I was listening to the latest Wired Jesus podcast where Tom was talking about faith and doubt. One of the things he said was “…our parents tried to tell us that doubt was a sign of weakness of faith, and we weren’t supposed to talk about it...” and that doubt was a “virus that would affect all the faithful.”
I can agree with this and it really strikes a nerve with me. I remember being told that I shouldn’t doubt because it would lead me to believing in my doubts and turning from God. But what do I do with doubt? Can I just ignore it and make it go away? Am I screwed up and broken as a Christian because I have doubts? It certainly seems that way if I believe what I was taught. Tom talks about the “answer man” church where the pastor and the church are the sole source of answers, and we are to look only to them.
One of the reasons I rejected the church for so long was this type of attitude. If God is who he says he is, I should be able to doubt and question. I don’t want to trust in a God who can’t handle my questions. If the truth is there, I should be able to find it by honestly seeking. I returned to the church and my faith because of people who told me that God wanted to hear from me even if I was angry at him. They told me God could handle my anger and questions and fear. They taught me that if I had questions and doubt I could find answers and security.
So what does scripture say? I don’t have specific references to give, but all you have to do is start reading the Psalms for an answer. David was not afraid to express doubt and ask God “why have you forsaken me?” (A sentiment Jesus himself quotes on the cross) Jeremiah is also not afraid to yell at God when he’s alone and afraid.
So I reject anyone who tells me not to question. I think God is big enough to deal with my uncertainty. I’ve found him willing to be patient with me, although sometimes it takes a lot of searching and humility on my part before I can accept his answer.