- a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
Christianity is not merely a religion – it is a relationship, a worldview, amongst other things. It is the philosophical framework that enables us to make sense of all reality – all things that (are) matter and exist. Our faith should permeate every aspect of our lives and ought to dictate how we view life and provide the answers to all existential questions:
What is the essence of existence?
Who am I?
What is my greater purpose?
How should I live my life?
What happens when I die?
However, we are often guilty of compartmentalising our faith which can lead to evaluating Christianity through other world views or we encounter different philosophies that challenge our faith – regardless of the context, doubt can ensue.
In Christian circles, doubt – much like sex – receives a Voldemort-esque reception – it mustn’t be named, explicitly discussed or alluded to. It appears that such uncouth dialogue is reserved for heathens, ‘searchers’ and agnostics. This is because Christians tend to identify doubt with total unbelief – this isn’t always the case. Mark 9:24 is a good example of ‘believer’s doubt’ – “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Although expressed differently, doubt is a common experience for believers and heathens alike. Some tend to wear their doubt as a badge of honour, stating it is a crucial aspect of finding the truth. Notable quotes include, “Doubt everything. Find your own light” and “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in our life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” By their own admission, we must doubt their advice – which is not only contradictory but a complete 360, taking us right back where we started.
Others, repress their doubts – discrediting these concerns – turning into fanatics in a desperate bid to quench these niggling uncertainties. Doubt, especially in the Christian faith, is not synonymous with a complete absence of faith; Peter and Thomas’ lives demonstrate this perfectly – Peter believed in Jesus enough to start walking towards him on the lake but began to sink as soon fear set in (Matthew 14:25-31). Thomas, a disciple, did not believe Christ had appeared to the other disciples (after his death) until he experienced it himself (John 20:24-29). Since doubt is faith burdened with unbelief – there is the avenue for unbelief to grow stronger and resonate deeper, threatening to snuff out our faith! We must unburden ourselves. We must repent and believe (Mark 1:15)! It is not enough to just acknowledge our doubts we must take them to God with a contrite heart.
Read the bible and truly engage its content – this will strengthen our faith. Thank God that the eyes of your heart are enlightened by His Word. Also, seek out and speak to friends [insert discourse on discernment here] who can encourage and pray for you. I pray that as you seek out the truth, you will be satisfied by it. Lastly, find comfort in Philippians 1:6 “…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Trust and believe that.