I imagine we all have doubts about all sorts of things we think are true, whether it is religious belief, politics, personal relationships or other choices we make. For many christians, especially those raised in christian families, adult life requires many aspects of belief to be re-considered.
How should we deal with this?
Faith vs reason?
Some christians take the view that we know what is true (whether that be God, Jesus, the Bible or the teachings of the church), we just need to hold on to our faith. Sceptics generally oppose that approach, arguing that reason and evidence should govern all our decisions.
But sceptics seem to misunderstand christian faith. For most of us, reason and evidence is important, but following Jesus and faith in God are personal matters as well as evidential matters. Some of us place more importance on evidence and reason (that would be me!), others place greater importance on faith, but almost all of us think both are important.
So how to deal with doubt?
Dealing with doubt
Peter Enns is an Old Testament scholar and a blogger. I follow his blog because he brings a fresh perspective to some Old Testament questions (and was required a few years ago to leave the evangelical seminary where he was lecturing because of his views on Adam & Eve – see The Bible: scholarship vs faith? (1)). He seems to me to be a christian with a strong faith and a keen, open mind.
He has recently started a series on his blog, Challenges to Staying Christian. He has asked for input on difficult questions, sorted the input into 5 themes, and now will initiate discussion on them. He intends to keep the discussion non-polemical and sensitive to those who are sharing their doubts, even to the extent of removing argumentative posts if necessary.
I think it will be well worth following, and I recommend it to you.
Next post I’ll get back to the “Christianity is Changing” series with a post on dealing with doubt personally.