Is It Bad to Doubt God?


Is doubt in God bad? And is it really possible for a person to be 100% certain that God exists when he or she has never personally experienced God?

—AO, Europe


Dear AO,

Paramhansa Yogananda emphasized that only through your own direct experience can you know whether God exists. Reading, listening, and reasoning might convince you that God exists, but that is mere conviction, not knowledge. Until you experience God yourself, then, it’s natural to have some doubt. The question is, which kind of doubt will it be: constructive or destructive? In The Essence of Self-Realization, Yoganandaji explained:

“Destructive doubt is habitual skepticism. People who cultivate this attitude are as blind in their disbelief as any bigot in his bigotry. For such people, impartial investigation has no relevance. They want only that information which will negate new ideas, and which agrees with their own, or with the prevailing, opinions.

“Skepticism is like static in the radio of the mind. It prevents a person from receiving the broadcasts of intuition from the silence within.

“Constructive doubt, on the other hand, is intelligent questioning, and fair, impartial examination. Those who cultivate this attitude never prejudge an idea. Nor do they accept as valid the unsubstantiated opinions of others. They keep an open mind, and base their conclusions on objective tests. They seek above all to verify those conclusions by their own experience.

“This is the proper approach to truth.”

Swami Kriyananda called constructive doubt “a positive quest for solutions to problems,” whereas destructive doubt is “a negative suspicion that no solution exists.”

I wish you all the best as you use your constructive doubt to energize your own positive quest for truth.

Nayaswami Gyandev