Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 3 – Can you be a Christian and yet doubt your faith?
Doubt is part of the Christian faith. Believing is not the same as knowing. When your stomach rumbles, you know that you are hungry. You also know that this hunger will stop when you eat. People want certainty. What you know, you can control. People like that. It gives them a sense of security. With God*, that doesn’t work. Believing in God and in the risen Jesus* is believing in something and someone you can’t reach with your common sense. You can never prove with certainty that God exists. It is a mystery.
You can believe with your heart and soul that God exists and that Jesus lives. That doesn’t mean that doubt can’t strike. Is it all true? Don’t I confuse my dreams with reality? This can hurt. Don’t worry too much about it. Doubt comes, doubt goes.
A special example of doubt in faith can be seen in the stories of the apparitions*, at the end of the Gospels*. They describe encounters between the risen Jesus and his friends. In almost all these stories, doubt plays an important role. They can hardly believe that the man who died on a cross is alive again, and that they can see, hear and touch Jesus. Some even eat with him. If there was any doubt among those first believers, then it is normal that Christians today sometimes doubt that the whole story is true.
Doubt also has good sides. It prevents you from believing on autopilot. It can be an incentive to pay more attention to your life of faith and to keep looking for the core of it.
– Do you sometimes doubt? Which beliefs in particular?
– How do you deal with this doubt? What helps you with this?
Feel free to leave your thoughts, reflections or comments below.
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 4 – Can a believer be critical?
If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.