Why It’s Good to Doubt God

About a year ago, I posted on my old website a lecture I gave at Asuza Pacific University on the role of doubt in the Christian life. Below is a greatly abbreviated version (half the length) of that lecture that cleans up some of the “oral” feel of the original lecture. Based on feedback I’ve received over the past year, I thought reposting it in this form would be of benefit to some.

The Benefit of Doubt

Doubting one’s faith in God is a very tough place to be. Faith in God is what keeps it all together when you are facing one of life’s many challenges things.

Sometimes things happen in our lives—it may be one big catastrophe or a line of smaller things that pile up—and you start having a lot of doubts. At first, when you have those disruptive thoughts, you try to push them to the side, hoping they’ll just go away, before God notices.

They don’t and he doesn’t.

So you feel your faith in God slipping away—and it is unsettling, disorienting, and frightening to watch that happen. You doubt that God cares, that he is listening; you doubt that he is even aware of who you are—that he even exists.

In such a state of doubt about God, you feel like there is clearly something very wrong with you.

“Maybe I’m not smart enough. Maybe I’m a faker. Maybe I haven’t memorized enough Bible verses. Maybe I need to go to church more often.”

Whatever it is, you’re doing something wrong. It’s all your fault.

And so we do the only thing we have been taught to do. We do everything in our power to get out of that state of doubt as quickly as we can. For some, if doubt persists, they live lives of quiet desperation, ashamed or afraid to speak up. Others simply walk away from their faith.

Surely, doubt is the enemy of faith, right?

To have faith means you don’t doubt, right?

Doubt is a spiritually destructive force that tears you away from God, right?

Wrong.

There is a benefit of doubt.

Doubt can do things spiritually that nothing else can do.

Sometimes we think of our faith as a castle—safe, comfortable, familiar. But what if God doesn’t want us to be comfortable and safe? What if comfortable and safe keep God at a distance?

Doubt tears down the castle walls to force us on a journey. It may feel like God is far away or absent when in fact doubt is a gift of God to move us to spiritual maturity.

Doubt is not a sign of weakness but a sign of growth.

Doubting God is painful and frightening because we think we are leaving God behind, but we are only leaving behind the idea of God we like to surround ourselves with—the small God, the God we control, the God who agrees with us.

Doubt forces us to look at who we think God is.

If we’re honest, we all think we’ve God figured out pretty well. We read the Bible and maybe memorize some of it. We go to church a lot. Maybe even lead Bible studies or something.

We’re doing great, and God must certainly be impressed.

It is so very easy to slip into this idea that we have arrived—that we really think we’ve got all the answers and that we almost possess God.

We know what church he goes to, what Bible translation he reads, we know how he votes, we know what movies he watches and books he reads. We know the kinds of people he approves of.

God happens to like all the things we like. We feel like we can speak for God very easily.

All Christians who take their faith seriously sooner or later get caught up in that problem. We begin to think that God really is what we happen to think he is. There is little more worth learning learn about the creator of the cosmos. No need. God is the face in the mirror.

By his mercy, God doesn’t leave us there—and doubt is God’s way of helping that happen.

“I want you to die constantly.” — God

Doubt is experienced as distance from God. But that doesn’t mean that God is dying for us. Doubt signals that we are in the process of dying to ourselves and to our ideas about God.

Jesus talks about that. He says, ”take up your cross” and ,”lose your life so you can find it” (Matt 10:38-39)

Paul talks about being crucified with Christ—“I no longer live, Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20); or “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).

All that talk of dying and being crucified and hidden does not describe a one-time moment of conversion. It describes a required daily mode of Christian living—where you surrender control—all the time.

Dying is a normal mode of Christian existence, and doubting is a common way to get the dying process moving. And when you are in that process, God feels far away—but that is when he may be closer to you than he ever was.

Don’t run away from doubt. Don’t fight it. Don’t think of it as the enemy. Pass through it—patiently… and honestly… and courageously…. When you are in doubt, you are in a period of transformation.

Welcome it as a gift—which is hard to do to if your entire universe is falling down around you. God is teaching you to trust him, not yourself. He means to have all of you, not just the surface, going to church, volunteering part. Not just the part people see, but the part no one sees.

Not even you.

The Dark Side of the Bible

God wants you to doubt? Really? What about John 20:31: “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John seems to be saying, “If you know your Bible, you won’t doubt but believe. So Christian, if you doubt, you just don’t know your Bible well enough. Your faith is weak. Maybe go to one more Bible study that week.”

But think of this from another angle. Jesus himself had his moments where he doubted God and God was very distant from him—God abandoned him—and he knew his Bible very well.

In the garden and on the cross, Jesus said what psalm after psalm says: “God where are you? I don’t see you anywhere. Are you even there? I am giving up all hope.”

That one passage in John doesn’t cover everything. It just means that John wrote his Gospel so people could see how great Jesus was and put their trust in him. It does not imply “henceforth thou shalt be a perfect faith machine and never doubt.”

Also, I don’t expect the New Testament to say, “Doubt is God’s way of making you grow.” The New Testament doesn’t answer every question we might have for all time. It describes the early mission of the church.

The Old Testament is another matter. The Old Testament records Israel long history of day-to-day life with God. And the Old Testament writers aren’t shy about the dark side of their faith.

For example, the Psalms talk about God’s distance. In nearly half of the 150 psalms, something has gone wrong—some barrier has arisen between Israel and faith in God. At times, the psalmist feels abandoned by God and he is holding on by a thread.

One example is Psalm 88. In summary, here is what the psalm says: “God, I have been on my knees to you night after night. I am so troubled, and in so much agony, I might as well be dead. I am absolutely without hope…and you don’t care. All night and all day I call to you—I’m on my knees—but nothing. I am in absolute pain and the only friend I have is darkness.”

Feel free to call this a faith crisis.

Maybe he doesn’t know his Bible well enough. Maybe he needs to go to another Bible study so he can learn you shouldn’t feel this way, let alone talk this way. I mean, what’s wrong with him and his weak faith?

This “abandoned by God” experience is in the Bible because it is valued as part of normal Christian experience. John Calvin said that the Psalms are a “mirror of the soul.” Sometimes the soul looks like Psalm 88. If your soul ever looks like Psalm 88, at least know that you are good company.

Another example is Psalm 73. Basically this is what the psalm is about: “Yeah I know how the system works: God blesses the righteous and punishes the wicked. I’ve read the Bible. I’ve been to Hebrew school. I get it. My problem isn’t that I have forgotten what the Bible says. My problem is that what the Bible says doesn’t work.”

This writer goes on and on about how the Bible says that God is supposed to bless the faithful and punish those who are not. But he looks around him and sees the exact opposite. The wicked and arrogant, they are healthy, strong, they prosper. But he’s doing his best, and—nothing. “I am wasting my time. Why bother? The world makes sense without you. Hey God, if you were there Donald Trump wouldn’t own half of new York City and homeless shelters wouldn’t be struggling for every dollar.”

The dark places of the Bible connect with the dark places of our souls.

I know a lot of people raised in the church who are like the writer of Psalm 73—but they are afraid to talk about it.

They have heard sermons and Bible studies their whole lives where they were taught to think of the world in a certain “Christian” way, and then maybe in high school, maybe in college, they begin to see that it’s more complicated. Then there is a major disconnect between what they had been taught and what they see. Faith is no longer a convincing way of explaining the world, and so they leave it.

When you feel like that, realize that you are right where so many of the writers of the Psalms are—not to mention Ecclesiastes and Job.

Your period of doubt has value—to move you further on in the journey, even when you feel like you’ve left the path altogether

Doubt gets you moving.

Listen to Some Deep People

Embrace the doubt. Call it your friend. God is leading you on a journey.

Spiritual masters of the Christian church caught on to this long ago. It is not a part of the contemporary Protestant scene as much (with exceptions, of course), which is a shame.

Many (especially Protestant) Christians tend to intellectualize the faith—we live in our heads. Our faith tends to rest in what we know, what we can articulate, what we can defend, how we think. We tend to place “thinking” over “being” rather than the other way around.

That is why doubt for people like us is the great enemy. We spend a lot of effort in removing doubt. Our world is flooded with books and apologetics organizations whose job it is to give the answers quickly and easily—no struggle, no doubt—all this Jesus stuff, piece of cake.

That attitude robs us of a spiritual experience that you can’t avoid anyway and that wiser Christians, since almost the beginning of Christianity, have told us is vital for the Christian life.

This experience of deep doubt is sometimes referred to as the “dark night of the soul.” That expression has come to us through the writings of two sixteenth century Spanish Catholic mystics: John of the Cross and his mentor Teresa of Avila.

Many people have spent their lives thinking about what these and other mystics wrote concerning their experiences of God. I am not one of them, but I am learning. Let me boil down what they are saying.

The “dark night” is a sense of painful alienation and distance from God that causes distress, anxiety, discouragement, despair, and depression. All Christians experience this sooner or later—some more intensely than others, some for longer times than others. But the feeling is the same: they lose their sense of closeness to God and conclude that they no longer have faith. And so they despair even more.

St. John’s great insight is that this dark night is a special sign of God’s presence. Our false god is being stripped away, and we are left empty before God—with none of the familiar ideas of God that we create to prop us up.

The dark night takes away the background noise we have created in our lives in order to prepare us to hear God’s voice later on—in time, when God deems we are ready.

When the dark night comes upon us, we are asked simply to surrender to God and trust him anyway. The reason St. John calls this a dark night is very important: it is because you have no control over what is happening. That is a very important piece in all of this, because people want to control.

Imagine, like the Chilean miners, being all alone in a deep dark cave, miles down, with absolutely not a single ray of light—utterly pitch black. You have no idea where you are or how to get out. All you know is that you are helpless. You try to find your way, you grope, but nothing. You start walking slowly at first, and then you realize that wherever you are, it is big, dark, flat, and you can’t do anything about it.

You are out of control. The point of the dark night has done its job.

Listen to Another Really Deep Person

In 1975, the Jesuit philosopher, John Kavanaugh, went to work for three months at the “house of the dying” in Calcutta with Mother Teresa.

He was searching for an answer to some spiritual stuggles. On his very first morning there, he met Mother Teresa. She asked him, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she asked.

He answered with the request that was the very reason he traveled thousands of miles to India: “Pray that I have clarity.” Mother Teresa said firmly, “No. I will not do that.”

When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”

When Kavanaugh said, “You always seem to have clarity,” Mother Teresa laughed and said, “I have never had clarity. What I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

The point of the dark helpless place is to strip us of absolutely everything so that only surrender and trust remain. That is the daily and severe Christian calling

Are you one of those people who wonders why you can’t just be a happy Christian like your roommate or that lady in church? Listen to Mother Teresa. Apparently, she was in her dark night from 1948 until near the time of her death in 1997, with perhaps some interludes in-between.

You know all that great things she did? Don’t think her dark night wasn’t somehow connected to how she spent her life. You might even say that “spiritual greatness” and the dark night go hand in hand—you must pass through the one to get to the other. She learned trust—not certainty—trust in God. And all of that poured out to the people around her.

We’ve heard this many times: “Let go and let God.” It’s true—but “letting go” might be more than we bargained for. We must be taught, for we will not willingly go there ourselves.

When we are not letting go, when we try to stay in control of something, cling to something as Mother Teresa says, that’s when God turns off the light and makes it dark—not because he is against us, but because he is for us.

Being out of control is another way of saying “dying to yourself.” When we are out of control, that is when God can speak to us—without all of the layers of stuff we have piled up inside of us. God puts us out of our control so that we can learn to trust—like Mother Teresa said—not “believe” or “have faith” but something deeper and harder:

Trust.

You can only trust when you have let go completely, when you don’t try to control. When we learn to trust God out of our emptiness,

  • when God is out of our control,
  • when God becomes God more deeply in us,
  • when we surrender and trust,

we become liberated from our attachments, from our fears, and we learn to live with freedom and joy.

That is the Christian journey.

We see this even in our relationships with each other. You cannot have a truly growing, intimate relationship with another if one person is trying to control the other. That destroys true intimacy.

If we are trying to control God, what do you think he is going to do? Rather than leave the relationship entirely he may initiate a period of separation, a period of absence, a period of darkness—so that we can learn that in this relationship we have to surrender, we have to let go of control.

One cannot have contentment in the Christian life without the darkness. Dying is the only path to resurrection, and that is the only way of knowing God. There is no shortcut. Jesus himself is our model for this.

I think that is the heart of Paul’s mysterious words in Phil 3:10. Knowing Christ means experiencing both the power of his resurrection and participating in his sufferings, being made like him in his death. Death and life. Both are part of the Gospel life. It’s a package deal

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When your faith has no room for doubt, then you are just left with—religion, something that takes its place in your life among other things—like a job and a hobby, something soft and comfortable.

Doubt is God’s way of helping you not go there.

 

  • Rachel Vendsel

    Thank you very much for sharing this article, Pete. You articulated what I have been feeling out by instinct in my counseling practice. I love how you explain the benefits and even the gift of doubt. I think these thoughts could contribute significantly to the way we think about the broader concept of suffering. You said:

    “Many (especially Protestant) Christians tend to intellectualize the faith—we live in our heads. Our faith tends to rest in what we know, what we can articulate, what we can defend, how we think. We tend to place “thinking” over “being” rather than the other way around.

    That is why doubt for people like us is the great enemy. We spend a lot of effort in removing doubt. Our world is flooded with books and apologetics organizations whose job it is to give the answers quickly and easily—no struggle, no doubt—all this Jesus stuff, piece of cake.”

    I think it’s also true that we tend to sentimentalize our faith, and we spend a lot of effort in removing pain and suffering, in pursuing comfortable lives. So when we encounter true pain, we feel similarly lost. But the pain — if we have the courage to stay in it and not run from it — can be an equally powerful gift from God.

    At any rate, thanks for sharing your thoughts, they are very helpful. I will be using them in my counseling work.

    • peteenns

      Thanks, Rachel. This is all one of the mysteries of the faith, and of life, I think, not adequately addressed in some sectors of Christianity.

  • Rachel Vendsel

    p.s. In my experience, a person who is experiencing doubt/pain/loss is usually not ready or able to hear that their current experience is a gift. For helpers and counselors, it is better to just sit with the person in their questions and pain, incarnating the love of Christ without words or answers. Patiently. The “dark night of the soul” may be a dark year of the soul. Or years. And that’s ok.

    Sometimes the Psalmists wrestle with their pain in a Godward direction but not always and that’s ok, too. Ps. 88 doesn’t say, “Darkness is my closest companion, but then I realized that really God is with me.” Darkness is my closest companion, period. Maybe God put those words there to teach us that the darkness really must be utter and complete for it to do its work.

    • peteenns

      I agree.

    • JenG

      I hear you completely. I’ve been in a “dark night” for dark years – but when I found this article (old version) earlier this year, I cried because I felt hope for the first time that maybe all this doubt wasn’t a sign that God moving away, but actually moving closer. That maybe doubt was a sign that I was on the right path, not the wrong one. And that maybe one day I’d see some light at the end of this long, long tunnel.

  • JenG

    Thanks for re-posting this – I’d stumbled on the original post earlier this year and it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. I’m sure that will be the case again for others reading it today!

    • peteenns

      Thanks, Jen. I reposted because the older version was over 5000 words and had too much of a repetitive oral vibe (I super repeat myself when I speak). I think this gets to the point more quickly. I appreciate your comments!

  • C. Ehrlich

    It might be helpful to try to clarify the bigger picture here–to specify when doubt is actually bad (as when threatens to damn one’s soul), and to say how to distinguish good doubt from bad doubt. What mistake is the atheist making in regarding her own doubt as good and healthy? What of the Christian whose doubt seems to be leading her towards atheism?

    I wonder if it’s a mistake to talk of doubt so generally, without specifying its particular objects. Doubting the existence of God, or the truth of the Christian faith, is often a different experience than simply doubting some more particular idea about God. “Doubting one’s faith in God” is often very different still.

    • Dan

      I agree with this. At times, I think it may be necessary to posit that there are possible explanations, even if they can’t be articulated at this point in time; that the cross is there, and that’s what matters (and to clarify, I’m not speaking from a counseling perspective like Elena).

      As for this post by Dr. Enns, thank you for posting this. I’ve been in my own dark period recently and it was comforting.

      • peteenns

        This is such a common experience, Dan. The only question I have is why it is so hard to admit this or talk about it. That may be a problem of our contemporary expressions of Christianity–with a little western “success” narrative thrown in. Who knows.

    • peteenns

      Cannot even doubt in God’s existence be the very thing some people need, because the God they have in mind is a not God but simply a mirror of themselves?

      • C. Ehrlich

        It is true people that can doubt the existence of God while having a substandard conception of God. It is plausible that such doubt could lead to a better outcome. However, instead of doubting the existence of God in such a case, it would presumably be better to simply reconsider one’s conception of God. So, relative to this obvious alternative, doubting God’s existence is presumably bad. Doubting God’s existence is not something that anyone so situated plausibly needs.

        • peteenns

          My feeling is that it is very hard for people to have that self-awareness of their private mini-me god until they are in the throes of some deep pain.

        • Laura Johnson

          Having just come through a bit of a faith crisis myself, where I even doubted the very existence of God, I will say that it is better to “Pass through it—patiently… and honestly… and courageously” than to suppress it and ignore it. If I believed that God COULDN’T handle my intellectual honesty and my genuine questions, it would only have undermined my faith. I might have maintained a facade of certainty, but certainty isn’t what I’m going for. I’m going for an honest relationship with the creator of the universe… He already knows my doubts. I may as well wrestle it out with Him honestly and pray He brings me through. And He has. It’s not that I even have a fresh mental certainty… I don’t. I have a fresh surrender, and fresh trust… and a fresh ok-ness with being in the dark.

          • peteenns

            Thanks for sharing this, Laura. As you know, you are not alone.

  • http://www.atheistamongthem.com atat

    I enjoyed this article, and found it very appropriate to my current transition in life…I have one question surface as I read however.

    How do you know the difference between god guiding you to trust him through a period of doubt (as you summarize), and simply no god at all?

    • peteenns

      You don’t know.

      • http://jbyas.com Jared Byas

        And thus we have the birth of faith…

      • http://www.atheistamongthem.com atat

        …I was hoping you would have an answer that is different from the one I came up with on my own :-)

        Perhaps you are intentionally being brief so as to lead me to a more obvious follow-up question, so I’ll bite…

        If we “don’t know”, what is it that leads us to choose one choice over the other? I know most ‘believers’ would say faith…but then then why faith in one and not the other? Since we are all so accustomed to making what is a “more probable” choice, should I assume that by choosing the least likely of the two I have more faith, thereby enabling me to have more trust? How long should we “suspend our (dis)belief” in the name of trust before we consider we may in fact be wrong about the issue?

        I’m not expecting to answer this question any time soon, I know it will be different for everyone…just sharing the dilemma I currently see with the situation your article describes. I am happy you have started blogging, I am/have been a fan of your writing & work. Looking forward to see more of your influence in the current state of Christianity and it’s homeschooling community as well.

        • peteenns

          “If we “don’t know”, what is it that leads us to choose one choice over the other?”

          I don’t know.

  • Don Johnson

    I think Voltaire wrote something like “God created man in His image, and man has been trying to return the favor ever since.”

    One’s faith can be an idol and God is in the idol smashing business. It can be an idol when one adds things that are not God to God or subtracts things from God. In the USA, there is a so-called prosperity “gospel”, where God wants to make us rich! This is a very obvious idol, where God and mammon merge; but there are also other idolatrous images of “God”.

  • Curt

    If it is good to doubt god then why is it bad to not believe in him?

    • peteenns

      I am speaking of doubt as part of the Christian journey, an experience that is, I would say, universal among Christians working their way through the ups and downs of life. I am speaking to how one can negotiate those periods of doubt and darkness when they inevitably come.

    • Milo Coladonato

      To answer your question, it isn’t bad not to believe in God. We have been inculcated to believe by our institutions and families that you must believe in God or there is something wrong with you. This expectation has put upon us a very serious psychological burden. There are many people like myself who have worked very hard to believe and have faith only to realize that it isn’t there in the first place. I do not feel the least bit empty or inadequate because or it. It was in was in the throws of faith that caused some of the problems I no longer have. I noticed that no one answered your question so I thought I would add my comment, whatever it is worth. Thanks for asking the question Curt.

  • Tony M

    Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing this. It has been very helpful to me.

  • http://achorusofehoes.wordpress.com Jonathan

    I’ve been through journey’s where i’ve gone through doubt and like what you said, we all try to get out of it as fast as possible. Going that route is worse still from my point of view. At this point in my life, i’m going through some major shifts and sometimes i feel like im slipping in and out of believing and doubting. Ecclesiastes has given me a breath of fresh air and im looking forward to reading your commentary on that. But what I valued most here is what you mentioned about dying to a safe view of God to one that we can’t really tame. Thanks for this post, I’m glad I read this. Give me perspective through this tough time.

    • peteenns

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey, Jonathan.

  • Phil Taylor

    Thanks for the article. Very helpful and encouraging to me.

    • peteenns

      Thanks, Phil.

  • Dinah

    this is one of the most brilliant articles I have read on this subject (in current writing) …. and it so needed to be said.
    from my own experience, the “dark night” comes not just from doubt but also from suffering and depression (e.g. Job) ….. I suffer from depression, and thought I have never doubted the existence of God, yet I have cried out “why have you abandoned me?” …… and received no answer for a long, long time.
    Another example I think is Billy Graham’s crisis of faith …. when he had no answers but trusted God anyway.
    thank you for this

    • peteenns

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dinah.

  • EricG

    The original version of this came out when I was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, and was very helpful to both me and my wife. I also like Rachel’s comments above.

  • http://mikeblyth.blogspot.com Mike Blyth

    But isn’t doubt in this sense of uncertainty or disbelief something that is generally seen negatively in the Bible? If so, how can we feel assured that it is somehow normal or what God is doing in us rather than a failure on our part?

    • peteenns

      Mike, in places yes, but the Bible speaks diversely on this–which is a good thing, as it reflects different moods and seasons in our lives. Did you read the post? I touch on doubt in the Bible a bit.

      • http://mikeblyth.blogspot.com Mike Blyth

        Oh, yes, I certainly read the post! I realize there are many instances of doubt in the Bible, though I think it may be a stretch to say that Jesus doubted God’s presence and very existence. That’s not inconsistent with the record, but I don’t think it’s required, at least if God did actually abandon Jesus in some sense during the crucifixion. He clearly struggled in the garden, but we’re not given details of the process, but it’s not apparent that he doubted God himself at that point. But we don’t need to debate that point because it is only one instance among many.

        I’m not trying to split hairs or argue that doubt is always bad. I’m really trying to see how this all works, remembering that not everything godly people experienced was necessarily normative or good. It’s clear that David and Job struggled with the goodness of God and the reason for their suffering. While their suffering was part of God’s plan, and while we know that it strengthens and purifies us, was their doubt itself the right response? If not “right,” then was is perhaps an inevitable stage?

        I would be the last one to say that a godly person never doubts or struggles with God. At the same time, there are so many exhortations to have faith, to believe and trust, and so many warnings against doubt and disbelief, that it is hard not to see it as dangerous. I’m more comfortable acknowledging my doubt as a weakness (“I believe, help my unbelief,” or even “I don’t believe, help my unbelief”) than seeing it as inevitable or appropriate. Do you think seeing it as a weakness is wrong?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407154369 Tolis

      . People will folllow [and be gudeid by] spiritual leaders who understand God’s agenda and who know how to help to move them onto it. As my former Divisional leaders, you both demonstrated grace, and visionally leadership which revealed God’s purposes God’s way .It is a joy to welcome you to your new roles, confident that you will build further enlarge and further strenthen our Triune God’s kingdom!!! With my warmest regards God Bless you both! LynnJ

  • http://citypilgrims.blogspot.com will pareja

    Pete:
    First, thanks for your article. I’ve been recently stretched and benefited from some of your writings.
    Second, this (providential) re-posting of your original article comes during a time in my life in which that “line of smaller things is piling up” and tickling those chords of my heart to doubt the goodness of our Father. Again, I am served by your thoughts.
    Third, here are some random beefs or questions…

    “Faith is no longer a convincing way of explaining the world, and so they leave it.”
    Is it God’s “fault” if someone leaves THE faith or if there is a lapse in THEIR faith?

    “Your period of doubt has value—to move you further on in the journey, even when you feel like you’ve left the path altogether.”
    At some point, a person must reckon with the hope of the gospel in light of their sin and doubt. I completely agree that “doubt has value to move you further on in the journey” but the key phrase is “further on”. That is what St. James elucidates: testing (w/ all its doubt and pain) produces endurance which keep you furthering on. However, I don’t see how doubt carried “value” for the wilderness generation in Numbers.

    Also, it is helpful to distinguish (pastorally, at least) between faith as ONE’S exercise of trust and THE faith (once for all delivered to the saints, Jude 3).

    “…doubt is a gift of God to move us to spiritual maturity”- I think this needs some clarifying. What is doubt? Is doubt neutral or innocent? By doubt (as being a gift of God), do you mean trials/testings? Is doubt a subset or an assumption in our trials? If so, I agree w/ your statement for that coheres with some of the epistolary material. I gather that the intent of your address/article is meant to clarify the place of doubt in Christian experience since many get hung up on their doubt. However, in that attempt, it seems (to me) that you might have exalted the place of doubt in Christian experience. Maybe that is in part b/c I’m preparing to speak on James 1: “for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is drive and tossed by the wind” leading to(???)… double-mindedness and instability.
    Thank you, sir, for considering these thoughts.
    Will

    • peteenns

      Will, I appreciate your thoughts and questions. Think of it this way. The questions you ask are all “Yeah but how do I know” questions, which are questions that can only be resolved in the process of working through one’s own struggle. That is not an evasive answer but, I feel, the key to the whole matter. Also, as I think I mentioned in my post, I do not expect the NT to cover every exigency re: the spiritual journey.

  • http://www.godlovesteenagers.com Steve Austin

    Peter, thanks so much for this Truth!

    This is truly one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the subject, and I appreciate the fact that you didn’t sugar coat this aspect of Christianity.

    I’ve copied the intro and put a link to this article on my website. It will be a great challenge for them to read this!

    Sincerely,
    Steve Austin

    • peteenns

      Thanks, Steve. As a father of a 24, 21, and 18 year old, I know that teenagers don’t tolerate inauthenticity.

  • Brad

    This is the MOST.. and I mean MOST powerful form of encouragement I have ever seen.. I am literally crying right now and I really don’t know why.. I have these experiences every now and then. I have been struggling with reading the Bible and I feel like the stereotypical Christian lifestyle is something very different from what Jesus Christ has to offer, I have felt like I have been in the dark and I want to get in touch with something greater. If you could offer me some advice in which direction I should head from here please do so, I am having trouble letting go and I need help. I truly do.. Thank you so much. God Bless You.

    • peteenns

      Thanks for your comment, Brad. What a journey you are on! I know what you mean when you say “advice” but in a sense, this whole dark time is a process where advice is not always helpful. It also is important to have a community that respects your journey and will walk with you because they have walked (are walking) that road, too.

  • Tesia

    Thank you so much for this. I haven’t had hope in a long time.

  • http://writtenstraw.wordpress.com Erica Bonnell

    Thanks for the comment on my post regarding doubt and faith. I appreciate the link to your own site, which I will check back from time to time for insight and inspiration.

  • Mary

    I figured out a long time ago that if you don’t question your faith, it is not yours to begin with. In other words faith should not be based on what someone else tells you to believe. It should be solely based on your connection to the Divine.

    • cher

      Actually, God has given us Scripture to tell us what to believe. So I don’t think it is based on our own reasoning but on God’s. We are fallible, small, weak and lame; we need Jesus as our Rock, not ourselves. We can depend on ourselves as much as we can depend on ants not to take over our picnic. But I do agree with you that questioning our own faith can be a door through which God leads us to strong trust in Him.

  • Mary

    I love your example of Mother Theresa. I read once about something she said in regards to her work with the poor, that she “saw Jesus in all of his distressing disguises”. It sounds to me like she knew more than she let on.

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  • Marci

    This is a great post ! And it helps me tremendously feel validated for not being afraid of doubts or serious questions about my faith. I am definitely in a crisis of Faith. I have decided to tear down the house of cards I had built and am going to rebuild starting with a new foundation. I have a foundational question I have not gotten any help on and was wondering if anyone had help here it is:
    Foundational Question : Did God perform the miracle of preserving his word?
     The Christian God of the bible has a message to convey to us- His creation.  This message is so unimaginatively important because it has to do with how to live life on this earth, and the afterlife. It has to do with whether or not we will spend eternity in heaven or hell. If we don’t follow the instructions properly or don’t obey it’s commands/demands we can end up tormented in hell for eternity. 
    God could have chosen to reveal this important message in a way that is irrefutable, like permanently supernaturally etched in a mountain side guarded by his mighty angels for all to see and understand. Or he could peel back the curtain of the heavens and reveal himself and speak to us so all would know him to be real and true. He could visit every individual so they would be clear-generation after generation would have no confusion.
     But he doesn’t do this. And yet we are supposed to stake our “whole lives” and bet  our “afterlives” on an unpreserved, highly debated, confusing, edited and re- edited bible written by men.
     Why didn’t he convey this important message to humanity in a more clearly evident, straight forward, unfading , and changeless way?
     Why did he chose to use unpreservable text, word of mouth accounts and thousands of years later this is all we have to rely on as evidence?–Copies of copies of translations of other languages. God has an important message for mankind and chooses to only reveal it to certain individuals who write it down and we have to rely on copies of copies by anonymous authors with no originals.
     If God is all- knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, all-good, perfect, eternal and unchanging–it seems as if He did a bad job of making His message reliable and believable. It seems as if He doesn’t really care enough to make this a SOLID truth. But, as Christians we are asked to base our spiritual lives on this. We have to have a lot of faith to believe this. It seems as if God requires faith instead of evidence. I care whether or not my beliefs are true AND justified ! Is faith the only pathway to truth ? Is it faith ? Or reason? If it’s faith- most religions use faith, then are they  all true? It seems our faith/ beliefs are based on feelings and emotion, not evidence. Is faith the excuse we give when we don’t have evidence ? This is all very confusing. If God wanted to achieve his goal of spreading his truth, why isn’t it presented in a more plain, obvious and permanent way? It would end the division and strife among the different churches and denominations !
     Why did the creator of the universe, designer of our complex bodies, the galaxies, our brains, decide to communicate this “all important” information in an unpreservable way ? And yet still asks us to believe it.
     Seems not very “supernatural” nor “miraculous”.

  • Gotnostrings

    I would love to see more direct responses to some of the posters who felt your article was putting doubt in a different (favorable) light than the Bible does. Pete, I understand the dark night and that many Christians experience it as a prerequisite to true mature faith, however, is doubt an appropriate response to this season of our walk with the Lord? or are we to wrestle
    And war against doubt? I don’t think doubt makes us abnormal Christians but I’m not sure if viewing it as an aid in our journey is healthy. The Bible says it leads to instability..and yes, reading the Word does help. Everything we are asked to physically DO is not religious legalism. The Bible says ‘faith cometh by hearing the word of God’. So could reading the Word more often actually help us overcome doubt, like the Bible
    Says it does? I did experience comfort from your article but I’m not sure it’s the full story, that’s all. I appreciate your thoughts. Now, let us reason…

    • cher

      Although no, we should not doubt, it is inevitable that we do , and I think the author is addressing this issue and calling it what it is. I think you have some good points but I think the author does too. I do believe that doubt can be helpful because like the author says it helps to tear down the god we’ve built and realize the TRUE God for who He really is, despite our knowledge or memorization of Scripture. We know what the bible says, but really knowing is altogether a different animal.

      • Dorian Moises Mattar

        So you admit that the bible is a LIE and that what “really” is, is a different animal altogether?

        Welcome to the real world. Now take the last step and stand on your own to feet.

        If you loose a job, study and get another. If you get sick go to a doctor.

        Praying does NOTHING because this invisible god in the sky doesn’t exist. This is evidenced by the fact that he never answers those who REALLY need him.

        Ask any military amputee, if God has grown their limbs back.

        NOT ONE.

        • Grace

          I’m sorry you feel this way. But you can’t get your answers by mocking somebody’s beliefs. There’s answers to your questions but why answer them if you believe in your heart that there is no God?
          This convo will go on and on but only end up where we started and all you would do is ridicule every answer I refute. Which I’d prefer not to get into since respect is lacking. God bless you bro and I hope you find peace in things that you do.

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            Who has disrespect anyone? Did I call you names?

            I only stated the facts and asked a simple question.

            If you had the answer, you would have provided it.

            Lastly, you seem to hate when people either mock you or make you feel uncomfortable.

            I wonder what you think about all the religious people accusing atheists of being devils, gays being an abomination and everyone else that doesn’t believe as someone who is going to hell?

            It’s just so funny to see how easily you guys get offended while you hypocritically put everyone else down as if you knew what you actually believed in, which obviously, you don’t.

            You rather live a lie, then go right ahead. Just stop pushing this lie to everyone else including children.

            Peace

          • Grace

            Christians are merely humans too, we make mistakes, we may offend, be offended, be defensive etc. as human beings our natural instinct is to protect ourselves.
            You don’t have to call anyone names by being disrespectful. What I am stating is, for you to understand where anyone is coming from, you have to have a mutual respect for people. I didn’t answer your questions because you seemed very combative about the matter, is this a personal issue with Christians or God?
            And thank you, so you know exactly where we are coming from when it comes to also being ridiculed right along with gays, atheists, etc. But unlike them we are murdered, publically and/or privately because of spreading the love of Christ. You touched up on being fair earlier. Is this fair? Killing people because of their beliefs? But then again, what is fair? We have now established that this is a human trait, regardless of your beliefs. We have created war for ourselves.
            Yes, you are ABSOLUTELY right! We ARE hypocrites, anyone that believes otherwise is lying to themselves. That is a human trait as well.
            And yes, God has never and will never coerce you to believe in Him. You mentioned that He has given us only 2 choices to go to heaven or hell, believe or not believe. Not much choice right? Would you believe me if I said that there was never the latter to begin with? That only heaven was presented to us initially? Hell was never Gods desire for any humans that’s including YOU and me! Would you believe me if I said, we chose the path of hell to begin with? We have let sin enter into our own hearts and desires. This world is now an “I” world where everyone looks out for their own beneficial gain, me included, I am by no means an exemption. What did God do to change that? I’m sure you’ve heard: John 3:16

            “For God so LOVED that world that He gave up His one and ONLY son so that who ever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

            let’s continue on to the 17th verse:

            “For God did NOT send His son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

            Please ask anymore questions if you have more…God bless you! :)

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            Can you elaborate on murdered?

            If I recall correctly this country is 75% christian, it posts anti guy signs on roads along with “your going to hell” if you don’t believe. It is Christians that have LAWS in certain states, against Atheist candidates, and I could go on.

            Christians are the least prosecuted individuals in this country. Perhaps you live in another country?

            and if I may ask, why do you need to spread the “love of Christ”? Isn’t he omnipotent? You would think that an omnipotent god can run his own campaigns, not that he would need to since all he would have to do is actually visit his “children”, instead of abandoning them.

            But I guess he is used to that, since he kicked Adam and Even after the very FIRST mistake they ever made, while being thrown in a “garden” with a wicked individual many times smarter than them.

            So now we know were this unfairness comes from.

            It comes straight from the top.

            But with regards to wars, Christians and Muslims almost ended human civilization trying to prove who’s god is the real one.

            Mind you, not ONE of any of the soldiers, Kings and Queens EVER set eyes on any of these gods.

            It’s not that you are hypocrites, it’s that religion is a decease that deprives humans of actual thought, which in turn makes them into gullible subjects that are easily manipulated into doing anything.

            Education is key and even there, Christians are constantly trying to push their agenda on everyone else.

            Creationist and Intelligent Design anyone?

            Seriously!

          • Grace

            My question to you is, how did we, humans, come about? How were we created?

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            Study biology and you will know.

            If you are asking from an ignorant point of view and simply asking because you can’t understand how it can happen without a god, then you must answer my question.

            Where did god come from.

            Now remember, you must answer the question in the SAME amount of detail that you would expect from a reputable science document.

            In other words, simply stating God has always been without supporting documentation, will get you to the same place as if I answered you, we have always been and not provide you with any documentation.

            This is simply because ANYONE or ANY book can state ANYTHING they want, BUT for it to be accepted as TRUE, it must provide TESTABLE and PREDICTABLE evidence.

            So in answer to your question, humans evolved from lower other species all the way back to a common ancestor 3.5 billion years ago.

            Before that, we ESTIMATE based on CALCULATIONS – NOT SOME OLD BOOK SAYING SO – that life started about 10 BILLION years ago somewhere in space and crashed into our planet multiple times until our planet was cool enough for life to exist. This SIMPLE organisms – like a virus or bacteria simply replicated and lived as Cyanobacteria for millions of years. They produced oxygen until there was enough for other types of Bacteria to emerge.

            From there many forces including, random mutation – like your DNA which is a MUTATION of both your parent’s DNA – environment, and an increase in COMPLEXITY by the bacteria produced ever more complex organisms.

            If you want the truth, you need to EDUCATE yourself on the subject.

            At this point, you are debating a topic of the 20th century with a the scribbles of ignorant shepherds of ancient humanity.

            What is interesting, is that you choose to believe the ancient book, then the OBSERVED and PROVEN facts generated by the best minds on the planet in the 21st century.

            Don’t you find that a bit odd?

          • Grace

            You’ve already answered, but I asked because I was curious what your beliefs were. I’m well educated in the matter and am very confident about where I came from. I’m just trying to understand where you’re coming from.
            If then it is so that we originated billions of years ago, how then did these people find out about it? Were they there? Isn’t it that who ever tested it, experimented, had to have documented it for further studies?

            Isn’t it so that they would’ve had to have read it from somewhere in order to get more “facts” about where we originated from? And where did you come to find out about this? Did you meet them? Were you one of them? Or did you read it somewhere? If you read it somewhere, then aren’t we the same regarding our knowledge? We read in books? Testing what is true and right?

            If we originated from other species that originated in space, that apparently had enough intelligence to wait until earth was “warm enough” for us to land on. Then where do you suppose our intelligence came from? How about our emotions? Our ability to love or hate? What is our purpose here on earth? Do we even have one? Does this life we live even matter, if we just came from nothing? Do we then not have a soul? If so where does it go? If it does go anywhere, who created that place? Is it back in space?

            Wow, that was tiring just asking it….
            All I’m saying is, it takes more work and faith to not believe in God than it is to believe we were made in His image. That he brought His son to live as men, endure our pain, so that there is no one. not one, that can say, “he doesn’t know how I feel”. To later on be atonement for our sins, a debt that we could never repay because of our sinful nature. That to me Dorian, makes more sense. That to me is love. It’s an unmerited favor. You never asked for it, just like when you fall in love, that person never asked for your love and the things you do to show your love for them.

          • Grace

            And I’ll quote from Martin Luther
            “Mighty potentates have raged against this book, and sought to destroy and uproot it—Alexander the Great and princes of Egypt and Babylon, the monarchs of Persia, of Greece and of Rome, the Emperors Julius and Augustus—but they prevailed nothing.

            They are gone while the book remains, and it will remain forever and ever, perfect and entire as it was declared at first. Who has thus helped it—who has protected it against such mighty forces? No one, surely, but God Himself, who is master of all things. “

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            That’s pretty funny. I guess the Muslims might say the same about their book.

            It proves NOTHING.

            Again, you choose to follow a book with talking snakes instead of the proven FACTS.

            and Mr. Luther King was NOT a scientist. A good person, YES, a knowledgable person in the field? NO.

            Might as well ask a plumber how to treat a shot victim in an ER room or ask a doctor how to weld a copper pipe.

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            May I ask where you got your education in the matter?

            I ask because your questions are quite strange coming from someone who says they are educated in the matter.

            Do we need to be at the scene of a crime to determine that there was a murder? Do we need to be there to find the criminal? I really don’t understand your point.

            EVERY SINGLE piece of evidence is available for ANYONE to test it. All evidence is documented and tested by multiple labs around the world. Evolution has been trying to be disproved by everyone for the last 150 years.

            Again I’m in shock of the silliness of your questions.

            Where you there when your great-great grandma was born? How do you know she existed or was actually born? Seriously!

            Do you actually think that science is that childish? Look around you and witness what science has achieved! We are dealing with a mechanism that is SELF HEALING. If there is an error, it WILL be found and FIXED.

            We can determine the bio composition of planets billions of light years away! We understand Quantum Mechanics, we can manipulate atoms at will. We have space stations, satellites, telescopes and the like flying around in space at over 25 THOUSAND miles an hour.

            What is that you think you are dealing with here, kids?

            I see science and I see results! I see religion and I see chaos and destruction.

            You dare compare an accent book full of stories of humans living in fish, talking snakes and global floods with true and test science books? LMAO You have to be kidding me!

            I did NOT say other species! I said BACTERIA that lived in rocks flying around in space, those rocks crashed and the bacteria was able to survive once earth was cool enough. I’m sure many asteroids crashed into earth BEFORE that, but the bacteria could NOT survive then. Do you understand?

            Your questions are irrelevant to reality. Wether you LIKE to think that there is meaning or not has nothing to do with reality. Your question is kin to a dying child asking why, after it has been suffering of cancer and is about to die. There is NO REASON, it just happens.

            Or does your god love to see children dying of cancer?

            Now that was tiring lol

            It doesn’t take faith to believe in evolution, it takes evidence that apparently you just won’t accept no matter how real and PROVABLE it is.

            We can PROVE evolution with FACTS, you simply state that your god is this or that, but can’t prove ONE SINGLE thing about it.

            He is omnipotent, then PROVE it!

            You say he is real? Then tell him to show up!

            Does he? NO. Hum, I wonder why.

            Made in his image? Seriously, does your god look like a chimp?

            Because humans have 95% IDENTICAL DNA of a chimp!

            Do you have teeth like a chimp? Do you have eyes? Do you have hair? Hunt, Kill, Eat, Care for your kin, LOVE, FEEL, CRY, FEAR & fight?

            You are IDENTICAL to a chimp, but you WON”T accept it!

            EVERY BONE in your bony is matched to that of a chimp!

            Apparently you don’t know what “In the image” of something means.

            For some unfathomable reason, you rather be descendant of SIN, instead of being the culmination of BILLIONS of years of evolutionary processes.

            I don’t quite understand your train of thought, but it is a mess made up of nothing else other than conspiracy theories, ill preconceived ideology and just plain ignorance on the subjects to which you believe you actually know something about.

            Again, please tell me where it was that you got your education.

            Again you bring up Sin, and the silly story of your jesus dying for us, which he obviously didn’t as he is supposed to be alive. He supposedly suffered for three days and I’m supposed to be moved? LMAO What a childish thing to believe.

            MANY humans have suffered an unmeasurably more than your Jesus supposedly did and I don’t see you calling them gods. People have lived in jails all their lives while being innocent! They have been prisoners of war for YEARS! They agonize without legs, are born with their hears outside their bodies, are born to cancer, go thru Chemo, ALL KINDS OF THING that are MUCH worse than what your little Jesus supposedly when thru! So give me a break if I don’t shed a SINGLE tear for him. HE doesn’t deserve it!

            I didn’t ask for your god to do what he supposedly did, because i would NEVER ask such a thing form ANYONE. I would NEVER have someone be killed in MY NAME! Do you understand that! It is a cowardly thing to ask! Do you read me?

            The alleged sacrifice and I call it that because that is all it is, an ancient pagan ritual transposed to a human, as a sacrifice for your atonement, which is nothing more than an irresposible abomination.

            That is not love or intelligence, true love would be for your god to get his ass over here and stop the pain! That would be LOVE.

            Love is forgiving without all the absurd sacrifices and blame that you constantly accept. Hey maybe you have been in jail or really hurt someone, I don’t know! But this is NOT normal, this is SELF DESTRUCTIVE behavior and you should get help for it.

            How can you call your god loving when he threw his children out of heaven after ONE! mistake!

            Is that what you do to your children?

            Do you put them in a room with a psychopath and expect them to behave? I don’t think so!

            You use a double standard in your thinking, clinging to ideas that you would NEVER use in real life!

            LOVE? You apparently do NOT know what true Love is!

          • Grace

            This is your exact words, copied and pasted. “So in answer to your question humans evolved from other lower species all the way back to a common ancestor 3.5 billion years ago.”

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            and your point would be?

          • Grace

            Didn’t you say you didn’t say we came from other species?
            I’m quoting this to let you know that’s indeed what you said, your brain is going 500 thoughts per minute your losing track of the focus.i was going by what you stated, not my words but yours.

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            YES! What is your point?

            EVERY SPECIES has evolved from a COMMON ANCESTOR.

            I’m not sure what you point is.

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            I missed the 2nd part of your comment.

            With regards to “Hell”, yes I know there is a dispute on the subject, but there are passages in the bible where there are “grinding of teeth” and other strange things. I am aware that many passages where added latter by the church. But the fact still remains that most christians including my sisters believe that unbelievers WILL go to hell. AND THEY STILL FOLLOW SUCH A DISGUSTING THING! Like I said before, “religion is a decease…”

            SIN
            The idea of sin is another mutation of a thought. There are all types of people with different mental and emotional capacities and this is EASILY demonstrable. The 23 year old kid that started shooting at LAX is a very good example. Do you really think that this kid had a choice of doing what he did? He OBVIOUSLY had MENTAL issues BEYOND his control. Now turn around and look at GENIUSES around the world that are 12 years old and can program in 12 different language and are MODEL humans until they die.

            This CONTRAST demonstrates that it is the INHERITED mental and emotional CAPACITY that makes humans do MOST of the things they do.

            Placing a tag on humanity as a whole and calling them sinners is a useless COPOUT that benefits NOONE.

            God and his Son
            The idea that god gave his only son is most amusing. A god with only one son? Hum… Strange enough, but what’s even stranger than that, is that this ideology is basically an irresponsible mechanism for humans to shed their errors instead of taking responsibility for them and dealing with them in a rational manner.

            Additionally, nobody should have the right to forgive a transgression against someone else. The only person that can forgive is the person against that transgression has been committed.

            On the “Nice” passages of the bible, I’m sure you are aware that I could counter each one with probably two that are of horrendous nature.

            i.e.

            Death for Adultery?
            If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

            The world is a inherently VERY complicated place, and religion tries to simplify it with dogma.

            The only way out of this mess if thru education, but this will only be achieved when humanity reaches an economic level that allows it for EVERYONE.

            This will happen within the next 100 years, at which point religion will be a thing of the past.

            Thanks.

    • Dorian Moises Mattar

      How do you reason when the premise of this article is flawed? Every single logical thought is warped to the point that it’s no longer a thought.

      How do conceive that over 25 THOUSAND people die of starvation and you are still wondering if this god cares.

      And you do so, simply on egotistical and selfish reflections of yourself.

      The logical conclusion to anyone asking if god cares, is NO, he doesn’t. If he did, he wouldn’t allow for children to be raped in CHURCH by the THOUSANDS.

      Why do you people insist that god loves you because good things happen to you, when everyone else suffers?

      The only reason you people have good things happening to you, is because the ECONOMY in YOUR COUNTRY allows for this things to happen.

      It has NOTHING to do with some god.

      Grow up people!

      • monte

        good question, and a honest one. One has to wonder though, did GOd forget to feed them or did we. you have spoken about this so that means you were aware. so the question begs to be asked, what did you do to stop this? the biggest atrocity is when good people do nothing

        • Dorian Moises Mattar

          Yes, I’m aware, but I’m not an all powerful god that can do anything by barely thinking about it, and he would also be aware and much more capable than I.

          What I’m I supposed to do? In this economy, I’m barely able to take care of myself and my family.

          Should I abandon my family and go a crusade to save the world, while this god sits on a throne?

          I don’t think that’s fair.

          • Grace

            You have very valid questions. And your questions have answers. I love that you would ask such questions. It means you care about the children being treated poorly. Your questions though can also be answered if you welcome the thought that God does care, somehow, somewhere (perhaps His throne) how do we know? It’s by faith…which I believe in your past posts you don’t have in God. Which is tough considering all this back and forth questions will merely be just that which can eventually also lead to arguments thus making you believe less in God. I’m sorry you feel the way that you do. However, I pray that you open your heart up to Him one day, maybe not today but someday. I pray also for your family. Have a blessed day! :)

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            You can’t simply believe something by faith. You need to use your mind and reason. You need to use deductive reasoning to come up with your answers. How can we put faith into something that sits on a throne while others suffer? How do you even associate yourself with something that has brought so much pain to humanity?

            Why would you think that I need to open my heart to something that ordered the killing of all animals and children on the planet for no reason?

            How do you love something that threatens you to a lake of fire if you don’t follow him?

            I hope you have the courage to face whatever it is that makes you HAVE to believe in such things and become a person of reason.

            Reasoning is what gets us science, which gets us EVERYTHING we have today instead of what we had when religion ruled the land, which was torture and death to all who didn’t believe.

            Peace

          • Grace

            I can’t and don’t argue about God for me to sound logical. I just love people like you because you make me love God even more and receive His love even moreso. It’s humbling to realize that God can do absolutely EVeRythinG yet there’ll always be people that would still not believe in Him. It’s also a reminder that I was once in your shoes. I questioned every single christian that was trying to talk to me about Him, I thought of questions to trap them, etc, after all, it’s so easy to ask questions on why your God did this and that without understanding the premise of the story. Just like its easy to walk in in the middle of a conversation and completely get lost, we have no premise of the convo, only pick up from where you entered, sometimes where you entered may not have sounded pleasant. Many times, that’s what the bible is, most especially the Old Testament. However, all throughout the bible from cover to cover God has only showed how much he Loves His creation. It hurts Him to see us hurting or going through problems or pain because He first created us to enjoy, have fun, no pains, no sorrow. However we chose to go the other route, continuously, over and over again. We reason, and say His ways are not good, we’d rather do our own thing, it makes more sense. Now, this is something you may choose to believe or not but God will never coerce you in believing Him and follow Jesus. That’s your choice. Either way He loves you whether you believe in Him or not. Whether you want to reason it out or have faith in Him. As for me, you ask, why I would believe in Him? It’s because I choose to, there’s comfort that I find in trusting in Him, He lays me down beside still waters and I find peace and knowing that Jesus has died for me (and you). It’s not a matter of HAViNG to do anything because He said so. It’s a matter of the heart and choosing to do so has changed my life IMMENSELY, though at times trying, it is SO worth it! <3

          • Dorian Moises Mattar

            So I remind you that god kills children and you love him more.

            Hum, that makes a lot of sense.

            You mention that god can do absolutely everything and we still wouldn’t believe… Really, where exactly do you come up with that?

            All god needs to do is show his face and this conversation would be over.

            Something as simple as that, and this omnipotent being can’t even do that.

            WoW, you really got your mind wrapped around that one.

            Then you mention that god loves his creation, where do you see that?

            All it ever says in the bible is that you are a worthless sinner that NEEDS to be saved and that without your god you would burn in a lake of fire.

            If that’s your idea of love, then you don’t know love, and I feel sorry for you.

            You mention that you where like me, questioning things and that we are not reading the bible properly or coming into the conversation in the middle of it. Sorry to tell you, but I know the conversation very well, and there is NO POSSIBLE EXCUSE for your god to kill people.

            God won’t coerce me into believing? WOW, He gives us only two choices, either follow or burn. If that’s not coercion than please tell me what it is.

            I have a mind, so I WILL USE IT! Faith is useless.

            He lays you in calm waters? What calm waters are those?

            Can you please list what makes you calm about it?

            Is it believing that you will live forever? That’s not proven by anyone.

            Is it believing that no harm will come to you? Seriously, Christians get ill, suffer, go broke, trip, fall, crash, and everything else, just like everyone one else.

            Your false idea that somehow you are better off in ANY way compared to anyone else, is an illusion that you choose to embrace. Wether you believe it or not, you are in the exact same place as everyone else, you just believe that you are not and that’s called a delusion.

            Unless you can prove that Christians live a better life, you are INCORRECT in your assumptions.

            I didn’t ask this Jesus to die for me! Do NOT place that burden on me! If you need an escape goat for your errors, that’s YOUR irresponsibility! I take full responsibility for my errors and don’t need anyone else to take the consequences of those actions for me.

            It is not worth anything believing in something that is not real. It’s a FALSE, EMPTY and EGOTISTICAL fallacy that YOU are being saved while thousands suffer.

            How can you be so selfish to believe that you are so special that your god cares so much about you, while he allows children to be rapped right in his house, the church?

            What is he doing while this happens? Is he watching? Jerking off?

            THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD!

            WHILE HE WATCHES FROM HIS THRONE!

            SO WHAT IS YOUR GOD DOING WHILE CHILDREN ARE BING RAPPED?

            PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTION.

  • I’mabeliever

    Mother Teresa is a great example of this very subject. To experience suffering at it’s core, day in and day out would bring any human being to the point of doubt. I have also experienced these dark times of doubt and emptiness, but always end up returning to my faith because life simply would not be worth living if there were no God.

    • Dorian Moises Mattar

      Mother Teresa was a scam artist. She had thousands die in a bed while telling them that it was OK to suffer while she made deals that made her TONS of CASH with Charlatan. You DON’T know Mother Teresa.

  • kojo

    The article is more like brave and bold attempt to confront the scary goliath-doubt. Doubt is a scary thing to Christians. I think the writer hopes to destroy the negative hold that doubt has on Christians by claiming it is a tool of God after all. God uses doubt so don’t be scared when you encounter doubt.

    but i think the writer in essence has glorified doubt in and of itself by making doubt a good thing. to the point that, if you do not doubt, then you must have created a God you can control and are certain of. you have taken the mystery out of God and made God your resting castle unwilling to venture into the unknown.

    that is the unhealthy aspect that has been introduced into this message. Yes the end result of the article is TRUST! and truly as the writer claims, when we get to the place of TRUST, we will not be in doubt. so there the writer contradicts his own assertion of that doubt is a needed and good thing. since he claims we can overcome and totally destroy doubt by TRUSTING God rather than just knowing all about God.

    I propose, as is according to the bible that we build trust in God by learning how to obey him daily and making him the object of our wonder and search. that way we never settle into a known certainty since He is unsearchable by Himself. you can never get to the end of God. but you will learn to trust him better that way. you don’t have to embrace doubt as a good thing, but when doubt comes, you need not be scared and loose your faith as often is the case. Rather, develop the habbit of always searching His wisdom and wonders untill you learn absolute TRUST!!

    so the true solution to Doubt is trust!! but it comes by making God your object of continues searching and understanding. you accumulate Trust as it were, not knowledge or certainty when you know God enough!

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