Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Role of Doubt in Finding Faith

Doubt is an interesting topic in the search for faith. It's often seen as the antithesis of faith but it's not. Apathy is. If you truly didn't believe, you wouldn't even care about God. But doubt shows that you do believe, you are just struggling with your belief.

The truth is that we often doubt what we believe just like we argue with those we love. If we didn't love them, we wouldn't bother to argue. In the same way, if we didn't believe at some level, we'd have no reason to doubt. So doubt doesn't prove you don't believe in God any more than an argument with my wife proves that I don't love her.

Many of us hate conflict because we don't like to argue. We'll avoid it like the plague, just trying to act like everything is okay when it's really not. It dawned on me a number of years ago that conflict can actually produce intimacy in a relationship if I'll let it. You see, it's through disagreeing with someone and talking about that disagreement that I come to know them better. They get to know me better as well. Talking through a conflict will help me to draw closer to my wife or child or friend because we'll both appreciate things about each other that we never knew before.

It's the same with doubt. We are often so ashamed of our doubt (regarding God) that we don't want to admit it to anyone, even ourselves. We just quietly nod in agreement when God is discussed and hope that our nagging doubt gets resolved on its own.

But doubt can actually be good for our faith. Healthy doubt tells us that there's something wrong in our thinking that we need to take a look at. Doubt is really internal conflict. And, if you are willing to face it, it will produce a greater sense of intimacy with God. So don't fear your doubt, face it, and invite God into the process of resolving your doubt. It's not something that you have to suffer alone. He WANTS to help you sort everything out.