I understand you having doubts. I understand having doubts because I’ve had many. I’ve questioned the existence of God. I’ve questioned the character of God. I’ve questioned if Jesus was God incarnate. I’ve questioned what’s in the Bible. I’ve questioned if faiths other than Christianity were true. I’ve questioned if atheism were true. I’ve doubted these things very, very strongly at times, and at times the questions I’ve had enveloped my mind fully, and tore at my heart.
I doubt there’s anything you doubt about God, the Bible, Jesus, creation, or anything you doubt that I haven’t doubted. If there are any doubts you have that I haven’t considered I’ll probably get to them.
I doubt, and question, because that’s the way I am. Call it what you like, critical thinking, an open mind, being logical, or just being careful with this life that I have, wanting to live it to the fullest, most meaningful and productive way I can. Living it in the most truthful way I can, my human faults notwithstanding. I think we can both agree that these are good things. I hope so.
I’m not ashamed to admit I have had, and likely will have more doubts or at least questions about this faith I hold to. John the Baptist, who was Jesus harbinger as well as cousin, had his own doubts about who Jesus was, despite his previous personal experience with Jesus. When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him “Are you the One who was to come, or should we expect somebody else?”. I’m in good company.
You may be thinking I’m wrong to characterize you as having doubts. You may be thinking “I don’t doubt that there is a God, I’m sure there isn’t”. Maybe you don’t have doubts. I would suggest to you that doubting is healthy, that doubting what we believe–or don’t–is a vital and important part of life, and loving and seeking truth. Stagnation of the heart or mind is a terrible thing, and a waste of who we are, or could become.
I would also suggest that as human beings we are all prone to bias. At our best, and sometimes with help, we’re prone to bias but not tethered by it, not held back by bias.
See, bias can, as it always does, blind us to the truth, or stop us from seeking it. Sometimes in ways we don’t even realize, because, again, bias blinds us. We may investigate or research a subject, and then when we find information or evidence that agrees with our bias we’ll stop right there, not going any further, and setting aside the possibility that there may be information or evidence that disagrees with our bias. Walking away, sometimes running, from the possibility that the beliefs of our bias could be wrong. That WE could be wrong.
I would ask, implore you even, to consider–without bias–earnestly and thoroughly investigating and researching the aspects of Christianity. This may entail researching information put forth by “the other side”, and an abundance of it. This may entail conversation with learned Christian apologists. This may be hard to do. And sometimes, having an open heart is much harder an engagement than having an open mind. But both are necessary if we are to authentically seek truth.
Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with Christians. I would think it’s quite likely. Join the club. I, and every Christian, has had bad experiences with Christians. I and every Christian is guilty of being part of, of causing a bad experience. We’re human, with all the faults and frailties that come with being so. We call it sin, or having a sinful nature. To say otherwise is to let our ego lie to you and to ourselves. And to God. Make no mistake, those lies have been told. To say otherwise is, again, to lie to you, ourselves and God. If you were to tell me you have not been the cause of someone’s bad experience, I would not believe you. I think it’s fair to believe that our human nature is on equal ground; that is, that we’re both far from perfect. Our imperfections will have similarities, and we also will have our own unique imperfections; the point is we have them nonetheless.
Allow me to make this statement: You are loved. You may not believe me; you may have had personal experiences that lead you to think otherwise; or perhaps you may have a bias that prevents you from believing it, but it is true.
You are not my enemy. Even if you want to be. Even if you insist on trying to be. Even if other Christians acted as if you were. Even if other Christians acted as if they were your enemy. The reason for this is that I see you as God sees you: precious, no matter what you say, no matter what you do. Because of this, I cannot hate you, even if you try to make me hate you.
I know it’s unlikely that you’ll believe this now, but Jesus loves you too. More than you can conceive. So let me put it to you this way: If there is the possibility, even if you think it’s remote, of there being a love so great as to be infinite and nearly inconceivable, a love so abundant that it inspires and compels the heart of a sinful man like me to love someone I don’t even know and who might even hate me, or at least what I represent, isn’t that love worth investigating? If love is the highest and best thing in the universe, isn’t it rational to seek out such a love?
The great challenge is to doubt that which we think is undoubtable, and question that which we think is unquestionable. We must ask ourselves if we’ve done that. I’m asking you to do so.