Are You Willing to Doubt your Doubts?
Doubt can be a tricking thing. Our society, for instance, has elevated doubt to an unquestioned virtue. Those who follow tradition or submit to any kind of standard—especially an ancient one—are viewed with smug condescension. “Well,” we think, “they may not be clever enough to question authority, but I won’t be fooled.” We’ve trained ourselves to see through everything, looking for the gimmick. But as C.S. Lewis said, “You can’t go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is see something through it. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”
Many Christians respond by asserting that doubt is a vice. It has no place in a life of faith. Questions are often discouraged, as religious leaders tell their flocks to simply believe. But this is hardly a better option. When legitimate questions are met with the command to “shut up and follow orders,” it’s not surprising that so many people walk away from the faith.
The Bible doesn’t support either of these errors. Doubt, in Scripture, can be either a virtue or a vice. On the surface, it can sometimes be hard to discern which is which. For instance, in Luke 1, the angel Gabriel visits two different people back to back—Zechariah and Mary—and promises miraculous births. They both respond with perplexed questions. But while Mary gets an explanation, Zechariah gets put in timeout for 9 months, unable to speak. What’s the difference?
Zechariah and Mary are excellent examples of the two kinds of doubt—proud doubt and humble doubt...