The Doubting Christian

Anyone who tries to convince you that they have never doubted, ever, is lying — or fooling themselves. Don’t join them. Queen Anne’s Lace, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold. Licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas, Framed Canvas Art, and iCanvasART.

Doubt is not so much a sin as it is a problem, and like most problems, it’s best to solve it, as opposed to letting it be a part of our continued existence.

Too often, when a Christian asks a question about God’s goodness, or His ability, or His trustworthiness, the response from others in the room is one of alarm and chastisement:

“Trust in the Lord always! He is good! Amen and amen! Praise Jesus!”

And . . . end of conversation. Whatever promoted or caused the doubt in the Christians’s heart and words hasn’t been addressed, and all we’ve really gotten across is that you, as usual, don’t believe the way you’re supposed to; you, as usual, are at fault for your lack of belief; and you, as usual, should just keep quiet and pretend you have no problems.

Just like the rest of the people in the room are doing.

Please read the rest at The Power of Doubt, at my blog, Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet. Many of you are so good about clicking through to read the rest of the story, which I am unable to print in full at this site. Thank you.

I am in the final stages of working on my self-published book, The Misfit Christian, which is dedicated to all my Christian brothers and sisters out there who are frustrated with establishment Christianity, and feel like square pegs. You’re not even trying to fit into round holes; you’re just tossed off in a corner somewhere and wondering if God has any use for you, because none of His people seem to.

That’s how I felt for a long time, and that’s why I began writing, in earnest, about 21st century Christianity and how ordinary, regular people can successfully live it. I’ll let you know when the book is out and ready to read.

4 Responses

  1. LoieJ

    Doubt is the beginning of faith, not the end of faith. If doubters are put down, then perhaps those doubters are not in a loving church. Not doubting is what a three year old does when his parents talk about Santa. When he starts to doubt, that is the beginning of maturity and intellectual curiosity, something we celebrate. It is no different for the Christian. Faith which grows out of asking questions grows into a mature faith. Faith that is just accepting what someone says isn’t faith at all. God gave us all gifts of all sorts, including the ability to think and reason. To hide those gifts and ignore them goes against the parable of the Talents. Use doubt to build a firm foundation for faith.

    1. Good words, Loie. I think there’s a certain level of patience for people when they are new Christians or seekers, but I have encountered “seasoned” Christians who are reluctant to ask questions that they “should” have had answered early on, but haven’t, because they’re supposed to know all this already. As a seasoned Christian myself who had various life experience that caused me to question things I had not had to question before, I know that we must give one another the freedom to work through these issues, and, as you so aptly say, we must use these gifts to think and reason to move on in our faiths, and strengthen it.

      You are most encouraging and wise, my friend.

  2. Sue

    Wow. I haven’t clicked on the link to read the rest of the article yet, but plan to. Already I am intrigued by the title of your upcoming book, though I’m not sure yet where you are coming from and where you are going.

    I am a seasoned Christian who finds herself at midlife feeling like a misfit Christian. I love Jesus and belong to him, yet I find myself full of questions yet feel I have no one to turn to for discussion. Most of my questions and uncomfortableness has to do with church culture more than anything, yet there are also other areas which directly effect my relationship with God. I feel I have no one understanding to turn to.

    I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

    1. Hello, Sue — please do not underestimate your ability to find the answer to your questions by yourself, with Christ as your guide. As a seasoned Christian, you no doubt are familiar with many truths of the Bible – however, as a person involved in church culture for awhile, you have to learn to separate church teaching from God’s truth. The best way I found to do this was to separate myself out of church culture and immerse myself in the Bible, reading each Scripture as if I had never read it before. It’s not easy — those voices keep popping up, but then when I thought about the various people who had told me what to believe, it became easier, because I was very much disassociated with their version of Christianity.

      When you click the link to BeliefNet, you can wander around my site and find various articles, which should bring you up to speed on what I believe. As a short list: follow Christ. Read His word to determine what He is saying, and stop relying upon other people to interpret for you. Trust that as you seek the truth, He will lead you to it. Expect to not fit in, because most people in establishment Christianity are so busy with peripheral issues that don’t matter (Are tattoos okay? What about Christians who say “Damn”? Can Christians smoke? Is Sunday School attendance mandatory?), that when you start asking serious, difficult questions, they shy away from you, because they’ve been trained — subtly or overtly — to not expect that individual Christians are trusted to find the truth. That’s the pastor’s job, because he’s the expert.

      It sounds to me like you are being called out, and when that first happens, it seems odd, because we think, “Why would God call me OUT of His church?” The answer — He isn’t calling you out of His church, which is the composite of His people, but He may very well be calling you out of the establishment that is calling itself the church. If you leave a weekly service schedule set up by an organization, you are not leaving Christ, you are simply leaving a system. It’s similar to when someone decides to homeschool — they’re not giving up on education, they’re simply leaving the system that says it’s the only way to get an education.

      Be encouraged that you are not alone. There aren’t a lot of Christians waking up and asking questions — yet — but the ones who are, are very serious about seeking and finding truth. I pray for you on your journey — it is truly a narrow path, but it will take you to some pretty incredible places. — Carolyn

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