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576 pages, 2004



711 books
spirituality & religion

spirituality & religion

408 books

In this book, Hecht describes the world's greatest doubters—the greatest intellectuals who also belong to humanity's greatest doubting traditions. These doubters include Socrates, Galileo, and Darwin, as well as Marx and Freud, among others. 

Hecht is no atheist (though he does not share Job or Ecclesiastes' understanding of God), but he is partisan to the skeptical cause. He characterizes Jesus as a man of doubt, discusses Jesus' relationship with His Father, cites Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and asserts that Jesus was a pacifist who was unable to believe in an afterlife worthy of human beings' accountability. Hecht concludes by discussing secularism and the rise of science.

The History of Doubt

In 'Doubt', Jennifer Michael Hecht takes us on a journey through history, exploring how doubt has shaped our world. She digs into the lives of philosophers, scientists, and poets who dared to question the status quo. It's a fascinating look into how questioning beliefs has led to progress and innovation.

Doubt as a Positive Force

Hecht shows us that doubt isn't something to be feared or avoided. Instead, she argues that it's a powerful force for change and growth. Doubt pushes us to question, to explore, and to seek truth. It's a tool that can help us make better decisions and lead more fulfilling lives.

The Role of Doubt in Religion

One of the key themes in 'Doubt' is the role of doubt in religion. Hecht explores how doubt has been a part of religious thought throughout history, from ancient times to the present day. She shows us that doubt isn't the enemy of faith, but rather a crucial part of it.

The Power of Questioning

In 'Doubt', Hecht encourages us to embrace the power of questioning. She shows us that asking questions isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. It's a way to challenge our assumptions, to learn, and to grow. So, don't be afraid to ask questions and seek answers.

The Importance of Critical Thinking

Hecht's book is a powerful reminder of the importance of critical thinking. She encourages us to question everything, to think for ourselves, and to not accept things at face value. 'Doubt' is a call to action for all of us to become more thoughtful, curious, and open-minded.

Quotes 5

Jennifer Michael Hecht's 'Doubt' is a brilliant and necessary book. It is a historical and philosophical investigation into the nature of doubt, and it is a celebration of doubt as a necessary and creative force.

Sam HarrisSam Harris - Author, Philosopher

'Doubt' is a fascinating and enlightening book. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of religious skepticism.

Richard DawkinsRichard Dawkins - Evolutionary Biologist

Jennifer Michael Hecht's 'Doubt' is a tour de force, a wonderful and enlightening journey through the history of religious skepticism.

Daniel DennettDaniel Dennett - Philosopher, Writer

'Doubt' is a remarkable book, a spirited and compelling defense of religious skepticism.

Christopher HitchensChristopher Hitchens - Author, Journalist

Jennifer Michael Hecht's 'Doubt' is a masterful exploration of the history and importance of religious skepticism.

Steven PinkerSteven Pinker - Psychologist, Author
Sam HarrisRichard DawkinsDaniel DennettChristopher HitchensSteven Pinker


authorKrista Tippett

Krista Tippett