Doubting my doubt in God.
Do you doubt there is a God?
Many young adults struggle with doubt; believing in an omnipresent, omnipotent, monotheistic God seems childish and naive. Many of them begin life with a general belief in God, having been raised going to church, or at least understanding the core concept of divine being. However, many are being assailed with doubts, often fostered throughout college years and early adulthood. Pastor, apologist, and author, Tim Keller, in his book, Making Sense of God, writes about an interaction he had with a young man who found himself here. What this man realized was that doubts could be found in his doubts about God, ultimately leading him to a greater faith (does your head hurt yet)?
Below is a portion taken from Keller's book in regards to his conversation with this man. Discovering the undercurrent of our doubts can have the power to sweep the doubts away completely. Sometimes evidence in God is not found in the proof, but the debunking of our doubts.
Meeting a real atheist who was not an immortal, unhappy misanthrope. This doubt is based on the implicit belief that religious people are saved by God because of their goodness and morality. If that is the case, then atheists by definition ought to be bad and immortal. When he learned the biblical teaching that we are saved only by undeserved grace, not by our mortal character, he realized that there was no reason why an atheist might not be a far better person than a Christian. The belief under his doubt crumbled, and so his doubt went away.
Witnessing a good and faithful believer suffer horribly for no good reason. This doubt stems from a belief that if we human beings can't discern a sufficient reason for an act of God, then there can't be any. My friend came to realize this assumed that, if there was an infinite God, a finite mind should be able to evaluate his motives and plans. He asked himself how reasonable it was to believe that, to have such confidence in his own insight, and the doubt began to erode.
Witnessing corruption or hypocrisy in a religious institution. This might be the most warranted basis for doubting the truth of a particular faith. But my friend realized that the moral standards he was using to judge hypothetical believers came mainly from Christianity itself. 'The worst thing I could say about Christians was that they weren't being Christian enough, but why should they be, if Christianity wasn't true at all?'
Realizing the basic unfairness of the doctrines of hell and salvation. This doubt, my friend said, largely came from the underlying beliefs of his culture. He had a Chinese friend who did not believe in God, but who said that, if he existed, God certainly would have a right to judge people as he saw fit. He then realized that his doubt about hell was based on a very white, Western, democratic, individualistic mind-set that most other people in the world did not share. 'To insist that the universe be run like a Western democracy was actually a very ethnocentric point of view,' he told me.
An unanswerable contradiction or error in the Scripture. This doubt, my friend said, was based on a belief that all religious believers had a naive, uncritical trust in the Bible. 'Since coming to your church I realize that there have been a thousand PhD dissertations written on every single verse, and that for every contention that one verse contradicts another or is an error, there are ten cogent counterpoints.' He rightly lost his faith that he could ever find a difficulty in the Bible that was 'unanswerable.'
Think about the doubts you struggle with, or ones that you have heard from nonbelievers. Any form of doubt is evidence for faith in something else. You can't doubt belief A except on the basis of some belief B you are believing instead at the moment. Spend some time exposing doubts and discerning if they are reasonable. This will help in your making sense of God.
See Tim Keller's other works here.