The prayer attributed to the 13th century saint, though in fact written early in the 20th century, is known, loved and quoted around the world :
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith; etc.”
What I am going to say is, predictably, sacrilegious. First of all, no one seems to wonder why Francis or anyone else would need God to “let” him or her do any of the noble things mentioned. It is a request He could hardly refuse (why would He ?). I guess the author meant, if he gave it any thought at all – people who pray rarely analyze the words they use (sentiment suffices) – to be given the occasion and especially the courage and the fortitude to do the better thing. Fair enough.
But while I agree 100% with trying to replace hatred, for example, between Jews and Palestinians, with the love that should exist between semitic brothers and sisters, and though I naturally agree with replacing negatives with positives, I must invert the bit about doubt and faith. Doubt is a good thing. Credulity is not. Blind faith is blind folly, and doubt is the first step towards rationality and truth. Dubio, ergo sum, “I doubt, therefore I am.” Where would we be if we had continued to believe the myths and the false certitudes of a pre-scientific past ? Where would we be if we had continued to accept and foster superstition ? Where would we be without Copernic and Galileo and Newton and Darwin and Einstein ? We all know the answer : in the obfuscation promoted by the Church.
I too would like to be an instrument of peace, between people and their enemies, between even atheists and non-atheists. Above all I would like to sow doubt rather than faith, to help people recognize their illusions and discover illumination and the truth that makes us free. Faith and religion enslave. Doubt and denial of faith liberate. Which is why religion must be destroyed.