I’ll admit it. I have had my moments when I wondered if it’s actually true. In fact, I’ve had more than just moments. Those who know me best know that it’s been the seasons of wondering and questioning that ultimately led me to studying apologetics and eventually philosophy. Before I knew it, I had become an academic.
Here’s one thing I’ve found. Believers tend to think something is terribly wrong if they have doubts about their faith. “Perhaps”, they think to themselves, “doubt indicates that there is something wrong with Christianity, the Bible, or even Jesus.” And since they don’t want to insinuate that anything is wrong with Christianity, the Bible, or Jesus, they suppress and conceal their doubts. And in the off chance that they actually talk about their struggles with fellow believers, they might be scolded for their uncertainty as if they have failed morally.
Here’s another thing I’ve found. Doubting is NOT—no matter what some might think—an indicator that there is something wrong with Christianity, the Bible, or Jesus. Doubting is an indicator that WE are limited as knowers. Doubting, uncertainty, and questions are not a result of some problem with Christianity. These are the results of our humanity. That is, they are part of the human condition and are shared by people of every worldview perspective. It’s just part of what it’s like to be a human and something that we all—no matter what worldview we hold to be true—have to deal with.
Having said that, let me say three things: Relax, Reflect, and Research.
(1) Relax. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t take your uncertainty seriously. I’m simply suggesting that your uncertainty doesn’t indicate a problem with Christianity itself. God is not worried by our questions, our wonderings, or our doubts. Perhaps we just need to take deep breaths and keep calm!
(2) Reflect. That is, let’s reflect on the causes of doubt. Over the next three weeks, I’ll do precisely this. For the next three Tuesdays, I’ll talk about how things like finitude, sin, and contextual factors (all three are factors that every human being has to deal with) hinder our confidence. So tune in and explore these factors with me. Understanding these factors helps us realize that the problem is with us as human beings, and not with Christianity.
(3) Research. I’m not suggesting that you have to become an academic like I did. But I am suggesting that a little reading, investigation, and research helps resolve doubt. If you struggle with doubt, then this is an important part of your spiritual growth.
Bottom line: Doubting is actually fairly normal and has several causes. Over the next few weeks I’ll try to explain those causes and offer some guidance for dealing with them. Stay tuned. In the meantime, don’t forget to take a deep breath and relax!