Help for Those Who Doubt

no explanations

You are an Evangelical Christian.

You put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

You’ve been baptized and you are a member in good standing of a Christian church.

For years, everything was fine between you and God.

But now, suddenly, you have questions and doubts.

Maybe something happened in your life to cause you to question your faith.

Maybe you’re having trouble accepting some of the teachings of the Bible.

Maybe you’ve come to see that Christianity is not all it is cracked up to be.

Maybe you have read a book by an author such as Bart Ehrman and now you have questions.

So, now what?

Going to your pastor or a fellow church member won’t help you. They will tell you to pray, trust God, or resist the temptation of Satan. I suspect you have tried all these things and yet you still have doubts.

Christians are taught not to doubt. Just believe. Just have faith. Only in Evangelical Christianity is the natural human experience of doubt considered a bad thing.

Doubt means you have questions. Doubt means something doesn’t make sense to you. Doubt means that the answers of the past no longer answer the questions of the present.

First, it is OK to doubt. Anyone who tells you otherwise has something to hide or has an agenda. Your pastor wants to keep you as a church member and he knows that the exit door of the church swings out on the hinges of doubt. This is why he tells you to trust God, pray, read your Bible, attend church more, and confess any sin in your life. You know these “solutions” will do nothing to assuage your doubt. Why can’t your pastor see this?

Second, the only way to find answers for your doubts is to be willing to read and study. You must be willing to work hard. If you really want to know, the answers can be found.

Third, be honest. I mean completely honest. Don’t lie to yourself.  Be willing to meet the truth in the middle of the road. Engage every bit of new information and weigh it carefully. Don’t move forward until you really understand the new information.

Fourth, you must be willing to follow the path wherever it leads. Are you willing to lose your faith if that is where the path leads? Are you willing to leave the church you are a part of if that is where the path leads?

Fifth, the only person you have to answer to is yourself. This journey of yours is singular. It is a lonely walk that you must take by yourself. No one can guide you, direct you, or tell you which way to go. You alone must chart your course. Remember, the journey is more important than the destination.

Sixth, don’t be in a hurry. Take your time. You have your whole life ahead of you.

Seventh, be careful whom you share your doubts with. Evangelical Christians are known to turn on those who don’t think like they do. They think their God demands conformity and obedience, and as a doubter they will have “doubts” about you.

It doesn’t matter where your journey takes you. Maybe you will stay right where you are, but I doubt it. It is likely that your doubts are telling you something about where you are now. Staying where you are is not an option IF you are really serious about finding answers to your doubts.

Not all people can embrace their doubts. They fear losing their faith. They fear the judgment of God. They fear hell. They fear disappointing their family and friends.  Ask yourself: should fear be a motivator for doing anything?

Here is what I know from my own experience; you will always have doubts. Having questions is how we mature and grow. As we seek answers to the doubts we have, we develop a better understanding of self and the world we live in. Pity the person who never doubts, who never seeks answers to questions. Ignorance is not bliss, and understanding self and the world we live in is key to living a happy, productive life.

I am here to help you, no strings attached, I don’t want your money, life, or soul. I have no desire to convert you to atheism. In fact, I am quite certain that most people will not end up where I am.  It is not about you being like anyone else. It is your life, your journey, and I hope you will walk on in openness and honesty.

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5 Comments

  1. Anne

    So thankful you are back online, Bruce. Your writing and transparency regarding your journey from faith to doubt have been such an encouragement and education as I have walked the same path. With gratitude and warm wishes to you & yours as you meet the challenges of each day, moment by moment.

    Reply
  2. Angiep

    I love this statement: “…the exit door of the church swings out on the hinges of doubt.” So well said!

    Reply
  3. Becky Wiren

    We were on the way out of the church before our beliefs changed. Why? Well, my husband was a new minister…and our denomination is known for being mean to new ministers. Looking back all those years, I believe my husband would have been all right as an all around minister, but he was too sensitive to deal with the mean. The ministers that made it could let the criticism roll off their back. (Now, I’m not talking about deserved criticism over real problems, but the mean kind, picking over nits.

    After that, we moved and attended church still. Because we were converts and not raised in the church, we were badly disappointed and could never get over it. I noticed that those raised in the church could disagree with the church, even leave the church and then come back, all while feeling like they belonged. But we had expected better as converts.

    We attended a church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when living near there, and that was when I emotionally left. Church members were criticizing other Christians (charismatics, I believe) for raising their hands, and then said, “Oh, but they are probably still Christians. Huh? Seriously? I never went back to that church. And while I did attend church a little later, I believe that moment had emotionally divested from me the belief that my former denomination was the closest thing to God.

    Currently, I don’t believe I am a Christian (the Christian Left would disagree I think). Haven’t believed in biblical literacy since I said, “The gay people I know who love each other are doing all the things Christians are supposed to do in a marriage. How can this be wrong when it is so loving.?” Still a theist and a Universalist. My former minister husband is agnostic/atheist: he thinks the antics of Christians in the public (re: politics) is the death of politics and Christianity. My autistic son says he is a Christian, and my younger son says he is a pantheist. We all respect each other and our beliefs. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Brian

    Becky said,
    We all respect each other and our beliefs.

    That sounds like atheism hand in hand with belief, I’d say, and probably quite normal and human in a loving family. Tis a shame that you don’t tithe though. I am certified as a preacher, ordained as a minister of The Church of the Latter Day Dude, and would be pleased to accept your offerings for my ministry. One hundred percent of what you send goes into my holy-service pocket and not one percent is wasted, believe me, believe you me!
    Now, you reach down deep and wait for the holy spirit to move you. I haven’t had breakfast or lunch today at all but don’t let that worry you. God tests the mettle of believers and boy oh boy, I’m feeling the pangs. BTW, wait now, I’m hearing the Spirit… I have just received a message that one of your family members who has recently had a problem is being healed! It was something to do with the stomach area, something that was very worrisome and Becky Wiren, that is all over now! Praise be! (Golly, it is an awful thing to be hungry, isn’t it? ;-))

    Reply
    1. Becky Wiren

      LOL Brian! Boy, I have fibromyalgia, can I get healed of that, please? Now, if you, Brian, really were hungry and needing help I’d help you if possible. 🙂 But the day we stopped tithing was just fine, and I remember wishing we could have all the money we did tithe. It would sure be useful for us now! Oh well, spilt milk.

      I do have to say, Bob insists that if Trump is impeached he will go to a church and shout, “Hallelujah!” Probably one of those fundy churches where they just LOOOOOOVE Donald.

      Reply

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