It’s Okay To Doubt Your Faith

Yes, if you have doubts about your faith, that’s okay. Actually, it can be good!
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Huh?
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Yes, it’s healthy to have doubts. I think within some sectors of the church, a heavy emphasis is placed on believing the right things, and having the correct head knowledge in order to have a healthy faith. The problem is, to some extent, we can’t really control our beliefs. We can’t just choose to believe something, even if we want to.
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Belief can be defined as, “trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.” Perhaps one might say they believe in the existence of God, for example, but if they don’t place their trust, faith, or confidence in God, then they don’t really believe (even if they feel they believe, or say they believe).

If someone said they believed that it was going to snow, but went out in shorts and T-shirt, then they didn’t really believe it was going to snow, or perhaps they have a desire to experience hypothermia, or possibly frostbite.
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In order to have true belief, that belief has to influence our actions. Sure, we can sometimes make ourselves believe things if we try hard enough, but sometimes we need more evidence. I would really like it if ice cream was good for you, but no amount of believing is going to change the chemistry. I would need some new evidence or data to influence and change my beliefs.
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In the same way, sometimes we need more evidence to believe in God or a certain doctrine. This is good, after all, we are instructed to love God with all our mind, as well as heart and soul. Nowhere in the Bible are we asked to make a “leap of faith.” Faith is to be founded on knowledge, not wishful-thinking.
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If someone doubts the existence of God, or some doctrine, that is perfectly fine. We should frequently doubt what we believe, otherwise, we run the risk of deceiving ourselves or being close-minded. We want to follow the truth wherever it leads, and question everything. Yes, even our faith.

“Hold on a second! Are you saying we should be doubting Thomas’?”
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Some are quick to throw out the “doubting Thomas” expression if you express doubt; however, the problem with Thomas wasn’t that he doubted, but that he doubted despite the facts. Everything was happening according to what Christ told him would happen, and there were many witnesses as well. Thomas doubted despite the evidence. This kind of doubt is actually a rejection of reality. We should never have this kind of blind doubt, just as we should not have a blind faith.
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This blind doubt is frequently found today in the phenomenon known as the “skeptic.”
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In our culture, if you profess yourself to be a skeptic, everyone immediately judges you to be smarter than a person who believes. It doesn’t matter what you are skeptical about, but if you are skeptical, you must possess some unique wisdom that the foolish believer does not have. To believe is to be vulnerable; being skeptical somehow gives you the intellectual high-ground in our culture. 
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(The exception here being if you proclaim to be a skeptic concerning Darwinian Evolution, in which case, you’ll be called an anti-intellectual cave man at best, and a defective mutation that should be purged from the gene pool at worst.)
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The problem here is you can still be dumber than a doornail (whatever that means) and still ask “why?”
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“If you’re going to be a doubter, make sure to doubt your doubts as well as your beliefs. Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts, as well as, doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts.”

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 You would hardly be consistent if you were to be a perpetual skeptic but failed to be skeptical of your own skepticism.  This is how knowledge grows. You have to doubt what you believe, and believe your doubts, but you also have to trust your beliefs, and doubt your doubts.
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It is through keeping an open mind and questioning our beliefs and doubts that we arrive at knowledge and truth.  So many today are very unwilling to question what they believe because their beliefs allow them to live the way they want. Lies can sometimes be very comfortable, and we don’t want to explore the uncomfortable truth. However, the reality is the truth will set us free, even when we think it won’t. I think a lot of “skeptics” can be found guilty of this.
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As we doubt, as we believe, and as the Holy Spirit works though us, over time, the truth will reveal itself to us. However, this can never happen if we become ashamed of our doubts, and we keep them hidden away. It is darkness and seclusion that allows doubts to incubate and grow. Resentment can also build, and this falsely adds to the doubt, and soon the doubt can take over, shutting off your mind, preventing you from doubting your new beliefs, or believing your new doubts.
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I think we see this a lot when we encounter people who have fallen away from one faith or another and converted to a different one. They are often much more hostile or closed-minded toward the group they just left than the people in the new group they joined. This isn’t always a result of doubt. Sometimes there are real harmful situations and/or beliefs that are experienced, but often times, hidden doubt can lead to this as well.
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Even if this extreme isn’t reached, hidden doubt can prevent us from finding true belief. Perhaps you never leave the Christian faith, for example, but your hidden doubts prevent you from fully trusting and having confidence in God. Of course, you claim Christ and you recite all the right things about all the proper doctrines, but that won’t help you grow in knowledge or truth or faith or goodness.
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As the church, I think we have to welcome doubt, and we have to encourage others to share their doubts, and share our own as well. At the same time, we should also be ready to doubt our doubts, and to hold fast to our beliefs.
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Thankfully, there is a God—a God of reason—who made our minds, so we can trust the conclusions we reach by way of logic and reason. If there were no God, and everything was just a happy accident, then we would have no reason to trust any conclusions our lump of fat and neurons we call a brain came up with. The Bible also tells us that creation alone is evidence of God’s existence, and therefore no person can claim that God did not make Himself visible enough for him or her to believe. But, sometimes doubts can emerge, and that’s okay. Examine the facts, and find the truth. Explore your doubt, but also make sure doubting your doubt is included in that exploration. 
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“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too…
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it”
 – Rudyard Kipling
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This post was originally published on October 9th, 2014.
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2 Comments

  1. I've had doubts. I once doubted whether the love Jesus bore us was the same kind of love I thought it was, so I searched the Bible, (especially the Gospels,) to discover passages and verses if I could, describing His love. I wanted to define better what it is, and what our relationship is to Him. I found that Jesus doesn't love us the way I thought He does. The love He bears to us is far greater, and far better than I longed for it to be, and more beautiful than I can comprehend. If you ever come to a place where you want to know more about His love, read the Gospel of John. I had read it before, but somehow I missed the beauty of it the first time. For instance, in John 17 Jesus prays for His disciples, present and future followers, right before He is taken prisoner. My mind was blown by this. (How had I forgotten?) He prayed for me, hundreds of years before I was even born. It's a beautiful chapter. Lately I've wondered if faith was really what I thought it was, so I've been searching scripture, (especially Hebrews, Romans, and James) and listening to a study on Romans (while exercising discernment) that has consequently given me a clearer understanding of it. Sometimes I think we have doubts because we really just need to be reminded. We seek assurance, and wisdom, and they that seek shall find, and God willingly bestows wisdom on us when we ask it of Him. I think doubts like that are very good, and help us to grow as believers, as long as we look to God to help us overcome them, and do not leave them to fester, but seek the truth regarding them. If I had no doubts about my excellence in math, why would I bother studying it? It is when we let doubts lead us away from God, that they are unhealthy.

  2. Isaiah tells us to come reason together and being able to questions, to seek, and to pursue is exactly what we are called to do. Seek First His Kingdom ( Matt 6:33). The doubting isn't as much the difficulty in our believing as the purposing to seek anything other than truth. John 14:16.

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