Pretending to never doubt one’s faith and telling others that they should never doubt either is dangerous. Thinking that we have no reason to doubt our beliefs assumes that we somehow have all the answers that don’t need to be refined within the crucible of skepticism. And telling others that they should never doubt their faith suggests that when doubts creep in (as it will and should), there is not a foundation to our beliefs that can answer them.
Like pretty much every other human on the face of the earth. I’ve doubted and challenged just about every religious belief I’ve ever knowingly held at some point or another.
I have been told that I shouldn’t doubt any of the beliefs I was dogmatically taught. I have been told that one should never doubt the Bible or anything in it.
But these pithy retorts are just a kind of anesthesia that numb the mind God gave us to sort truth from untruth.
When I doubted my faith, I had to confront several questions that had been undermining my entire worldview because the dogma of the church had given me no foundation from which I could refute my own doubts.
I had been told to trust the Bible and its authority, but that line did not tell me how we know the Bible is authentic and accurate let alone authoritative. Dogma never taught me why the Bible has the books that it does and no others. Dogma did not help me resolve alleged internal inconsistencies within Scripture. Doubting my faith, shaking it to its core, and searching for answers is what allowed me to resolve those doubts in a truly satisfactory way.
The oft abused line that I just needed to trust Jesus more never actually told me why I could know that Jesus existed and why He was God any more than the figures of other religions.
Dogma never told my why I could believe that God created the universe and the life within it in spite of the pop-culture science which suggested otherwise.
Ironically, dogma actually led me away from my faith before my doubt allowed me to search for answers and return to it. A pastor telling me to just trust the Bible because it’s the Bible, a leading gimmick apologist telling me you had to just believe and ignore doubts because God’s wisdom is greater than man’s wisdom, and the church telling me to take the church’s word over the word of the scientific establishment all because of some sort of authority that the church just assumed it had were the reasons I gave up hope that Christianity could actually supply satisfactory answers.
God’s wisdom is infinitely greater than man’s wisdom. But you cannot trust God’s wisdom until you believe that God exists. The writings of the New Testament are full of apologetic appeals to reason and pre-established intellectual common ground aimed at rationally persuading people to believe in the Gospel — not to just take another religion’s word for it.
Take God’s invitation when He says in Isaiah 1:18, “Come, let us reason together.” He can handle your doubts. If Christianity really is true, then a careful pursuit of truth will lead you straight to the throne of God.
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