A couple of weeks ago when Phillip Seymour Hoffman died I just could not figure out where I knew him from. People kept saying, "He's been in heaps of things" but I knew it was something specific. Anyway I finally figured it out and I knew him from the movie Doubt, which is one of my favourite movies.
For those who haven't seen it, it's a beautifully made movie about a nun who suspects a priest is molesting children. But she has no real proof – it's just a feeling and at the same time she is filled with doubt. The movie is filmed in colour, but all of the costumes and sets are dominated by black and white and this nun is continuously walking around turning on lights and lamps and opening blinds – literally and figuratively trying to shed light on the situation. And although she is surrounded by black and white, symbolically she's actually surrounded by all of this 'gray' – nothing is as simple as black and white – not faith or indeed doubt.
The movie also explores doubt in relation to faith. The movie opens with the priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) giving a sermon on doubt and how it can unify as much as faith can. It also has a touching ending where we realise that even the most holy among us have their doubts.
Two weeks ago I blogged about the gift of faith and in the comments many people mentioned that, even though they are faith-filled, they still doubt. I myself often suffer from doubts. I guess it is just human nature. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "But did Jesus really rise from the dead?" or "What if all of this is just simply not true and we get to the end of our lives and there's just nothing?"
When I was sick a few years back I had this really disturbing dream that I had died and I was standing in this open doorway. I was right on the edge and on one side was life and on the other side was nothingness – not even light or darkness, just this massive, terrifying void. That dream has certainly given me cause to doubt! I talked to a priest about it in confession and he suggested a prayer, taken from the gospel of Mark, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief." and that's what I use now when I find myself doubting.
What do others have doubts about and what do you do to deal with them?