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Quotes on the Subject of Doubt

A man whose mind feels that it is captive would prefer to blind himself to the fact. But if he hates falsehood, he will not do so; and in that case he will have to suffer a lot. He will beat his head against the wall until he faints. He will come to again and look with terror at the wall, until one day he begins afresh to beat his head against it; and once again he will faint. And so on endlessly and without hope. One day he will wake up on the other side of the wall. - Simone Weil

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Quotes on the Subject of Doubt

True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance.
Akhenaton?( c. B.C. 1375) Egyptian King

The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Albert Einstein( 1879-1955) German/American Physicist

Who shall decide when doctors disagree, And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me?
Alexander Pope( 1688-1744) English Poet, Critic, and Translator

How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise!
Alexander Pope( 1688-1744) English Poet, Critic, and Translator

There lives more faith in honest doubt,. Believe me, than in half the creeds.
Alfred Tennyson( 1809-1892) English Poet

I am going a long way With these thou seëst if indeed I go (For all my mind is clouded with a doubt) To the island-valley of Avilion, Where falls not hail or rain or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea, Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.
Alfred Tennyson( 1809-1892) English Poet

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
Andre Gide No Bio Data

Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is...it is her shadow.
Bailey ( 1816-1902) English Poet

Doubt comes in at the window when inquiry is denied at the door.
Benjamin Jowett( 1817-1893) English Theologian and Scholar

Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.
Bergen Evans( 1812-1889) English Poet

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
Bertrand Russell No Bio Data

Neither in this world nor elsewhere is there any happiness in store for him who always doubts.
Bhagavad Gita( c. B.C. 400) Sanskrit Poem

Credulity is the man's weakness, but the child's strength.
Charles Lamb( 1775-1834) English Essayist

Great doubts...deep wisdom. Small doubts... little wisdom.
Chinese Proverb

Doubt is the opposite of belief.
Christian N. Bovee( 1820-1904) American Author and Editor

Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.
Christian N. Bovee( 1820-1904) American Author and Editor

Can that which is the greatest virtue in philosophy, doubt, be in religion what the priests term it, the greatest of sins?
Christian N. Bovee( 1820-1904) American Author and Editor

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.
Clarence Darrow( 1857-1938) American Lawyer

Doubt is the vestibule through which all must pass before they can enter into the temple of wisdom.
Colton( 1780-1832) English Sportsman and Writer

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
Descartes( 1596-1650) French Philosopher and Scientist


Better trust all and be deceived,. And weep that trust, and that deceiving, Than doubt one heart that, if believed, Had blessed one's life with true believing.
Francis Anne Kemble( 1809-1893)

In contemplation, if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
Francis Bacon( 1561-1626) English Philosopher, Essayist, and Statesman

Jealousy lives upon doubts, it becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld( 1613-1680) French Classical Writer

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts about reality.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt No Bio Data

Doubt is the father of invention.
Galileo( 1564-1642) Italian Astronomer and Mathematician

He that knows nothing doubts nothing.
George Herbert( 1593-1632) English Metaphysical Poet

Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.
George Iles No Bio Data

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.
H. L. Mencken( 1880-1956) American Editor, Author, and Critic

Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.
Henry David Thoreau( 1817-1862) American Essayist, Poet, and Naturalist

Doubt is an incentive to truth, and patient inquiry leadeth the way.
Hosea Ballou( 1771-1852) American Clergyman, Founder of Universalism

Doubt is part of all religion. All the religious thinkers were doubters.
Isaac Bashevis SingerAmerican writer. Interview in New York Times magazine (3-12-1978)

We know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.
Johann W. von Goethe( 1749-1832) German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist, and Scientist

There was a castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair.
John Bunyan( 1628-1688) English Author

It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative.
John Burroughs( 1837-1921) American Naturalist and Author

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Kahlil GibranNo Bio Data

If there were no falsehood in the world, there would be no doubt; if there were no doubt, there would be no inquiry; if no inquiry, no wisdom, no knowledge, no genius.
Landor( 1775-1864) English Poet and Essayist

Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.
Laurens Van der PostSouth African mystic/The Lost World of the Kalahari ( 1958)

Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death.
Miguel de Unamuno( 1864-1936) Spanish Philosopher and Writer

To have doubted one's own first principles, is the mark of a civilized man.
Oliver Wendell Holmes( 1809-1894) American Author, Wit and Poet

Doubt is the key to knowledge.
Persian Proverb

To doubt is worse than to have lost; And to despair is but to antedate those miseries that must fall on us.
Philip Massinger( 1583-1640) English Dramatist

Never do a thing concerning the rectitude of which you are in doubt.
Pliny the Younger( 61-105 A. D.)

Dangers bring fears, and fears more dangers bring.
Richard Baxter( 1615-1691) English Nonconformist Theologian

Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt;. Nothing's so hard but search will find it out.
Robert Herrick( 1591-1674) English Poet


It may be doubtful, at first, whether a person is an enemy or friend. Meat, if not properly digested, becomes poison; But poison, if used rightly, may turn medicinal.
Saskya Pandita( 1182-1251) Tibetan Grand Lama

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
Sr Oliver Wendell Holmes( 1809-1894) American Author, Wit and Poet

Melt and dispel, ye spectre-doubts, that roll Cimmerian darkness o'er the parting soul!
Thomas Campbell 1777-1844.

Skepticism means not intellectual doubt alone, but moral doubt.
Thomas Carlyle( 1795-1881) Scottish Author and Philosopher

The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself.
Thomas Carlyle( 1795-1881) Scottish Author and Philosopher

Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.
Thomas Carlyle( 1795-1881) Scottish Author and Philosopher

The natural cause of the human mind is certainly from credulity to skepticism.
Thomas Jefferson( 1743-1826) American...3rd President of the U.S

Thus, when the lamp that lighted The traveller at first goes out, He feels awhile benighted, And looks around in fear and doubt. But soon, the prospect clearing, By cloudless starlight on he treads, And thinks no lamp so cheering As that light which Heaven sheds.
Thomas Moore.( 1779-1852) Irish Poet

Despair is a mental state which exaggerates not only our misery but also our weakness.
Vauvenargues(1715-1747) French Moralist

Confidence is nowhere safe.
Vergil ( B.C. 70-19) Roman Epic, Didactic, and Idyllic Poet

An honest man can never surrender an honest doubt.
Walter Malone( 1866-1915) American Jurist

If the Sun and Moon should doubt. They'd immediately Go out.
William Blake( 1757-1828) English Poet and Artist

Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that assures the successful outcome of any venture.
William James( 1842-1910) American Philosopher and Author

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
William Shakespeare( 1564-1616) English Dramatist and Poet

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
William Shakespeare( 1564-1616) English Dramatist and Poet

But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in To saucy doubts and fears.
William Shakespeare( 1564-1616) English Dramatist and Poet

Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear; When little fears grow great, great love grows there.
William Shakespeare( 1564-1616) English Dramatist and Poet

Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.
William Shakespeare( 1564-1616) English Dramatist and Poet

I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.
Wilson Mizner No Bio Data

When you doubt, abstain.
Zoroaster( B.C. 628?-551?) Persian Religious Leader-Founder of Zoroastrianism

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APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2009, January 11). Quotes on the Subject of Doubt, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders/articles/quotes-on-the-subject-of-doubt

Last Updated: May 26, 2013

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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