Article CAN YOU BE A CHRISTIAN WITH A LOT OF DOUBTS?

William

William Kuevogah
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Jul 28, 2020
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This is the first post of mine in this Other Christian Worldviews but I hope it won't be the last. I appreciate the fact of the existence of such a forum, particularly because for those of us who aren't really sure anymore where we fit into the Christian program, it's a privilege to have a place to articulate our views. I'm not sure where my growing convictions about the Christian life fit, so I'll start from here and await your gracious feedbacks. Let me begin by saying this about myself: I'm a very uncertain Christian, a very doubtful one. Since my leaving the Watchtower, I've vacillated between belief and scepticism more times than I can remember. At the same time I've been fascinated by the Christian faith. I've also tried on different worldviews and philosophies: I was an atheist for a few months (it was too depressing), an agnostic for a while (but I longed to give my heart to something) and a secular humanist (it was a bit more satisfying but I think it has no ultimate foundation because morality is not self-evident—it seemed to me that nature in itself is devoid of morality).

All this because of my disillusionment with traditional/popular evangelical forms of Christianity. Traditional Christianity with its emphasis on belief—"abdication of the intellect, a silencing of critical faculties, or believing in six impossible things before breakfast", in the words of the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks—is no longer compelling for most people, including me. You can't worship what your mind rejects, can you? It's my conviction that Christianity should make compelling sense without demanding blind leap of faith. So I kept coming back again and again to Christianity—but Christianity understood differently, a "new" kind of Christianity. I've undergone a paradigm change. I'm discovering how I can be a passionate Christian today without giving my intellectual assent to propositions that defy my common sense (we must love God with our minds [intellect] too!). I've since learned that one can be a Christian with doubts. Biblical faith has room in it for intellectual doubt because it is the capacity to trust, the courage to act, the willingness to commit—"Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).
From the place where we are right, flowers will never grow in the spring. The place where we are right is hard and trampled like a yard. But loves and doubts dig up the world like a mole, a plow. [emphasis mine]—source of quote forgotten.

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.
—Kenneth Burke (quoted in Marcus J. Borg's book The Heart of Christianity).
That little story illustrates how I now see Christianity—as an "unending coversation." For as long as there have been Christians, there have been debates about what it means to be a Christian—from the authority of the Bible and the believability of its stories, to the meaning of Jesus, to what difference Christianity really makes. Essential Christian ideas have evolved and been interpreted in various ways. To borrow an idea from Marcus J. Borg whose work I'm currently immersed in, being Christian involves us in an unending conversation—with the Bible, the Christian tradition, and each other. It involves discerning the heart of Christianity, and such discernment involves us in an unending conversation. This "unending coversation" explains why the Church has always been diverse or pluriform. There has never been a monolithic Christian church. There have always been unity and diversity. We see the same diversity today. Much of the conversation in our time is between an earlier paradigm and an emerging paradigm. A paradigm is a comprehensive way of seeing, a way of seeing a “whole.” Both paradigms are ways of looking at the same phenomena (God, the Bible, Jesus, the creeds, faith, and so forth), but the phenomena are seen differently. The task is the ongoing construction of what it means to be Christian. (Marcus Borg) So I'm also adding my voice (though faint and uncertain) to this "unending conversation." I understand that being Christian is about more than “conversation.” Being Christian involves not just
“talk,” but the transformation of our lives. Being Christian isn’t also about getting our beliefs (or our paradigm) “right".

The point is, there is no single right way of understanding Christianity and no single right way of being Christian (except when Christian language is used to legitimate hatred—like the Ku Klux Klan and the White Aryan Nation). But there are many different and legitimate ways of seeing Christianity and being Christian. And for most people, this "emerging" paradigm—because it also strongly affirms the reality of God, the centrality of the Bible, the centrality of Jesus, the importance of a relationship with God as known in Jesus, and our (and the world’s) need for transformation—provides a way of taking Christianity and the Christian life seriously.
 

Paolo

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Oct 10, 2020
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Well said brother! Uncertainty does not necessarily betray a lake of faith, rather doubts have served to foster our ongoing investigation into the meaning of life, especially as understood through the Christian lens. The journey may never end in absolutes, however, it remains a journey worth taking, as it brings with it purpose, meaning and the potential for peace of mind. The answer to questions of absurdity, that beyond the mystery we may find God.
 

LeeB

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Dec 3, 2022
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Romans 14:23 , Hebrews 11:6 , Romans 1:17 , A Christian is taught by the spirit through Jesus and in faith we believe to such a degree that our faith is fact. Romans 12:3