To doubt is to be wavering or undecided in opinion or belief; a feeling of uncertainty; to be uncertain or divided in opinion about, to hesitate, scruple or delay; to dread, to fear, to be afraid of; to anticipate with apprehension; to hesitate to believe or trust; to call in question, to mistrust.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Synonyms for doubt: distrust, distrustfulness, dubiety, dubitation, incertitude, misdoubt, misgiving, mistrust, reservation, skepticism, suspicion, uncertainty.—Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  Doubt is is being used in the 21st Century as a weapon to serve political goals: to question the truth or fact of (something); to disbelieve or lack faith in (someone); to feel uncertain, especially about one’s religious beliefs.Oxford English Dictionary

“Ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
—James 1:6-8

  Doubt is being double-minded. Doubt is a soul taint in your faculties of faith and trust, which arises from confusion and uncertainty. To sacrifice the doubts in prayer is your only solution. Doubts often graduate to fear.

Edna Lister on Doubt and Fear

Hard work does not kill you. Worry, fear and doubt are the trouble — have always been. Whether you admit it or not, all three are born of egotism. Hard? Truth.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1934.

St. James spoke truth about wavering, "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." Ask for anything in the Master’s name, and never doubt.—Edna Lister, Life Is a Battle, March 29, 1936.

The worse things look, the closer you are to real freedom, if you keep your mind and heart clear of doubt and resentment.—Edna Lister, August 17, 1937.

When the last doubt and fear are erased from subconscious mind, then you have complete surrender.—Edna Lister, April 17, 1938.

Let no clouds of doubt obscure your soul’s high courage.—Edna Lister, September 28, 1938.

Never doubt, fret or worry that the right things won’t come.—Edna Lister, November 24, 1938.

Don’t be anxious about outer things. Don’t bind yourself to the outer. Look to the inner, and the outer will take care of itself. Anxiety slows the flow of the River of Life through you and dries up your love of life, leaving only husks to feed your soul.—Edna Lister, April 26, 1939.

Focus your mind on desire for perfection, rather than on figments of imaginary offenses, lest unwise thoughts betray you to doubt, which shall then carry you down a strong current of earth life, when your Way should be upward into the Light of eternal glory.—Edna Lister, November 3, 1939.

Out in the world we see fear, doubt, delay, one waiting upon another. One falls, and all the "waiters" fall flat on that weak one. People lose houses and opportunities because of heartbreaking delay and are full of grief. Our Father never fails us; we may wait, but we know the fulfillment does come. We can use joy, faith and love, be happy, understand, and when we do fail briefly, we know we are using doubt and fear, not the Light that God wants us to use.—Edna Lister, November 24, 1939.

Being indifferent, lukewarm or asking, "Why should I carry the burden when others don’t," is disgraceful.—Edna Lister, February 13, 1941.

When in doubt about a situation, ask for God’s Wisdom and guidance.—Edna Lister, February 22, 1942.

No bars, no doors, no barriers restrain you except your doubt and lack of faith.—Edna Lister, October 7, 1942.

Many unseen doubts and fears for the self lie in the confused mind, and one so confused always seeks to block the way of those sent by God.—Edna Lister, November 15, 1943.

Even a fraction of an instant’s doubt in thinking or emotion when creating causes delay.—Edna Lister, January 16, 1944.

Hold the faith of God, in which may be no doubt or fear.—Edna Lister, December 11, 1944.

To wonder is to doubt.—Edna Lister, February 7, 1945.

Decree your desires, truly and steadfastly, then lift all buried doubts and fears as they arise in your conscious mind.—Edna Lister, June 21, 1945.

You must cleanse yourself of all fear and doubt. A little leaven can ferment and congest the whole.—Edna Lister, July 22, 1945.

Doubt and fear affect the solar plexus, the navel center, and you feel their effect as nausea.—Edna Lister, December 16, 1946.

God destroys nothing but negativity, doubts and fears that drag you down.—Edna Lister, I Remember, October 8, 1950.

Any negative thinking, especially fear, doubts or turning back to a thought of delay, puts sand in the gears and carburetor. You encounter physical disorder when you entertain doubts.—Edna Lister, July 30, 1951.

To look back, doubt or fear cuts every line and destroys God’s Plan for the matter.—Edna Lister, September 5, 1957.

Every trifling word of doubt, of seeing darkness before you seek full Light, magnifies itself in proportion to the Power going through you.—Edna Lister, December 17, 1956.

Stand steadfast and secure. Stay up where your antennae reach the Source.—Edna Lister, February 23, 1960.

If you hold all lines of Light without sinking into fear, doubt, fretting of self, your miracles shall come.—Edna Lister, March 3, 1960.

Doubting that God can use you for perfection is unbecoming, which is why we say, "This is good," no matter how ugly it appears to be.—Edna Lister, April 7, 1960.

If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?—Luke 12:26 This law directly forbids sitting and concentrating to make things visible by acting as a mere Adept. This includes patting your self on the back by talking about it.—Edna Lister, Consider the Lilies, May 29, 1960.

Doubts and fears arise in the contraction phase of any expansion-contraction cycle. If you finely hone your sense of timing, under the principles of equilibrium, harmony, and balance, you can maintain perfect soul poise in faith.—Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself? May 31, 1960.

When you backslide, you think, "Why is this happening to me?" This reveals doubt and fear, a definite soul dread of the law because you unconsciously know the law will strike back when you transgress.—Edna Lister, January 22, 1961.

Do not be double-minded! You cannot say, "God is with me always," then whine, "I'm lonely."—Edna Lister, September 3, 1964.

Doubt is a form of worshiping self. When some seeds seem to fall on barren ground, see more Light on the situation, wasting no time in any false worship. Any thought of self is like bowing to an idol.—Edna Lister, July 18, 1966.

The kingdom of heaven is open to everyone for a price — full acceptance, without a doubt or fear.—Edna Lister, June 5, 1967.

Do not permit self to become anxious about anything. That’s how it tries to rule you, through doubt.—Edna Lister, January 9, 1968.

You’ll not "try" — you’ll do!—Edna Lister, May 9, 1971.

Don’t be awestruck by others or try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can. Most people, despite their confident appearance and demeanor, are just as scared and doubtful of themselves as you are.—Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971.

Top ↑

Treatments for Doubt

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.—Psalm 23.

When a thought of fear, lack or doubt crosses your mind, make your statements with more awareness of God’s Power, put more emphasis into them. To rid the mind of fear, say, "I, (Name) am now filled with the confidence of God. I AM now overflowing with the trust of God. I AM now expressing perfect wisdom, confidence, assurance, perfect faith." Fear is rooted in a lack of wisdom, which is why the beginning of wisdom is the end of fear. Fear is faith inverted.—Edna Lister, January 13, 1933.

Top ↑

Stories That Illustrate Doubt

Abraham and Sara Laugh: God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.—Genesis 17:15-19
  I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.—Genesis 18:10-14

The Resurrection of Jairus’ Daughter: And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
  While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
  And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.—Mark 5:22-24, 36-43. (See also Luke 8:41-42, 49-56.)

Walking on Water: Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.—Matthew 14:22-32. (See Mark 6:45-51 and John 6:16-21.)

Top ↑

You cannot "walk on water" when you doubt.—See Matthew 14:25‑31.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.—John 14:27.

Be not afraid, only believe.—Mark 5:36.

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.– Mark 11:22-24.

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.—Romans 14:1-2.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.—James 1:5-8.

Top ↑

Old Testament on Doubt

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.—Proverbs 3:5-6

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.—Psalm 34:4.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.—Psalm 34:7.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.—Psalm 56:3-4.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.—Psalm 118:8.

Top ↑

Doubt in Other Sacred Writings

At first, wisdom will walk with you by crooked ways, bring fear and dread upon you, and torment you with her discipline, until she may trust your soul, and try you by her laws. Then will she return you to the straight way, and comfort you, and shew you her secrets; if you go wrong, she will forsake you, and give you over to your own ruin.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 4:17-19

None will be saved unless they believe in the Crucifixion, [Resurrection and Ascension]. When you examine death, it will teach you election. None of those who fear death will be saved; for the kingdom belongs to those who put themselves [their self] to death. Make yourself like the son of the Holy Spirit!—The Apocryphon of James, Codex I, 2

They were ignorant of the Father, He being the one whom they did not see. Since it was terror, disturbance, instability, doubt and division, many illusions were at work by means of these, and (many) empty fictions, as if they were sunk in sleep, and found themselves in disturbing dreams.—The Gospel of Truth, Codex I, 3 and XII, 2

Top ↑


Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of doubt: Middle English: from Old French doute (noun), douter (verb), from Latin dubitare ‘hesitate’, from dubius ’doubtful’ (see dubious).

Etymology of fear: Old English fǣr ‘calamity, danger’, fǣran ‘frighten’, also ‘revere’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch gevaar and German Gefahr ‘danger’.

Doubt is a soul taint, amoral defect, anegative influence, and spiritual contamination.

An Essay on Man
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little or too much;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl’d;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun;
Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
—Alexander Pope


Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.
—William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2024

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Pope, Alexander. "An Essay on Man," The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Bliss Perry, editor. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1902, 137.

Shakespeare, William. "Measure for Measure," Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Lucio in Act 1, Scene 4, 87-89. W.J. Craig, editor. London: Oxford University Press, 1914.