doubt

February 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm 3 comments

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You can’t just make the voice of doubt go away by drowning it out. By trying to sink it with affirmations about what you want to believe, or what you think you should believe. Or worse, what others want you to believe and think you ought to believe. You can’t drown it out by praying more fervently, by singing louder, by turning up the volume on your worship CD, by serving harder, by seeking better, by talking to the right people, or reading the greatest books. Once doubt finds its voice, it is there to stay. It always was there, it just had a hard time speaking up over the din and had to shout a bit louder to be heard. When it is finally listened to though, it quickly grows in confidence.

Because the more doubt speaks, the more you realize it isn’t speaking lies, it is simply commenting on how things actually look to you. And even if what it is speaking isn’t always right, even if it may be mistaken at times, and if it may change from time to time, it is really truly what you think. And what you think, how you see the world, is based on how you see things, not on how you are supposed to see them. And that is not a matter of what is Truth and what are Lies, it is a matter of who you are. And that isn’t anything to be afraid of listening to. It isn’t the monster in the closet or a demon in your head. And things that provoke doubt might be doing that because they are reality, facts which are in conflict with what you believe. And there isn’t anything wrong with you, that is who you are.

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Entry filed under: doubt, faith.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DagoodS  |  February 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    It is curious how we are encouraged to follow doubt in so many areas of our life. If that boy/girl looks like trouble—they probably are. Don’t wander down dark alleys. Don’t dance an Irish Jig will climbing on the roof.

    But in the spiritual realm, “doubt” is considered a bad thing.

    Well written post.

  • 2. atimetorend  |  February 25, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Great point. A couple of definitions from Merriam Webster:
    Doubt:
    a) to lack confidence in
    b) to consider unlikely

    It can be so common in christian talk to think of the word “doubt” as scary or bad or sinful. But if replaced with “consider unlikely,” the silliness of considering doubt as forbidden is more clear.

    Like if you consider something in the bible as unlikely you must struggle to return to being certain about it. Wrong on two counts: 1) if you have to struggle to be certain of something, it is more likely you have just convinced yourself of something because you wished it to be true, and 2) if you have the need to struggle, you should be struggling to educate yourself about facts, not struggling to believe something.

    Example: If the story of Balaam’s talking donkey seems unlikely to be true, I just need to read enough “right-thinking” (“orthodox”) apologetics until I am convinced that it is true? And God forbid I should read someone’s account of how it is not true, because that would make it harder for me to consider it likely to be true. I’m just going to come out and say it — I think the story of Balaam’s talking ass is unlikely to be true. Yes, I used that example in order to turn that last phrase…

  • 3. isnessie  |  May 21, 2009 at 1:16 am

    I actually hadn’t seen this, but great post – I particularly like what you said about those doubtful thoughts being what we REALLY think, as opposed to what we should think. This is what I mean when I say that Christianity teaches people to fear themselves and any thoughts or feelings that they have that don’t fall in line with the teachings of the church/Bible.

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