“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
So many times I’ve heard people speak of their faith in terms of absolute certainty. I, too at times have stated to friends that I am “sure” there is a God. The truth is, none of us can be sure there is a God. To say that we are sure implies knowing, not faith. Faith is the willingness to accept and believe in something that we can not prove via empirical data or evidence. Faith, for me, must go hand in hand with doubt. Perhaps not equal parts, but doubt has to creep in from time to time so that we can question the fortitude of our faith. The world is, as Tolkien says, full of peril and dark places. We are constantly bombarded with news of war, violence, atrocity and all manner of evil perpetrated by man. Yet the world also has so much beauty. Is it possible that all of it, the good and the bad and everything in between is merely coincidence? That none of it means anything and in the end we simply cease being? Perhaps; but I choose not to believe in such a notion. Or, perhaps, God has chosen me to not believe in such a notion and instead to believe in Him. I cannot explain the things I’ve seen and felt which have enabled me to believe in a God since my earliest days of awareness; I simply allow myself to believe that there must be something more than this life. Maybe it is wishful thinking or maybe it is just an innate sense that goodness and beauty, in the end, have to triumph over darkness and evil.