October 12, 2014

GOD HAVING DOUBTED HIMSELF, HOW COULD WE NOT?:

Faith and Doubt (Peter Wehner, 10.10.2014, Commentary)

The New York Times recently published an op-ed by Julia Baird praising Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, for telling an audience at Bristol Cathedral that there are moments in which he asks, "Is there a God? Where is God?"

When pressed if he harbored doubt, Welby answered, "It is a really good question.... The other day I was praying over something as I was running, and I ended up saying to God, 'Look, this is all very well, but isn't it about time you did something, if you're there?' Which is probably not what the archbishop of Canterbury should say."

I'm not so sure. Many people I know, including some very gifted ministers, have struggled with such doubts. So did C.S. Lewis, the greatest apologist for the Christian faith in the 20th century. (The doubts came in the immediate aftermath of the death of his wife Joy Davidman.) And one of the formative figures in my own Christian pilgrimage, Malcolm Muggeridge, told William F. Buckley, Jr., "I rather believe in doubt. It's sometimes thought that it's the antithesis of faith, but I think it's connected with faith - something that actually St. Augustine said - like, you know, reinforced concrete and you have those strips of metal in the concrete which make it stronger."

"The only people I've met in this world who never doubt are materialists and atheists," Muggeridge added. "But for me, at any rate, doubt has been an integral part of coming to faith." That is certainly the case for me, which might explain, in part, my early affinity for Muggeridge. The journey to faith was not a neat and tidy affair for me.

The author Philip Yancey points out that the Bible includes many examples of doubt. In some cases, like Job, God honors doubt. And for Christians, of course, there are the words uttered by Jesus on the Cross: "My God, My God, why hast though forsaken me?"

"Evidently God has more tolerance of doubt than most churches," Yancey writes. 

To not doubt requires not thinking. It is the province of the ideologues, not the faithful.

Posted by at October 12, 2014 10:05 AM
  

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