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Keep On Doubting Until You Doubt Yourself

“In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, it is not the right method to tell him to stop doubting. It is rather the right method to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.”

– G.K. Chesterton, The Book of Job, from In Defense of Sanity, p. 99

Chesterton points out somewhere (in Orthodoxy, I think) that man should believe the truth and doubt himself. Today in American culture, we are seeing precisely the opposite; people doubt the truth and believe in themselves. When you see someone with doubts, try to drive that doubt all the way home. If they doubt that there is a God, why should they not doubt their own persons?

I’ve talked to folks not too much younger than myself who say things like, ‘I don’t even know who I am yet; I’m trying to find myself; I can’t get married until I figure out who I am first.’ We need to seize upon such doubts. If they are so unsure of who they are; if they are constantly trying to find themselves; does it make any sense therefore that they should think that they can do it alone, without any guidance? Hence the need for the authoritative Word of God, which tells us exactly who we are.

By the way, I highly recommend Chesterton’s essay on the Book of Job. It is the finest piece of exposition I’ve read from him (though I don’t necessarily agree with every word) and it is quite illuminating. Click HERE to read it online.


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