Should Christians Have Doubts?
by Jonathan Morrow
Real Christians don’t doubt. Or at least that’s the unspoken message you’ll find in many churches today. Well, if that’s true then I guess I’m not a real Christian because I’ve had (and still have) my share of doubts at times. By the way, your parents, youth pastors, and parents have them too! Pastor Tim Keller offers helpful insight:
“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”
As humans, we all have limitations. We all experience doubts simply because we cannot know everything about everything. So be encouraged, you are not alone. But in order to live with our doubts in a spiritually healthy and faith-building way, we need to be clear about what doubt is and isn’t. First, as J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler point out, there is a difference between unbelief, doubt, and lack of belief.
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Unbelief – someone willfully sets themselves against a biblical teaching (e.g., Jesus is not the Son of God).
Doubt – someone has an intellectual, emotional, or psychological barrier to a more secure confidence in a biblical teaching or in God Himself (e.g., I believe God is always there for me, but when bad stuff happens I struggle to believe this).
Lack of belief – someone doesn’t believe a biblical teaching or idea, but wants to (e.g., I need some help to believe).
Also, all doubts aren’t created equal; there are different flavors…
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