Brian McClaren skryf:
“When committed Christians want to talk about their doubts with me, I tell them this first: doubt is not always bad. In fact, sometimes doubt is absolutely essential. Doubt is like pain: it tells us that something nearby or within us is dangerous. It calls for some attention and action.”
“Doubt is not always a virtue, however. There is a dark doubt, an exaggerated and self-destructive doubt that leads to despair, depression, and spiritual self-sabotage.
“Out of control, it becomes unbelief, a hard heart, an arrogant or defeatist cynicism. But healthy doubt can serve as a Geiger counter that detects error. Without it, we would be gullible, naïve, and just plain stupid (not exactly stellar spiritual qualities). Doubt is similar to guilt, which the late Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer said was like a watchdog : useful to have around to alert you to danger. But if the watchdog turns and attacks the homeowner, it needs to be restrained and retrained.
“Being awake and moving is simply spiritual growth, to which Christians claim to be committed. Spiritual growth means that five years from now, your set of beliefs will hopefully be different from today’s – that your beliefs will be more fine-tuned, more tested, more balanced, more examined. And what causes you to to examine a belief and test it – against the wise thinking of the Christian community at large (both now and through history), against the realities of your experience? Basically, doubt. Whatever inside you that isn’t at rest about a belief. By doubting a belief and then examining it, you can decide to discard, it adjust it, or keep is just as it is.”
“Short easy answers are the last thing these doubts and questions need. If you brought such doubts to me, to do them justice would involve us forging an authentic relationship end engaging in real conversation – not merely a couple of hours over coffe. This is a lengthy process. I’d begin by affirming the good things that you are after – truth, authenticity, honesty, compassion, justice. Then, instead of answering your doubts, I’d help you devise a number of possible answers and help you create options. Then together we’d evaluate the options in the light of Scripture, of experience, of what we’ve read or heard from wise people.
“In short, instead of providing easy answers for your doubts and questions, I’d try to come alongside you as a companion in the search for those good things – truth, honesty, justice, and all the rest. An (this is perhaps the most important step) I’d try to help you keep praying through the process – because ultimately, faith isn’t just about answers or concepts. Faith is about admitting that many of life’s greatest truths are going to remain mysteries to us, due to limitations or our tiny brains that weigh less than a cantaloupe. Faith is about reaching out to God to guide us, and asking for God’s help so we can be honest, good hearted seekers. That’s what child-like faith is, in my opinion. It is not gullibility or intellectual laziness, but asking questions and having an insatiable curiosity for truth. It is reaching out to someone who knows more than we do.
“This is why I am convinced that doubt can be a doorway to spiritual growth.”