The Burden of Doubt: A Cross to Bear
by Rebekah Valerius
A wise man once said: “In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, it is not the right method to tell him to stop doubting. It is rather the right method to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.”
Apologetics has been a part of my Christian walk for years because doubt has been a part of that walk for years. Being trained in the field of biochemistry, both as an undergraduate and then later as a research scientist, I was confronted pretty early on with the supposed conflict between faith and science, a conflict that cast a shadow across the simpler belief of my childhood. I say “supposed conflict” because apologetics went on to show me that if anything, Western science owes a large part of its success to the assumptions that we live in an orderly universe that is open to investigation by our reliable reasoning faculty – both of which imply a Mind behind the universe if anything, not blind and impersonal forces.
Through apologetics, I learned that I could be a scientist and a Christian; that science could actually help me grow in my wonder and awe of God. He is the Great Designer of the world that science investigates, after all! In fact, at times I remember feeling closer to God in the science lab than I did at church. I’d laugh to myself saying “The heavens declare the glory of God … and so do these tiny little protein molecules I am studying!” In the end, I learned that science could never undermine my faith for it could never answer the why of existence. It can only provide descriptions of how things occur and make plausible predictions. But science paints its pictures in one-dimension only; pictures that are flat and featureless in comparison to the whole of existence. It’s the difference between studying a map of the Scottish highlands and actually visiting them. And yet, science’s discoveries are still a marvel to withhold, too! My faith made my science more beautiful.
Little did I know that the greatest challenge to my faith would not be in the hallowed halls of a scientific research institution, but at home – the even more hallowed halls of hearth and home. After our first child was born, I quickly found myself plunged into the depths of spiritual doubt, again, the likes of which I had never experienced before…
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