I read an article this week on the benefit of doubt for our faith. The author of the article is Peter Enns, I will provide some excerpts in this post, but if you are interested in the entire article you can check out this link: The Benefit of Doubt: Coming to Terms with Faith in a Postmodern Era.
There is a benefit of doubt. Let me put that more strongly: there are things doubt can do spiritually that nothing else can do. Doubt is not the enemy, but a gift of God to move us from trusting ourselves to trusting him. Doubt feels like God is far away or absent, but it is actually a time of “disguised closeness” to God that moves us to spiritual maturity. Doubt is not a sign of weakness but a sign of growth.
Doubt forces us to look at who we think God is. It makes us face whether we really trust HIM, or whether we trust what we have made God to be. Doubting God is painful and frightening because we think we are leaving God behind. But doubt—real hard deep unnerving uncomfortable scary doubt—helps us to see that, maybe we have made God into our own image. We come to discover, slowly but surely, that the “faith” we are losing is not faith in God. It is actually in the idea of God that we surround ourselves with.
You see, doubt doesn’t mean that God is dying for us. Doubt signals that we are beginning to die to ourselves and our ideas about God…Don’t let the obvious pass you by: this sort of thing is in the Bible. Why? Because this “abandoned by God” business is part of normal Christian experience.
Doubt is usually cumulative; it creeps in. God, the Bible, your faith, stop making sense, and so you toss it all away. But here is the point. You say that God and all that Jesus stuff just don’t work in the world you live in. But maybe the God and Jesus that aren’t working aren’t the real thing. What if what isn’t working isn’t God at all, but our version. Maybe doubts are the first step to stripping off the old getting at the real thing.
When you go out into the world and say “it’s not working,” maybe that is a signal. It’s not God who no longer works, it’s your idea of God that needs work.
What are your thoughts on this topic? How have you viewed the place of doubt in the journey of faith? Do you agree or disagree with his comments?