Authentic Questions: Doubting & Exploring Faith
If at the gates of Heaven, God says, “Do you have any questions for me?” What would you ask him?
What is something that you are unsure of in the Christian faith, or a story of Scripture?
What prevents you from asking the difficult and deep questions of your faith and life?
What has been your experience asking difficult questions to your friends, family, Pastor, or colleagues?
Do you think you can doubt and be a Christian? Why or why not?
An active process, rather than a static state.
Renegotiating their beliefs as one encounters new experiences, learns new information, and questioning their religious upbringings.
Faithing is a work filled process, and can be intense and vulnerable.
Part of faithing is doubting – doubting is not a rejection of faith, it is a trying to make sense of faith.
Doubting is not an unfaithful act but is a process of spiritual searching that we all need to experience - we must welcome, encourage, and embrace doubting
Faithing is more about navigating faith in the world, rather than getting all of the facts straight.
If we do not have questions, how do we engage and understand faith?
Faith Seeking Understanding
St. Augustine, an early Church Father, talks about the role of faith. Not only as understanding or strictly knowledge. Nor as just a blind belief in something without any understanding.
Instead, he speaks about Faith as an active seeking of understanding.
The best way that we come to understand something more and more is by asking questions. By seeking experiences. By putting ourselves out there more and more.
This too is what I believe is an authentic approach to faith – to ask difficult and unsettling questions. Not necessarily calling out to God, WHY? But instead, bringing our doubts and confusions to Christian community and naming them.
We may not have the answer, but the process of an authentic faith is a willingness to ask, an openness to admit, and a desire to navigate and understand more fully within Christian community.
Doubt in Scripture
Read: John 20:24-29
Often we think of doubt as being the enemy of belief.
I think that doubt encourages us to always be asking questions, digging deeper, and trying to find answers to the questions that our hearts yearn for.
Doubt can be good for us!
Doubt should not be what prevents us from taking the leap of belief -- Thomas doubted, but Christ still spoke into his life.
Read Judges 6:12-18, 36-40
The Midianites and Amalekites are completely controlling and destroying the Israelites and they are calling out to God for help. God sent the prophet Gideon to stand in the place as God’s messenger and voice among His suffering people.
How did God respond to Gideon’s doubts?
Why would God choose Gideon if He knew that Gideon was filled with doubts in himself, in God, and in what He can do?
John Calvin on Doubt
But for Calvin, doubt wasn’t something Christians should fear—instead, it was something we should even expect, and not be surprised by when it creeps into our lives: “Surely, while we teach that faith ought to be certain and assured, we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety.”
Calvin understood that doubt was a part of the faith experience, because human nature itself finds ideas about God and His goodness so outside of what we can understand: “For unbelief is so deeply rooted in our hearts, and we are so inclined to it, that not without hard struggle is each one able to persuade himself of what all confess with the mouth: namely, that God is faithful.”