In Tim Keller’s book, The Reason For God, he makes a proposal to both believers and non-believers. He asks them to look at doubt in a new way. For believers, he pushes them to ask and wrestle with the difficult questions. And for non-believers, he asks them to see the faith that’s behind their doubts.
He goes on to point out that believers will strengthen their faith by thoroughly examining their doubts, as well as be in a better position to respect those with doubts. This is profound. Believers, lots of them, tend to get high and mighty, or worse, judgmental. This pushes everyone way – many believers included.
For doubters, Keller says this:
All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because ‘There can’t be one true religion,’ you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts. If you went to the Middle East and said, ‘There can’t be just one true religion,’ nearly everyone would say, ‘Why not?’
I struggled with this concept for years. I used to tell my wife everything that was wrong with Christianity and how, in so many ways, it was ridiculous. She would always remind me that my doubts were simply my beliefs, and that I couldn’t substantiate them empirically. She was right.
Dallas Willard reminds us – if you’re going to be a doubter, be sure to doubt your doubts as well as your beliefs.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson
PS: Sitting on the fence about any of this is, well, disturbing.