BELIEF + DOUBT = SANITY
This phrase is painted on the wall of the Hirshhorn Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The installation was done by the artist Barbara Kruger. I love this image! I think it is a wonderful expression of the best of faith.
But this phrase is in a secular art museum. So I don’t think it was intended only as commentary on religion. I was talking with someone about the phrase, someone who has little use for religion. He liked the phrase, but said he didn’t put much store in belief. He was associating it with religion. But I reminded him that people believe in all kinds of things – like freedom, love, an economic system, a political system, the theory of evolution, hard work, certain moral values, etc. People believe in all kinds of things beyond the realm of religion.
And I think whatever the belief, the equation still holds up: BELIEF + DOUBT = SANITY. Without doubt what you believe in becomes fanaticism, extremism, or blind obsession. And we see plenty of that in religion. But we also see it in other areas. Like politics. People these days seem so entrenched in their political views that they are losing their grounding in sanity. “Don’t bother me with the facts.”
As I have listened to the impeachment hearings in Washington, D. C. I have heard plenty of belief without doubt. So, where is the sanity? Before they vote on impeachment, the members of congress should spend some quiet moments contemplating Kruger’s phrase: BELIEF + DOUBT = SANITY. We might get a little more sanity out of Congress.
So, as Christmas approaches, and we reflect on our faith, hold on to your doubts. Ask questions. Expect your views on matters of faith to change. Because that is sanity. That is spiritual health and wholeness. And give thanks that you are part of a church that encourages belief and doubt as well as sanity.
Prayer Reflect on what you believe in. What is important to you? Consider your doubts. Give thanks for your beliefs and your doubts and how they work together to give you a solid moral, spiritual foundation for your life. Amen.