Faith and Doubt

A reader asked me some time ago to talk about doubt. I have thought about this for a time, since my faith is pretty limited and weak, but I still think some faith- and honest doubt, where there is doubt- is better than nothing.

I used to have this quote, clipped from a newspaper editorial page, on my bulletin board- “There is more faith in honest doubt than in all the unexamined creeds of past and present.” I can’t find the exact quote, but the original seems to come from Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Having grown up with a rigorously unexamined creed, it made a lot of sense to me. People criticize this as appearing to elevate doubt above faith, and maybe it does But as Dr. Ken Baker says here “Doubt is not disbelief. It is an honest exploration of issues.”

Bruce Charlton quotes this Mormon on faith and doubt. I think this responds to the question ideally. Faith may not be strong, it may be partial, it may be very weak but whatever faith there is takes precedence over any doubt. Doubt is an opportunity to learn more, to come to a better understanding of things, and hopefully have more faith.

Churches seem to discourage people who doubt. They want you to believe a lot, or not come. And they generally like to say how simple and easy it all is, to people of pure hearts who really love God. I am, according to at least one, most definitely not a Christian of any kind, but I will keep trying to know God and Jesus to the best of my ability.

Furthermore, doubt and cynicism seem to me to be tools of Satan. Satan- the enemy, or the accuser- points out to God the shortcomings of the people has created, in the hope God will condemn them. But God stays with his people even when they fall short.

1 Comment

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One response to “Faith and Doubt

  1. The biggest obstacle to faith today is the materialist/secular drumbeat from academia and the media that depicts faith as antiquated and believers as dolts. Cynicism is presented as sophistication and “cool” trumps logic for anyone hooked up. The only remedy is contemplation.

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