Is Your Faith Riddled with Doubt

by Christine Sine

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This morning I am looking out my window on our first cloudy day for quite a while. Like most people, I love sunshine and relish the long cloudless days that are often part of summer even here in the Pacific Northwest. But even more than that, I love the sunshine that radiates through the clouds, and the solitary beams that light up the sky with rainbow colours.

 

Thinking about this reminded me of a comment from one of my Facebook friends this morning.

Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt, or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith. 

Doubt has played a very important place in my faith. Without doubt I would never have questioned the assumptions of my early faith and been challenged to get out of my comfort zones and explore the new possibilities God was presenting to me. Without doubt my faith would have stagnated and been stunted.

So often when I have struggled with doubts and not been sure of whether I had any faith left, suddenly it has shone through like sunlight through the clouds, illuminating everything in my life with a breathtaking radiance that only God can create.

Give reign to doubt. It is so often the voice of the Holy Spirit, prompting you to ask questions about life and faith that you have never thought of before.

As you think about that this morning you may like to listen to this video which I first posted several years ago, of Thomas Merton speaking about doubt in his life.

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12 comments

Michael Moore August 28, 2014 - 9:07 am

Thanks! Especially enjoyed the clip about Merton. For me depression and weather can be a tough battle…

Christine Sine August 28, 2014 - 9:21 am

Thanks Michael. I love the clip too and it was good for me to see it again too.

charlie1955 August 28, 2014 - 9:17 am

Faith can no more be separated from doubt, than heads on a coin can be separated from tails.Doubt is not the opposite of faith, but its shadow side.

Christine Sine August 28, 2014 - 9:26 am

A beautiful statement Charlie

SteveRush August 28, 2014 - 9:32 am

So Guiness covers this topic, in some depth, in his God in the Dark. He is always with us, even during those times we cannot hear His voice, or feel His presence – He is there!

Christine Sine August 28, 2014 - 9:33 am

Amen

SteveRush November 28, 2014 - 4:08 am

Whoops! That was Oz Guiness, only the first name is spelled with an ‘s’; (stupid spell-check; if only I knew how to turn off this feature in my OS!?)

SteveRush March 12, 2015 - 11:16 pm

Thanks Christine. I have returned from FL & CA, for a short while. <3 to Tom & Bonnie!

Mark Votava August 28, 2014 - 11:52 am

I love the thoughts by Thomas Merton that we cannot have faith without doubt. It reminds me of two Peter Rollins books- Insurrection: To Believe is Human to Doubt is Divine and The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction. Thanks Christine!

Christine Sine August 28, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Thanks Mark and I appreciate the book suggestions. Maybe we should put together a reading list on faith and doubt.

Coe Hutchison August 28, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Here is my favorite Merton quote that I turn to in the midst of doubt.

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me, I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1976)

and Anne Lamott

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty misses the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the confusion, the disappointment and letting it be there until some light returns.” (Anne Lamott)

I always learn the most about God and about myself when I go through a period of struggling with doubt. When all else is questioned and I don’t know where to turn, I turn to the euchraist and “Do this in remembrance of me” and I remember.
Blessings,
Coe

Christine Sine August 28, 2014 - 3:42 pm

Great quotes Coe. Thank you for sharing. I particularly love the Anne Lamott comment The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.” When we think we understand everything we are very far from the point. “Certainty” breeds rigidity and the inability to change when we need to.

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