Doubt is a normal, human experience. We all, at some time or another, experience doubt–doubt about the meaning of life, doubt about the goodness or reality of God, doubt about our own selves. Some of us struggle with doubt more than others.
And doubt, as we all know, can lead people into dark places from which they do not recover. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Doubt can be a pathway to faith.
Here’s the key: Instead of letting doubt remain vague, follow up on it. Get specific. Name it. What are you doubting? What is bugging you? What, in particular, do you struggle with? And then do something with it.
Use your doubt as a pathway to deeper faith.
- Interview people who’ve wrestled with that question.
- Read books on the subject, from a variety of positions.
- Write out your thoughts and discuss it with trusted friends.
But whatever you do, don’t just keep expressing vague doubts without ever doing anything about them. That’s just depressing.
Does that sound odd? Think about it. How many people express doubt–doubt in the goodness of God, doubt in the hope of resurrection, doubt in the importance of the church, doubt in Jesus as the son of God, doubt in the trustworthiness of the Bible–and then just leave it there, never going anywhere with it, never seeking answers, never following through. They might sound intelligent over coffee, but if they never dig in and do something about that doubt, it takes them exactly nowhere.
Don’t be that kind of doubter. Why? Because it doesn’t help you grow–it doesn’t bring about any kind of change. It’s like that friend who talks incessantly about losing weight or traveling or getting organized or quitting their job but never does a thing about it. At a certain point, what do they need? To just do something!
And if they would, then at least they’d be moving in a new direction rather than staying stuck.
Same with doubt: if we will use doubt as a pathway, indicating places we need to explore, then we will begin to grow as people. Perhaps, at the end of our journey, we will have less faith, but at least we’ll come to a place of conviction instead of lingering in the grey.
But I have a hunch, actually. If we’ll let honest doubt guide our reading, our listening, our study and our thinking, and if we’ll open ourselves up to others who have truly wrestled with these same doubts, we’ll find–to our surprise–thoughtful companions who’ve walked these same roads and came to places of deeper faith. Men like C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel come to mind, both men who’s journey from atheism to faith in Jesus can be joined with benefit. (Lewis’ Mere Christianity and Stobel’s The Case for Christ are terrific places to start.)
So, what are your doubts? Can you name them?
And what are you going to do about it?