Is it okay to have doubts?
by Jonathan Morrow
Real Christians don’t doubt. Or at least that’s the unspoken message you’ll find in most 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. By the way, your parents and youth pastors have them too! 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.
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. The two most common are intellectual and emotional doubts. Given a Christian understanding of faith as “confidence or trust in what we have reason to believe is true”—as opposed to ‘blind faith’ or wishing—the recipe for overcoming your doubts is not to somehow dig deep and crank out more faith by holding your breath and concentrating really hard.
What you need to do is have the courage to “doubt your doubts.” Investigate. Seek the truth. Here’s a place to start…
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