"Ten Thousand Difficulties Do Not Make One Doubt"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: English churchman and author, John Henry Newman is famous as a leader of the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century. Torn by dissension largely as a result of the onslaught of scientific hypothesis and discovery, the Anglican Church experienced internal turmoil–the Low Church Party advocating an evangelical return to an emotional religion, the Broad Church Party a liberalizing and uniting of Christians in the face of a common enemy, and the High Church Party a return to the security of unquestionable religious dogma. Newman, as author of many of the Tracts which supported an Anglo-Catholic position for the Church, eventually was to find his personal spiritual peace in Roman Catholicism. Following his alteration of religious coats, he was peremptorily challenged concerning the sincerity of his convictions by the writer Charles Kingsley. Newman's response, the Apologia, is one of the classic statements of faith. At one point he candidly admits the difficulty of accepting the revelation of truth by faith, affirming that this difficulty in no way mitigates the efficacy of the doctrine:

. . . I am far of course from denying that every article of the Christian Creed, whether as held by Catholics or by Protestants, is beset with intellectual difficulties; and it is simple fact, that, for myself, I cannot answer those difficulties. Many persons are very sensitive of the difficulties of Religion; I am as sensitive of them as any one; but I have never been able to see a connexion between apprehending those difficulties, however keenly, and multiplying them to any extent, and on the other hand doubting the doctrines to which they are attached. Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate. There of course may be difficulties in the evidence; but I am speaking of difficulties intrinsic to the doctrines themselves, or their relations with each other. . . . Of all points of faith, the being of a God is, to my own apprehension, encompassed with most difficulty, and yet borne in upon our minds with most power.