedrock of his belief. Hazleton calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith — and an end to fundamentalism of all kinds.**
For most of my adult life I have had an ingrained aversion to the word faith. It always seemed to me that “having faith” attempted to get me to believe what I could not possibly know. “Faith”, as I understood it from my church experience, also seemed rigid. It did not allow room for new information. It also seemed that the very things I was asked to have faith in, were themselves based on other principles that I could not know either. I generally avoided the word like the plague. In this Ted talk Hazleton puts it all in perspective for me. Doubt really is essential to faith. “doubt, awe, even fear” really are the only mature response to an encounter with the Divine. The dogmatic “faith” often taught and practiced in religion really is at the root of fundamentalism and even terrorism.
Listen, reflect, and enjoy!