It saddens me that some churches encourage the silencing of doubts.
Every now and again I come across people who express anger at the ‘blind faith’ of churched Christians. I had one of those conversations today. At issue was the ‘hissing’ responses this guy had received in the face of his questions and dissenting opinions, and his conclusions about churches in general that he’d come to as a consequence of that. I had this to say on the issue of blind faith:
“…the fear reactions you have encountered in conversations with others speak to me of shaky faith. Deep faith is incompatible with fear. Deep faith can handle tough questions. Deep faith can weather doubt, and indeed come out stronger on the other side. How? Because it has faced many such crises before and seen God’s faithfulness! How can you know how deep your faith is until you have faced your doubts? Hiding from your own doubts and suppressing them is a recipe for eventual disaster. Doubt is the necessary state you must come to if you want to grow beyond your current limitations. I came to faith when I began to doubt my doubts, having given doubt full reign. I don’t know all the answers. I cannot. But I’ve seen enough and learnt enough and experienced enough to take the risk of taking this path. I cannot give you ‘evidence that demands a verdict’. All I can offer is evidence that invites further exploration, to be open to being tested as you test things out. I identify most with churches (read: communities) that respect that.”
4 thoughts on “Should doubts be silenced?”
It’s like you’ve pressed the ‘hobby horse’ button for me – how much can we learn from the relationship that King David had with God!!
Here is a man, described as one with a heart for God (or after God), who expressed desperate longing and doubts as to whether God was even there at all! How tragic it is that we’ve turned people away from the greatest message because we don’t have all the answers.
What’s interesting is that we learn best when we either make mistakes, or find ourselves in a position where we don’t know and WANT to know. If we don’t allow people to get to the point of not knowing, why would they want to learn??
Thanks for posting this.
I feel this is also what A Course in Miracles is saying when He talks about bringing up everything to the light… if you just deny you feel the doubt you never get to look right at it and question it. When you do this over and over again, you begin to realize there is nothing to doubt anymore. But we’ll never get there if we don’t face the doubts and then inquire into them. Thank you, beautiful post.
“Doubt is the necessary state you must come to if you want to grow beyond your current limitations. “- Matt I love this- thank you for this post- I too am saddened by churches that silence doubts!
Boy, I can relate to this post. I think I need to go back and read about David.
Having left work with only 3-weeks of pay in my bank account to pursue the path I’ve been Given, the doubt as the dollars slip away battles with the constant embarrassment I’ve had in the past when I’ve doubted God’s promises, only to end up with egg on my face in the end.
The worst part, I think, about trusting God, is not what may come from His Wisdom in the trial. It is trying to communicate what seems extreme to others. My minister dad will be outraged by my behavior. ‘This is not what God demands of us’ will be the predictable reply. The limits of what conventional religion accepts is a major issue indeed. The last thing the Church wants to face, too often, is God outside of the Church.