It need not discourage us if we are full of doubts. Healthy questions keep faith dynamic. In fact, unless we start with doubts we cannot have
a deep-rooted faith. One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much of a belief. One who has a faith which is not to be shaken has won it through blood and tears–has worked his or her way from doubt to truth as one who reaches a clearing through a thicket of brambles and thorns.-Helen Keller
Sometimes in my life, I need validation. I need to know that I’m not the only one who thinks a certain way or who believes in certain things. This particular quotation was a God-send to me, at a time when I was filled with doubts about what was being told to me at church. I was surrounded by people who seemed to feel that doubting was a sign of a lack of faith, and some of them even would have gone so far as to claim that any doubts I had must have come from Satan himself.
There is much to doubt in any religion, for the religious norms and ceremonies that we witness today are the results of people’s interpretations of the Bible, not anything that was mandated by God himself. We were given the gift of logical thought, and we were given the gift of discernment, and anyone who says that we don’t have the right to doubt is just afraid of losing the “power” that clinging to religious traditions brings to him or her. Doubts send us in directions that we never would explore if we were to hold on blindly to beliefs that we adopt as our own from others.
But clinging to tradition and believing blindly the teachings of others leads to a shallow spirituality. There’s very little opportunity in such an approach for a direct relationship with God, and without having gone through a time of doubts, a faith never has been tested. It’s only by testing that we truly validate anything.
Do you have doubts? Then embrace them, explore them, find out all you can about them. Doing so will lead you to a newer and more vibrant faith. It probably won’t happen immediately, and it may take much longer than you ever were prepared to have to wait, but you will reach the point of faith that you were meant to reach. And once you’re there, the chances are that more doubts will come up, leading you down a completely new road that you’re meant to explore. . . .
Questions to ponder:
1. What do you think that your doubts are telling you? How do you respond?
2. How does blind faith help us to grow as people?
Does it help our relationship with God, or does it just make us more acceptable to other people who share the faith?
3. What do you feel God wants you to do–accept all that you hear, or carefully consider all that you hear, and then make your own decisions about what you believe and what you don’t?
For further thought:
You call for faith: I show you doubt, to prove that faith exists. The more of doubt, the stronger faith, I say,
If faith overcomes doubt. -Robert Browning