I Doubt It

doubtSomething you’ll need to get used to if you’re going to live in the post-modern world is doubt. Doubt is a big deal here in Emergenceland. There are people who have built their identity around it. I’m not naming names, though; figuring out who I’m talking about on your own can be fun. Hell, you could even make it a drinking game (yes, we drink around here). Like, everyone has to take a drink whenever _____ mentions doubt on their podcast. Depending on who you’re listening to, things could get interesting.

One of the things you’ll hear is a quote from Paul Tillich, who said “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” I know that sounds odd considering what a lot of us have been told over the years. In fundamental circles, doubt doesn’t have a very good name. Some folks would have you believe that doubt is the first step onto the slippery slope to Hell, that anyone who doubts isn’t really a Christian and other such nonsense. And, that’s exactly what it is: nonsense. What you need to understand is that doubt is a natural part of human existence.

If you’re doing a little doubting these days, remember that you’re not alone. Doubts about Christianity have been around as long as Christianity itself. In John 20:24-25 we are told,“But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Thomas is a guy I can relate to. I mean, how often do you hear about someone you know dying and coming back to life? That he raised an eyebrow at the news that a man he’d seen die on a cross a few days earlier was up and walking around is understandable. Even though he’d seen some pretty amazing things, I can still see where he was coming from. I mean, raising Lazarus from the dead was pretty amazing, but Jesus brought himself back from the deadYou can’t bring yourself back from the dead, can you? In Thomas’ defense, he never said it was impossible, just that he wouldn’t believe it until he saw it. And, to his credit, when he did see it, his response was “My Lord and my God!”. Doubt is a normal, natural thing.

Doubt has a definite place in your spiritual journey. Gautama Buddha told his followers “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” (yes, I just quoted Buddha on a Christian blog, I’ll explain later). Pastor John Frye wrote “Doubters have their place in announcing and practicing the unexpectedly loving reign of God. Old, stale thinking pitted doubt against faith” and “For God’s sake, doubters, upset the apple cart!”. Upsetting the apple cart is something we a lot around here.