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The Limits of Doubt

3. Don’t confuse doubt with seeking.

We seek in order to find; sometimes we doubt in order to avoid seeking. Jesus appeared to Thomas because his doubts were reasonable; Thomas responded with the declaration, “my Lord and my God.” God invites us to seek–even to question–yet he assures us he can be found. The witness of scripture and of the centuries is that God reveals himself to those who seek him. Too many people consider doubt an impartial quality, as if doubt is somehow above the fight. Instead, doubt is a method, and like all methods, it has its limits. Doubt is a useful tool, but a terrible destination.

4. Doubt is not the opposite of faith.

In his useful book, God in the Dark, Os Guinness points out that unbelief is the opposite of faith. Unbelief is the willful choice not to believe even after the questions have been answered. Doubt can spring from honesty or confusion; unbelief springs from the will. In the final analysis, even our intellect is called to obey.

5. My doubts are my doubts–they don’t have to be yours.

Sometimes, the religious establishment can be guilty of a stifling orthodoxy. It’s equally true that the next generation can be guilty of demanding uncertainty of others. I might think your faith is nothing more than Christian superstition, but that does not mean I’m called to change your mind. I suspect God is more interested in whether we play nice together than whether we all sign the same creed.

6. The object of faith is a Person, not a proposition.

For thirty-eight years, I’ve loved my wife. And after thirty-eight years, I don’t pretend to understand her! How much more the unfathomable Creator? The book of Job reveals the essence of faith is relationship, not precept. I may doubt my understanding of God, but I trust I will never doubt Him.

After exploring the limits of doubt, I’ve discovered that He is my destination, and I hope my heart is like St. Augustine’s, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until we find ourselves in you.” Peace.


This article on the limits of doubt originally appeared here, and is used by permission.