Doubt is our friend. No, I’m not promoting ignorance. You should know me better than that by now. I’m promoting a mindset: one that makes room for questions…leaves room for doubt…allows others to be elsewhere on the continuum we call faith. Uh-oh. I can sense that your eyes are glazing over. Let’s go back to the beginning. We’re talking about doubt from a Christian perspective…
Some famous guy once said,
“I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education”.
Here’s an equation: DOUBT + ANSWERS = KNOWLEDGE
I know. It’s pretty self-evident…but some don’t see it that way (more on that in a moment). In case the equation isn’t convincing, here’s a bit of logic to go with it: a friend tells you that no English word rhymes with ‘orange’, and you wonder whether such a thing can be true. After reading half a dozen dictionaries and consulting several experts you come to the conclusion that there really aren’t any. You’ve erased your doubt with an answer…and now you too share the knowledge that no English word rhymes with ‘orange’. How do we apply this to spiritual things? Well, if you lack knowledge in the God category, it’s pretty tough to trust Him. If you gain knowledge, your questions dwindle…making it easier to find reasons to believe.
Here’s an equation showing the relationship between a lack of knowledge and a leap of faith:
Now see what happens when you gain knowledge:
Wasn’t that fun? Now, no one has been able to gain all spiritual knowledge, so EVERYONE has doubts that remain. That much should be obvious to everyone, but unfortunately not everyone likes this idea. Some Christians see doubt as a weakness…these people are either in denial or are incredibly hypocritical, because it’s plain that everyone has doubts. In fact, some think that doubting is a sin! Of course, this idea is ridiculous to anyone who examines it. To be more precise, we shall see below that doubting can’t be a sin.
Some people think that doubt and faith are opposites. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doubt isn’t a lack of faith…it’s a lack of knowledge! If you knew everything there was to know about God, you would have no faith. Faith as I’ve written elsewhere) is believing despite having incomplete evidence. With full knowledge there’s no trust. Everyone understands this sort of logic, but few apply it to their relationship with God. If you KNEW that God existed, you wouldn’t need faith. Instead, you BELIEVE or are CONVINCED that God exists…and in the very act of making such a statement you acknowledge the possibility that you could be wrong. That’s not a lack of faith…THAT’S WHAT FAITH IS! Faith is believing despite having incomplete information…and the Bible clearly says so. To use today’s special words, FAITH is BELIEVING despite having DOUBT. Let’s look at it:
Notice: it doesn’t say that ‘he who comes to God must KNOW. It says “must believe”. It takes faith to believe, but it only takes information to know. Interestingly, those who are convinced that they already have all of the answers cannot please God…because pleasing God requires faith! Since we can’t have all the answers, we are stuck with a measure of doubt. We have seen above that our doubt can be reduced by seeking knowledge of God. It’s also important to note that knowledge doesn’t equal faith. Knowledge simply makes faith easier to manage.
It’s a simple equation: As our knowledge of God increases, our doubts shrink. As our knowledge of God increases, our need for faith decreases, making that ‘leap of faith’ much smaller and more manageable. It’s difficult to convince someone of God’s love if they’ve never heard of Him…it’s much easier for them to believe after doing a bit of research. Don’t be afraid to doubt. God has the answers, and has provided us with easy access to some of them. That’s one of the reasons that this website exists: to provide the answers that I’ve found while addressing my own doubts. So: doubt away. It’s good for you.