Being raised in a religious community, I was given a particular understanding of what faith was. Primarily, faith was the amount of certainty one placed in the supernatural. From my Protestant tradition, the most important form the supernatural took was the Bible. So, faith was often equated with how much certainty one placed on the inerrancy of the Bible. Faith was also defined by one’s certainty of “things unseen” — not simply stating that there were things unseen, but that they took a particular form derived from a particular reading of the Bible.
The consequence of measuring faith by one’s certainty is that it defines its opposite as doubt. The more someone doubts the Bible’s claims about the supernatural, the less faith they have — the fewer the doubts, the “stronger” the faith. This so-called strong faith was valued in my communities growing up. Those with strong faiths led in my churches, Christian schools, missionary trips, and social groups. They were role models to be praised and emulated.
An expression of doubt indicated that someone had a weaker faith, that they were “struggling.” And, because the Christian faith was the source of morality, a weak faith would lead to “backsliding” into immoral behavior. Doubts lead to sin, and so they were condemned as a sin. And, as such, doubts were seen as the work of Satan.
A person who expressed doubt was treated with the appearance of love and… [Read more…] about Doubts Are a Serious Problem