About trust

Let’s talk about trust, or confidence, and doubt.


to trust

To trust in something means that you assume that this something is right despite the fact that you cannot ultimately verify your assumption.

to doubt

To doubt means to test your trust. Trust grows with every answered doubt. When your doubt is not answered, your trust gets lost.

The something that gets your trust can be a single person, a formal teaching, or a loosely defined set of beliefs. I use the word spirit for referring to these potential lords who invite you to trust them.

We all rely on trust

Everybody trusts more or less strongly in various spirits. Everybody does this more or less consciously.

Young children trust their parents –and the beliefs they show– without any doubt. The more they grow, the more they dare to express doubt.

A blind trust excludes the possibility of doubt.

Rule of thumb: when a spirit demands blind trust, i.e. refuses your expression of doubt, then this spirit is not trustworthy.

It makes no sense to doubt whether reality is true, but you should always be ready to doubt whether your image of reality matches reality.

“I don’t trust in science”

There are people who refuse to trust in scientific evidence. They dare to express doubt about something that seems evident to common sense. Christians are well educated in this art.

Note that they do this usually in the context of a given controversial question. Even the most stubborn anti-vaxxer does not refuse the scientific method in general.

The Bible is full of stories and advice that encourages them to do so. Some examples:

  • Noah refused to give in to evidence when building his ship.

  • Daniel refused to give in to evidence

  • “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” (Ps 118:8)

  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”” (Proverbs 3:5)

  • Mary refused to give in to evidence that getting pregnant before being married is dangerous. Joseph, her fiancé, refused to give in to the evidence that Mary had been sleeping with another guy.

I agree that we should not trust in science blindly. Indeed scientific evidence does not mean that something is “definitively true” because science is just a product of human civilisation, and it is limited to the visible world. Furthermore, scientific research is limited by available money. Pseudo-scientific methods can be abused by corporations who want to present some theory as if it was scientific evidence.

But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. God created humans with a brain, senses and intellectual capacities. He wants us to observe and analyze the visible world. He wants us to give a name to everything. Refusing to accept scientific evidence as a more trustworthy tool than for example a Holy Scripture is a form of superstition and leads to unrealistic results.

“I trust in science”

Saying “I trust in science” is as valid as saying “I trust in books”. Science is a tool, not a spirit.

See also