Embracing Doubt


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

So Jason Boyett and I have been talking about the fact that we’re not the only ones writing about doubt these days. In addition to Jason’s memoir, O Me of Little Faith (due out in May), and my memoir, Evolving in Monkey Town (due out in July), Zondervan has re-released John Ortberg’s book on the subject, now entitled Know Doubt.

Either the folks at Zondervan are having a collective faith crisis, or the evangelical community is finally opening up about doubt.

On the blogosphere this week, Scot McKnight posted a letter from a young adult wrestling with doubts about his faith. Scot’s response was absolutely fantastic, and something I desperately wish I had encountered five years ago, when I first started asking serious questions about Christianity.  He recommended a few books that I plan to order on my oh-so-old-school Kindle: The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor and Faith at the Edge by Robert Wennberg.

Also online, check out John Frye’s piece entitled “Doubters Arise!” and the very cool illustrations of David Hayward at NakedPastor.com, from where I got the illustration above, (after buying David a beer, of course). 

And finally, I thought the conversation that followed Monday's post, "Does God Speak to You?" was one of the best we have ever had here, and I was so moved by your stories, many of which included your struggles with doubt.

All of this points to what I hope is a trend toward talking more openly about doubt and acknowledging the vital role it can play in shaping our faith. As I’ve mentioned before, doubt can take two forms—questioning God and questioning what we believe about God. Having experienced both, I know that the first can be destructive, while the second can be enriching and beneficial, though admittedly the line between them can sometimes get blurred.  But I remain convinced that serious doubt, the kind that leads to despair, does not begin when we start asking God questions, but when out of fear, we stop.

What do you think? Are Christians developing a more nuanced attitude toward doubt? Do you feel it is becoming less  taboo to talk openly about your questions about Christianity? Is this a good thing?

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