Doubt is a double edged sword.
It creates tension in the moment, because doubt by its very nature is apprehensive and questioning. This apprehension and questioning is in turn insecure. And this insecurity is where the tension lies. An insecurity, even one so subtly masked as doubt, follows the path of discontent, because we are wired to want to know the truth.
But there is an advantage to doubt as well – the other side of the double edged sword. That advantage?
Doubt can lead to seeking the truth.
And if doubt leads to seeking, which leads to truth, then the temporary discomfort of the tension of doubt is more than worth the permanent relief of faith in the answer when you find it.
My own journey attests to this truth.
I didn’t grow up in a religious home. I attended Catholic school until 4th grade, and was baptized in the process, but this was a mere formality to appease my devout grandmother. After she passed away when I was 10 years old, I rarely stepped foot in a church outside of Christmas and Easter, and I certainly don’t recall giving any thought to the truth or untruth of religion as a whole.
I’ll spare you the details of the next 22 years of my life, but they ultimately led to some severe points of tension for me – the tension of doubt.
While I certainly don’t consider myself an intellectual in the truest sense, I do consider myself a practical learner and seeker – someone that tries to live by what is real and testable, and driven to learn what is truth.
Many of the Christians I knew in my life had led me to these points of tension.
They seemed to live on faith alone, not on evidence, and this bothered me to no end. How can someone believe something on faith, without taking the appropriate steps to learn what is real? That’s how I approached every other topic in my life – nutrition, fitness, habits, personal development – but this approach didn’t appear to be applied to religion by the Christians I knew.
And so I lived in the tension for too long.
But that tension ultimately led me to seeking, and that seeking ultimately led me to what’s known as “Christian apologetics,” defined as reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something.
I had found my people.
In Christian apologetics I found archaeologists, scientists, anthropologists, and professors whose sole occupations in life were to seek the truth. The discovery of Christian apologetics led me to realize that I can approach religion much like I approach every other area of my life, reading and researching the available information and making a case for my beliefs based on that information.
My doubt had led to my apprehension. This apprehension led to my insecurity. This insecurity led to tension. And this tension led to seeking.
I’m grateful beyond measure for stumbling upon Christian apologetics. And because of this, I must also be grateful beyond measure for the doubt that led me there.
Doubt should almost always lead to seeking. Because when we doubt, but we don’t seek, we choose to not pursue the truth. And that’s not just for religion. That’s for life.
Doubt should be a nudge to dig deeper. We wouldn’t be wired with the ability to doubt if we weren’t supposed to know the truth. But we are.
When in doubt, seek. And seek until you land on your answer.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.