Sunday, August 22, 2010

Doubt (Honest August)


It's hard to talk about doubt.

Uncertainty twists your stomach.

Your misgivings make you shameful.

It's the feeling when you take a step, thinking there is a place for your foot. Expecting to land and find solid ground. But find yourself in a moment of free fall.

This question is all too common. "What if everything I've ever believed in is a mistake?"

And what's more is that we hate to talk about it. Churches are hardly the place to express unbelief. Part of this is due to the fact that we've created a church culture where transparency is difficult and perfection is a false image that we celebrate. It's difficult to be honest. But being that it's Honest August, I want to create a safe environment to ask these questions.

The very idea of doubt feels wrong.

-Does God exist?
-If he exists, does he care?
-Is the Bible true?
-Or does it have contradictions?
-What about evidence for evolution?
-Does prayer really work?

We tend to think of doubt as the opposite of belief.

But I don't think that's true. The opposite of belief is not doubt, but unbelief. When you believe an idea, your attribute it as truth. When you disbelieve an idea, you attribute it as false. The middle ground is where you find doubt. This is when you become uncertain of what you believe. You don't disbelieve, but you don't fully believe either.

Instead, doubt is a time of searching.

And this can be a great place to find both yourself and your faith. And the Christian Faith is worth the time spent searching. This is a great time to solidify your beliefs.

Doubt gives us the opportunity to deconstruct what we've been told and reconstruct a stronger faith.

Do you doubt that God loves you? Now is the time to deconstruct your image of God.


And question.

And ask.

And research.

And pray.

And find why God loves you.

Deconstructing your misconceptions. Reconstructing something stronger and more beautiful.

Do you doubt that Jesus was and is fully God? Again, allow your presuppositions to fade and rebuild on a solidified foundation.

The hard part (and I would add 'foolish', even 'dangerous') is to try and do this on your own. Rather, this is a time spent asking God and asking mentors.

I believe these questions should be asked because I believe these questions have great and powerful answers about who God is.

What did I doubt? I doubted the historical validity of the Bible. I questioned the method that God's word had been passed into the hands of men.

So I was directed to Josh McDowell. So I read his book The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. God and I created a firm Biblical and historical foundation to rest my relationship. My relationship with God was stronger after I searched my doubts.

Doubt is an awkward, scary, lonely place to be.

But doubt can be an awkward, scary, lonely place to grow!

The trouble is that we've created a church culture where voicing doubts is risky. But far more dangerous is the doubt that is never investigated. Uninvestigated doubt becomes unbelief.

The book of Habakkuk is a powerful short story of how a man doubted God's goodness. He boldly brought his questions to God. And God responded in a powerful way. Not in anger with Habakkuk's doubts. But in a loving, mind blowing, prophetic way.

His bold questions?

"God, how long must I cry for help, and you not listen?"
"God, why do you tolerate wrong doing?"

Read the book for yourself.

So be honest. Ask your questions here.
And we can help connect you with mentors to work through your doubts.

So it's your turn to be honest.
What do you doubt?
If it was a past doubt, did you grow stronger after you searched?