Friday, May 19, 2006

Faith and Doubt

In today's blog entry by Thomas Adams, there are two quotes, one by the Roman Catholic Cardinal Newman and one by the Protestant Paul Tillich, on the question of faith and doubt. Here is my response:

Good discussion!

A question I have is this: What does Newman mean by "deliberately" entertaining and pursuing a doubt? If it is true that doubt is an experienced reality for all people of faith who are not fanatics, as Tillich persuasively argues, then how much doubt is allowed by Newman before faith and grace are lost?

I love Buechner's discussion of faith and doubt:

“Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don’t have any doubts you are either kidding yourself or asleep.

Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”

Again, as a good Protestant, I claim "the liberty of doubting the truth" of any fallen, finite human being or organization. Along with "Inheritor of Heaven," I see faith as a relationship with God, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Do doubts ever arise? Of course. They are a bite in the pants, a wake up call to question, to seek, to grow, to pray, that no submission to someone else's answers should stifle or cut short. Even when Jesus appeared to his disciples in Galilee in Matthew 28: 16-20 and they were worshipping him, "some doubted." But there is no mention of Jesus casting those doubters out. Instead, he gave them a commission and a promise too. Even when I doubt, Jesus has work for me to do, and he has promised to be with me always.

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