Doubt and Faith

Faith and Doubt

Part One: Doubt

I’m a congenital skeptic. Yet somehow I made the leap of faith. Still, I was troubled by recurring doubts. The idea of a God who loved me and created me to dwell with him and others in eternal love and unity just seemed too wonderful to be true. And yet, at the same time, it resonated deeply within me, far deeper than mere emotions or upbringing (and, no, it wasn’t what I was raised to believe).

So I asked Tim, a church elder, if he ever had any doubts about the reality of what he believed. “No, never,” he replied without a second’s hesitation. I was shattered. I’m a phony! For weeks, I kept my fake faith a secret. Finally, I confessed my doubts to Roger, a seasoned believer and theologian. “Well, of course you have doubts,” he said, “that’s what causes you to ask questions, to test your faith and make it grow.” “Well, what about Jim?” I asked. “Oh, Jim? He’s afraid to look. He doesn’t have enough faith for doubt.”

That was when I began to understand that doubt is a facet of faith, not it’s opposite. Khalil Gibran observed, “Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” Doubt is the shadow that helps us see the light. “Now I see but a dim reflection as in a mirror,” the Apostle Paul said, “but then I will see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Some thoughts by those who’ve wrestled with doubt:

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.” ~Tim Keller

“Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.” ~Robertson Davies

“It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevski

“Faith which does not doubt is dead faith.” ~Miguel de Unamuno

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

   “It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things   go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.” ~Madeleine L’Engle

“Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip.” ~Unknown

To read Part Two, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Doubt and Faith

  1. sashiengland says:

    This reminds me of when John the Baptist when in prison sent messengers to ask Jesus: Are you the one or should we expect someone else? (Luke 7:19) John took his doubts to Jesus who responded without scolding John. The scripture doesn’t tell us what John’s reaction was when the messengers reported back. My thought is John received blessed assurance Jesus was indeed the One! If John hadn’t asked the question, he wouldn’t have received it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. numrhood says:

    1 corinthians 11:12 13


  3. Welp. I think I just got my recommended weekly allowance of Vitamin P (profound). Keep it coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My Way Home Life says:

    I never looked at faith/doubt this way. What a comfort!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Megan says:

    I remember the day I asked Jesus to save me. I was 3 years old and I woke my grandfather and my mother up at 3 in the morning and told them I had to “ask Jesus in my heart right now.” My faith and relationship with God has always felt like this huge, tangible thing and when I started to have doubts and questions about the reality and truth of it, I was so shaken up.

    To be honest, I still berate myself when doubts or questions arise. After I’ve personally witnessed so many miracles and acts of love from my Savior, how in the world could I possibly doubt?

    Thanks for your post. It honestly encouraged me a lot. I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Glad it spoke to you, Megan. I think that, because faith a relationship with a Person, we have to re-discover that faith over and over again, just as husbands and wives have to fall in love over and over again if they want to have a strong, meaningful marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Candice says:

    Thank you. I can now see doubt in a different light.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I consider the opposite of faith as disbelief. Love this post. We need to understand that all the great mystics have been through the “dark night of the soul.” Thanks for quoting my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle. I was blessed to hear her speak at two conferences,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christina Paster says:

    Beautiful. It is people like you that make my doubt seem meaningful to explore.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. nancyehead says:

    Doubt is sometimes you finding your land legs on the new Rock you’re planting yourself on.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ann Coleman says:

    Remember that old saying, “I believe; help my unbelief?” All of us have doubts, and that’s a good and healthy thing!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Sharing this, Mitch. Honest, comforting. Thanks :-).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful post, Mitch! Nothing to add to the many excellent responses here! 🙂 Just thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Faith walks foward while doubt shrinks back. Thank you, Lord for your forward motion! In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nitin says:

    Thanks. I have struggled through the doubts over the years. I never gave up on my faith. Doubting Thomas was never deserted. He became a missionary to the eastern people. Thanks for sharing. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Doubt and Faith | Mitch Teemley

  16. Jeffery Poor says:

    I love this picture of faith and doubt that you gave: “that doubt is a facet of faith, not it’s opposite” Great picture! I’ve always liked Paul Tillich’s view: “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.“ Same message different way of putting it.

    I wrote an article on that quote, if you want you can read it here:

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yewtree says:

    Stumbled upon this post whilst looking for posts about Robertson Davies.

    Here’s my favourite quote about faith (I would have posted this on your faith post but I’m on the WordPress phone app and the faith post launches in my browser).

    “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”

    — Alan Watts

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Doubts come with trials,and awareness of sin and a fallen nature in a painful fallen less than Ideal world. Jesus says “Remember and Return” Rev 2:1  “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 
    Rev 2:2 *  “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 
    Rev 2:3  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. *
    Rev 2:4  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 
    Rev 2:5  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 
    Rev 2:6  Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 
    Rev 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ esv
    Jesus says this to all His children, daily we must come to the feet of Jesus and be renewed We can never walk “have faith” with out close communion daily. ” Preach the Gospel to yourself daily” – Charles Spurgeon

    Liked by 1 person

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