In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stuff I don't like about Christianity - Doubts of Faith

I love God. I'm grateful beyond anything words can ever express that He gave me the faith to believe in Him, that I have a relationship with the creator of the universe, that He cares for me, and that He has good plans for my life.

But to be totally transparent, there are things that I do not like in the Bible, things that actually seem wrong to me. There are also things I don't like about the way we do things as Christians. But none of these things changes my belief in God, or even my choice to accept those things that I can not seem to get around in the Bible as Truth, even if I do not like them.

One of the things that I've adored about the blogosphere has been encountering other Christians who seem to have some of the same questions and struggles as I. I've adored the honesty I've been gifted to experience through other people's writing. One of my favorites was when Matt, over at the Church of No People, had his Doubt Month recently where he posted about these types of things. I've also really enjoyed posts by Larry at Photogr Thinks and David at Fire and Grace where they've shared their struggles. I'm not as organized as Matt, so I won't have a month, or specific day of the week, when I post on these things. But I have decided to periodically use this opportunity to journal here and gain feedback concerning these issues of doubt, disgruntlement and frustration with which I struggle; I'm calling these my "doubts of faith".

They are doubts of faith because I still believe. I still choose to accept the Bible when I don't like what it has to say. I also choose to join together with others of faith, even when I am not happy with the way everything is done in the church, or with specific aspects of Christian culture. Mostly because I've tasted and seen how wonderful God is and want to keep living my life with Him in the drivers seat.

OK, so now that I've given this long preamble to set the stage for this and future posts, I can start periodically posting on my doubts of faith and get your feedback on these issues.

But, even before I start, I'm curious - do you have doubts of faith of your own? How do you handle them? Do you find other Christians open, loving and willing to discourse concerning your doubts? Or, have you had negative experiences when you've opened up and shared your struggles?

11 comments:

dsjohndrow said...

Good thoughts, Tracy.

I am always attracted to the personification of doubting Thomas. We often hear about him as faithless. But his dilemma was not faith in the supernatural. After all, he saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead! But his doubt was the one that we all have. How do we partner with a dead but alive God in a way that seems so impossible; irrational and has not been done, is hard to prove, yet some how takes place in the lives of millions of the Christians everyday?

Thanks for the link and the mention. Blessings, Tracy.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Our relationship with God is (and should be) a personal one. A 1 to 1 relationship; just like the relationships we have with other people.

When we meet a person for the first time, we normally "test the water" and slowly get to know that individual and slowly, perhaps, we get to like them and we become friends.

The same applies to our relationship with God. We may have some doubts every now and then, about matters of Faith, about what is written in the Bible, or we may even question God's motives and strategies when we read about Him in the Bible. This is natural. God allows doubts as part of our make-up when He created us. Doubts help us to get to know Him better. To ask others about Him and to learn from their answers and perhaps strengthen our Faith.

Of course, too much doubts is dangerous and can lead us astray from God. And it makes the devil laugh in delight. The remedy for this is prayer. Admitting to God our doubts and seeking His help.

"I believe, Lord; help my unbelief." Mark 9:24.

Michelle said...

I could probably say your preamble is EXACTLY how I feel a lot. I have faith in God. My doubts sometimes come with how hard it is to grasp what Christ has done. And then I get into the things that don't really make sense...but I still have faith...although it is "little."

Most Christians I speak with who are honest accept and can converse greatly with my doubts and questions. Others, who I feel are not really honest, cannot relate and are appalled that one would doubt. I look forward to your posts, I think this will be something we can each relate to and learn from.

JD Curtis said...

This morning I had the pleasure of hearing Dr Peter Lillback deliver a great sermon.

He began by referencing 2nd Kings, 6:1-7 ...

"The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.”

And he said, “Go.”

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh, my lord,” he cried out, “it was borrowed!”

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it."

Dr Lillback went on to state that he never witnessed an axhead float. However he did state that he saw God work in miraculous ways in peoples lives over the years. Like the time that a financially successful man who was battling alcoholism asked God to show He was real by playing the song on the radio that was his sweethearts favorite. And at that exact moment, it did.

I personally heard a testimony from a man this past week that when he first began to delve into Christianity, he had a dog that was suffering from mange and the medication from the vet was completely ineffective and it was actually spreading to other areas on it's skin. He stopped using the treatment and he asked God to show that He was real and help his dog. It was completely healed within 4 days.


God is working behind the scenes in a macro way and sometimes this manifests in something small yet important on a highly personal, micro level. The Bible tells us that our eyes are indeed closed to the fact.

Later on in the same chapter of 2nd Kings we read...

"When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."

God does care. God does help us. Many times we are completely blind to the fact though.

Bomi Jolly - JollyNotes.com said...

Thanks for bringing this up! I certainly have lots of thoughts and questions as well. I think many others do too.

There are many things I am not sure about. But I always hold fast to the truth that I do know, and that's one thing I know for sure - no doubt, no questions - That God loves us more than we can ever imagine. And I know that walking with Jesus is the greatest thing ever.

I hope my questions get answered - in this life or in heaven... But until then, I will hold fast to the truths that I do know. And it is certainly helpful to relate/discuss with other believers (like you) too!

Thanks again Tracy!

RCUBEs said...

When new to my faith, I used to doubt a lot of things. But through the years of going through so many trials, He makes it known that His presence is true. Be it through strangers we meet. Or through family and friends. Or situations. I know that when I don't strive to walk closer with Him, that's when my mind is filled with doubts. But when I dig deeper into His Word and love, that's when they are not present. I believe in what Paul said in Ephesians. We battle not with humans but with principalities. And the battle starts in our minds. I thank God for His Armor! With our God of Armor, doubts go...for confusion is not from Him! Great thought provoking post sister Tracy. God bless you.

Duane Scott said...

I could leave a long comment, but I just shared the entire story on my blog. You'll have to pop over there and read if you are completely bored. :)

Deborah Ann said...

I think most Christians have doubt to some extent. And I think God's big enough to handle it. The best thing we can do when we start fading in our faith is to cry "God, help me to believe!"

Tracy said...

The late Michael Spencer who wrote at the Internet Monk site, once said something that I appreciate and that's really stuck with me:

"I deeply disagree with those who say we should not speak of faith until we have answers. It shouldn’t take a lot of consideration to understand the answer may be “there’s no answer for this question.” If I have to go beyond that, I’m going at the expense of my integrity. Nothing good comes of that.”

teddytrump said...

Hai guys, please pray for me... coz i feel I'm starting to far away from GOD

photogr said...

Tracy:

Interesting thoughts. I don't doubt my faith in God or Jesus. I just doubt the amount of faith I have. Some times it is tremendous, some times it is less than stellar.

Jesus says " If you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this Mulberry tree, Be up rooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you." (Luke 17:6)

I doubt that I have enough faith to move a tree into the sea yet but I am sure that God can do just that if he pleases but I can't on my own faith yet.

This brings up an experience I had on vacation last week while in the Fla. Ala., and Mississippi area. Will post it later.

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