Recently I’ve read quite a few people dealing with doubt or dialogging about it in some way. InternetMonk recently did a post on his own doubts, resonating with the closing verses of Matthew. Art Boulet and his church have been having doubt nights, and they seem to be a hit. I’ve also posted about doubt on occasion. I’ve talked with students about their doubts before. One of the things that is import to me is that we are allowed to express our doubts, and don’t have to hide them. I think that’s one positive about the emerging conversation at this point. It encourages people to voice their doubts. I think that can be a healthy thing.
I’ve been reading Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction by Crenshaw, and came across this paragraph.
For some reason not yet fathomed by flesh and blood, certain eras lend themselves to wholesale skepticism, eliciting the painful admission that “We of this generation are not destined to eat and be satisfied as our fathers were; we must be content to go hungry.” Such deprivation resulting from a complete breakdown in cultural values offers a unique opportunity for fresh breakthroughs which rejuvenate human society. Once dogma freezes, traditions become lifeless fetters, and can only be thrown off by resurging vital faith that dares to challenge the most sacred belief in the name of a higher truth.
Specifically Crenshaw is dealing with skepticism within the wisdom tradition of Israel, ie Qoheleth. However, he also looks at the enlightenment and reformation as examples of the above. I’d say that we are seeing the same thing today to some extent. The emerging generation is certainly capable of being skeptical and doubtful. This can be taken to a negative extreme and result in cynicism, or it can be a healthy catalyst to growth and revitalization of faith and religion.
For me, it is always refreshing to see a person doubt something and go seek answers. Even if the answers they discover aren’t always the easiest to digest, they are certainly better than pat answers. As an aspiring youth pastor, I hope to avoid the pit of giving pat answers to students with real doubts. I hope I’m always able to interact with students and their doubts, and I hope that the community of faith that I am involved with is able to interact with me and my doubts.