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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Doubt and Faith

Seth Godin is chock full of good words:
Living with doubt

... is almost always more profitable than living with certainty.

People don't like doubt, so they pay money and give up opportunities to avoid it. Entrepreneurship is largely about living with doubt, as is creating just about any sort of art.

If you need reassurance, you're giving up quite a bit to get it.

On the other hand, if you can get in the habit of seeking out uncertainty, you'll have developed a great instinct.
In order to apply this to a Christian context I would say that living with doubt is better for us and for our neighbors. Doubt really is no fun. Constantly questioning and wondering gets tiring after a while, but when we live with doubt we are expressing our faith. See, it's not faith if we are certain - if we have proof we don't need to believe. But if we can learn to live in the awkward, tense space of doubt we can invite others to believe.

3 comments:

Big Mike Lewis said...

I don't buy it.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." -- Hebrews 11:1

The whole doubt=faith thing is silly to me. I have doubts...help me in my unbelief, but to doubt is, to me, unfaithful.

To have unanswered questions is going to happen as God's word tells us, but to call that doubt isn't the same. I see a huge difference between certainty and omniscience.

James Wood said...

Good point, Mike. I don't want to be, nor do I want to encourage people to be unfaithful.

In Romans 8:24 Paul says: "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?"

I can be sure of my hope - but not have it. I can trust that God will provide, but not know how. I can questions God's methods without questioning God's existence.

I honestly think we're talking about the same thing, Mike. I'm using the word doubt (maybe not the best choice) to describe the unbelief of the boy's father in Mark 9. Jesus didn't chide him or correct him for his heartfelt prayer "I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!" I'm using the word doubt to describe the faith-journey of people like Moses, Job, Elijah, David, and Jesus - who all expressed questions about God's will and plan.

If doubt isn't the best word to describe this biblical phenomenon, then what would you suggest, Mike?

Big Mike Lewis said...

"Questions", maybe? Don't hold me to that word though...I may realize something that makes me not agree with that word either.