Something that I don’t think is talked about enough , is the feeling of doubt that leads to unbelief in Christianity–and more than likely in every spiritual or religious tradition in some way.
Honesty is a pillar of Christianity–so much so that even those who do not practice the Christian faith are aware of it’s centrality in our faith life. More often than not, however, we put on a holy mask and parade around like nothing effects us because we have Jesus and we believe in the Bible. While that’s great if it’s true, I’d venture to say that more of us have more doubts than we appear to have.
I’ve been a priest for six years now, and a spiritual seeker for many years before that. I spent so much time trying to find right belief and the right practice–being told by seemingly spiritual people that once I put my faith in Jesus, he would take care of everything else. The advice I was always dished out: just believe. Just believe? That’s a tall order in a faith that preaches love and is known for their condemnation, or for a faith that proclaims that a first century Rabbi was the divine son of God–the second person of a trinity, that’s really a unity, but not really at the same time–who died and rose again.
Of course, I’m not saying that these things aren’t true, because they are essential to my faith as a Jesus Follower…but I am saying that it’s okay to doubt it sometimes. Faith tells me that putting my trust in this person called Jesus doesn’t mean that my questions and doubts disappear. Faith tells me that, even though I don’t understand (and sometimes when I straight up don’t believe) my faith in God is not diminished. This is a vast universe, and life is too complex for us to have all the answers to anything–including our own scriptures–and that’s okay!
It’s time for us to be honest about what is going on in our hearts and minds. Jesus’s followers had doubts when the events of the Bible were taking place, and they still walked along the path Jesus led them down. Being able to express these beliefs and vocalize our questions is essential to our mental and spiritual health. It keeps us from feeling like we’re drowning, or inherently evil, or like God is condemning us to hell because we can’t accept everything like the smiling seemingly-spiritual people around us. It’s time for Christianity to be honest, and to see where God–who we believe makes his home with the doubting, the hurting, the broken, and the outcast–takes us. I bet, if we can have the humility to be honest, the soul of the world could start coming back to life with love.
May it be so.