Nin and Faith / Nin and Doubt

“I know the name of what lurks inside your heart,” said the lizard. “It is god.”

“How could you know what lurks inside my heart better than me, myself?” asked Nin. He was incensed by the lizard’s presumptuousness.

“I know because god is in the hearts of all beings,” replied the lizard, “although not all hear him as clearly as you.”

They sat on wide, flat rock, sunning themselves in the mid-morning air. A deep valley stretched out before them. The lizard pointed a scaly finger towards the rising sun. “God is like the sun, you see. Without him there is no warmth, there is no light, your life would be like a winter. But bask in his glory, and you will be warmed through and through.”

“I have yet to feel that warmth,” replied Nin.

“Are you not Nin?” asked the lizard. “He, who, in his hour of need, called forth all the rabbits of heaven and earth? He who has wrestled with demons and devils? Who survived the desert for forty days? And now you come before me and claim you are not a righteous rabbit? I laugh at this, I do not believe it so.”

“I am Nin,” replied Nin, “but you exaggerate. It was less than a hundred rabbits. As for the demon, we did not fight, we merely talked.”

“But these are the deeds of a rabbit of faith.”

“I have no faith; in the desert it was doubt that saved me, not belief.”

The lizard turned over to expose his belly to the sun. “What would it take to make you a believer?” he asked with a sly smile. “What act or deed of providence?”

“Nothing,” replied Nin. “I can think of nothing. Doubt is in my nature just as sunning yourself is in yours.”

The lizard gave Nin a side glance. “And if god in his glory descended from the heavens and presented himself before you? If he performed miracles before your very eyes, raised the dead, and more?”

“I would still have my doubts. Perhaps more, even. There would always be some doubt in me, some little voice that would call it a trick or deception.”

“Is there nothing you don’t doubt?” asked the lizard. “Do you doubt the sun?”

“No,” replied Nin. He felt his friend was fishing for something.

The lizard scrambled to his feet and retreated to a nearby bush. He turned his back to Nin, curled his two front claws then returned. “If I said I was holding a berry in my left claw, would you believe me?” he asked, presenting his fists to the rabbit.

“Yes, I would,” said Nin.

The lizard opened his claw, revealing an empty palm. Then he gestured to his other fist. “And if I said this claw contained a priceless pearl, obtained from the bottom of the sea?”

Nin studied the lizard’s claw closely. “I have my doubts.”

The lizard nodded. “That is reasonable. The greater the claim the greater the doubt, the greater the evidence required to satisfy that doubt. If god is the apex, the greatest of all, then the greatest of all evidence is required, yes?”

“Yes,” replied Nin, “but I doubt such evidence exists. So great would it be that even a layman could see it plainly. There would be no need for faith.” Nin realized what he was saying and scratched his head. “A bit of an irony in that, I suppose.”

The lizard smiled and uncurled his claw, revealing a tiny, iridescent pearl. It shined and sparkled, perfectly polished, almost like a little sun itself. “Doubt is good, my seeking friend.” He chuckled softly. “Doubt is the true path to faith! Faith obtained after long searching—this is the unshakable faith. A faith found easily can be lost just as easily.”

Nin wondered if this was true.