I have just finished reading a book written by a well-known author in Christian circles in which he is extremely open about his doubts. He reminds his readers that doubt is common, and processing doubts is all a part of a life of faith. He is getting lots of positive comments because of his honesty.
While I find many problems in the book, and I am not going to be among those who give it positive reviews, I came away from the reading thinking about the fact that Christians often don’t feel they have a safe place in our faith communities to express and then work through their doubts. If that is the case they may go where they know they will not be judged and that may be into relationships or groups where they know unbelief is accepted or even affirmed.
If faith is important, that is usually tragic. In such situations people find their doubts are fed and their faith left to wither. The Apostle Thomas developed his doubt in isolation, and he needed to be back in the faith community to work through his doubt. Jude tells the church: “Be merciful to those who doubt” (Jude 22).
Let’s be honest: there are legitimate reasons we will doubt. When others are honestly trying to process life and their faith is challenged, what they don’t need is judgment or rebuke. They need mercy, love, and patience all in the context of a family of believers. Sooner or later, “they” may be us.