How the spirit of doubt and unbelief can strengthen your faith
When we are struggling with doubt and unbelief we don’t want a tidy scripture or a Sunday School answer. We want something that is going to reunite us with the comforting feeling of belief. But, feelings lie. Truth is deeper than a feeling.
Doubt and unbelief are actually building blocks of faith. Many of us have grown up in an environment where asking hard questions about our beliefs is a sign that we have lost the faith. I don’t know about you, but I was given trite answers to my questions like “because the Bible says so” and “just believe.” What I was looking for was something deeper. I wanted intellectual honesty. If God is who Christians claim, then why fear the questions? If truth lies in God, then intellectual honesty should only strengthen the argument for the existence of God. Right?
At some point in our faith journey, we need to go through a period of deconstruction, a willingness to live with a bit of unknowing. We are talking about God after all. I’m content with knowing that there are mysteries that I can not grasp. There are parts of God that no book could possibly contain. This side of eternity, there will be questions. There should be questions and those questions need to be encouraged. How else would we grow?
Faith isn’t certainty. Martin Luther defined faith as “a living, bold trust in God’s grace.” Hebrews 11:1-3 (NIV) states, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Assurance is gained through experience and facts. To uncover those truths we often have to ask hard questions, and those questions often form from a spirit of doubt and unbelief.
Father Richard Rohr, friar and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, stated in a Relevant Magazine article, “You don’t move to the next level of faith without going through a necessary period of darkness. When you’ve never had that in your background, it’s all about building this coherent, consistent system where you actually love your understanding of faith. This is not the love of God anymore, this is an idol called certitude.”
The questions are leading you somewhere better. You aren’t losing your faith to the spirit of doubt and unbelief, you are finally finding it.
If you are wondering what it means to authentically follow Jesus, join us on Unfiltered Radio as we investigate who He claimed to be and how He taught us to interact with one another.