Learning to Doubt Your Doubts
by Tom Goodman
May 14, 2014
In one of the old Peanuts cartoons, Peppermint Patty stepped up to the store counter at the start of a new school year. "I need some school supplies," she said. "Some pencils, some paper, a loose-leaf binder -- and some answers....
I need a lot of answers."
Don't we all.
We've all struggled with religious questions and doubts, and this is true for those who are following Christ as well as those who are considering a commitment to him.
In his book, If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts? Lynn Anderson identified different things that cause doubt.
First, he says there are "congenital doubters" like himself (and myself) whose personality draws them to uncertainties and questions. I think you find a high concentration of these kinds of people in two areas: creative arts and creative
technology. (Welcome to Austin!)
Second, some doubters are rebellious people who say, "I'm not going to let somebody run my life or do my thinking."
Third, there are people whose doubts stem from their disappointment with God. Life hasn't gone their way, and they wonder if God really cares -- or even exists.
Fourth, some doubters have personal or family wounds. Anderson pointed out how many of history's most famous atheists had a strained relationship with their father, or their dad died early or abandoned them at a young age.
Finally, sometimes doubts come at particular seasons of life. People can be great believers at one point in life and then get too busy for prayer and Bible study and find that doubts have crept into a faith they have not been cultivating.
Jude 1:22 says: "Be merciful to those who doubt." Don't you love that? But the Bible sees doubt as a problem to be solved, not a condition to stay in. We have to learn to doubt our doubts. That's the subject of this Sunday's message.
When John the Baptist was thrown in prison, he had a crisis of faith (Matthew 11). He sent word to Jesus, asking, "Are you really the one we've been waiting for, or should we look for someone else?" The gentle way Jesus dealt with him should
encourage us when we doubt. Join us this Sunday at 10 to learn how to move from doubt to faith.
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