Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My Favorite Apostle

My avatar is Doubting Thomas after my favorite apostle, but also after Thomas Paine, one of my favorite writers. Here's what Paine had to say about his namesake:

But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection, and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas.

from The Age of Reason, Part One

In America, to be a 'doubting thomas' isn't generally considered a good thing. The term is usually applied with contempt. I'd like to improve the reputation of poor old Thomas. Faith has a great reputation; doubt has a lousy one. And why not? Faith is warm and pleasant; doubt is frightening and cold. Maybe I'm seeking to find a way to reverse those perceptions. Perhaps doubt is a bitter but healthful medicine and faith, well, maybe there's poison mixed in with the sweet taste.