I grew up in church my whole life so I never really doubted about Jesus and the authenticity of the Bible. Also I grew up in faith-affirming environment, where most of the important people around me were all Bible-believing Christians. However, It doesn’t seem to be the case with many young people today. Many of Canadian parents are irreligious so many young Christians are growing in an environment where faith is never talked about. Some begin to question the historicity of stories of the Bible, such as Noah’s ark. As they get hung up on some of these issues, they begin to doubt. What I’ve noticed is that many young Christians feel guilty for having doubts about their faith and Christianity. Many young people leave church because they are sincere about their doubts and doesn’t want to be hypocritical.
I want to say that there is no need to feel guilty for doubting. Because according to English dictionary, doubt is “a feeling” of uncertainty. Doubt is an “emotion”, which is neither good nor bad. It is natural human emotion, being affected by our surroundings and system of thoughts we are used to. I came to realize that it is much harder for today’s young people to come to faith than those from pre-internet generation. After this realization, I began to feel strong empathy toward those who are skeptical or doubtful about Christian faith. I began to understand the critical role of our culture and upbringing on our belief system, which determines one’s willingness and disposition to believe something or not. Of course, there is spiritual reason for doubts as well but doubt itselt doesn’t seem to be the big problem. Then what is the big problem?
One pastor said, “what is toxic to young people’s faith is not doubt – it is ‘unexpressed’ doubt”. I totally agree. For example, anger is not sin but once you harbour it, it easily gets expressed in certain actions that are sinful. Doubt is the same. Doubt is not sin but if it is kept secretly, it will set up a filter in your thought that will prevent you from having a genuine relationship with God. This is why you need a community and spiritual mentor whom you can share this doubt with, knowing that they won’t judge you. It is not wrong to doubt but it dangerous to make decisions based on your own answers to your doubts, without asking anyone. The faith questions you might be struggling within your heart could be one wise answer away from leading you deeper into faith, even if the answer might be “I don’t have answer to that”.