On a Facebook thread I’m currently following concerning the need for good apologetics, as nonexistent apologetics and intellectual doubts are contributing to many leaving the Christian faith, someone made this comment:

No one leaves the faith for intellectual reasons. Those who left were never of us 1 John 2:19.

I am upset, but more so deeply heartbroken by this person’s statement, as it demonstrates both his ignorance and a lack of grace.

Review of the Past Year

I feel like I can speak on these things with some authority, as I’ve been there before.

This time last year, I had renounced the Christian faith and identified as a deconvert who attended church only because of familial obligations and fear of repercussions. I had both emotional and intellectual reasons for leaving the faith. I spoke honestly with more Christians during that time than I had my entire life as a believer.

I had people respond to my stance as the gentleman above did, including one brute who told me that because of my doubt, I never knew God and needed to repent. I had good Christian friends who, once they learned of my disbelief, decided they’d rather throw away our friendship than be associated with an unbeliever. Yet, I had other Christian friends who patiently, and with much grace, loved me right where I was and answered any and every question I could think of. (Shout out to Pastor Doug for his patience, wit, and kindness! And to Paul C, Michael P, and Timothy M also, for answering both my intellectual and emotional doubts!) They loved me back to the Gospel and I am grateful for their presence in my life.

Addressing the Naysayers

Let me get this out of the way first: I am not encouraging senseless doubt of God simply for the sake of doubting. There is a difference between that kind of doubt and doubting with a purpose.

Contrary to popular belief, there are intellectual reasons for doubting the nature, character, and motive of God (e.g. The Problem of Evil). Granted, none of those reasons are ultimately good or sustainable for continued disbelief in and of God, but they do exist.

1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to “honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (HCSB).” Note that the Scripture doesn’t specify “reason.” Not a “only if I think this is a legitimate, valid concern” reason or a “this has to line up with my interpretation and view of Scripture before I answer” reason. No, you and I are to give a defense if asked for any reason for our hope in Christ.

A Final Word of Advice

Do not push away or give easy, Christianese pet answers to the kid in your church wondering why he should believe the Bible as opposed to the Qur’an or Book or Mormon. Do not scoff at the college sophomore and tell her she just “needs to have more faith” that God will “work everything out for her good” when she wonders where God is after life throat-punches her repeatedly. Give them a reason for your hope without invalidating their questions and experiences, without being an intellectual snob, and do so in and with the love of Christ.

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    3 replies to "If You Were a REAL Christian, You Wouldn’t Doubt (Part 2): Is There A Reason to Doubt God, Ever?"

    • Asa

      Can you tell us more about this? I’d care to find out
      more details.

      • Rulonda JaBrey

        Re: Asa

        Sure, I’d be happy to give more details. What specifically are you wanting to know more about?

    • peter

      Thank you for sharing. I recently wrote something about this problem in the church:

      It’s not just high school and college kids that are struggling with doubts and questions. What two Christian artists can tell us about the state of the church and Christianity:

      John Mark McMillan

      This musician, “…has stated in interviews that he had difficulty in finishing his newest, titled Mercury & Lightning, due to a crisis of faith that required him to deconstruct his faith and then reconstruct it.”
      https://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/cdreviews/MercuryandLightning.asp

      In the BadChristian Podcast #304 (found https://soundcloud.com/bcpod): He discussed a period of time when he was questioning God, struggling with faith- faith life crisis, how Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) pressures Christian artists to use specific words, sounds, lyrics in their songs, how to be a popular CCM artist, musician has to remember that people want to hear what they want to hear and they don’t really want to be challenged, how he felt like he had or had to have all the answers to life but now, is more empathetic.

      In Podcast #410, he further discusses how doubt can allow one to see yourself in new way and other people too-those who also doubt and are of different beliefs. He explains how now he sees and practices Christianity as a discipline, how every one you meet has something to teach you, how it’s okay to not have all answers and to not know everything about God or life.

      Gungor

      Michael Gungor and his wife Lisa have discussed their spiritual doubts and journey and how their church (and many Christians) have reacted.

      In the interview, The Evolving Faith of Lisa Gungor by Tyler Huckabee, Lisa says: ‘“We went to this very wild, charismatic church, and the church was exciting and the way of Jesus was revolutionary to me. And I had little questions, but you weren’t really allowed to ask them.”

      And for a long time, that didn’t bother her. Or at the very least, she didn’t know it bothered her. But not long after she and her now-husband started dating, the questions became harder for either of them to ignore.

      “I think when we’re not allowed to ask these questions it creates this tension in our faith,” she says. “When you finally are able to ask them, it collapses. Our whole lives revolved around [Christianity]. And it was wonderful that as we began to travel more, those questions that we both had from a young age just kept gnawing at us, and we started digging to the bottom of them. In the tribe we were born into, these questions weren’t really allowed. Doubt was the opposition of faith. And so [if you doubt], you’re seen as a bad person. So, I felt like I was a bad person for questioning. That made this perspective shift really difficult and painful. We ended up getting kicked out of the ‘Church’ for some of the beliefs that we had.”’ (https://relevantmagazine.com/issues/issue-94/the-evolving-faith-of-lisa-gungor)

      See also: https://relevantmagazine.com/current/why-are-people-so-upset-about-what-gungor-said; https://relevantmagazine.com/issues/issue-94/the-evolving-faith-of-lisa-gungor/; BadChristian Podcast # 26, 110, 262, 301 at https://soundcloud.com/bcpod; https://world.wng.org/2014/08/gungor_drifts_from_biblical_orthodoxy; https://www-christianpost-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.christianpost.com/amp/gungor-i-dont-believe-in-god-anymore-227508/?usqp=mq331AQECAFYAQ%3D%3D&amp_js_v=0.1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

      I am convinced that everyone doubts to some extent (Christians and non-Christians) but few actually admit it. Christians; however, seem to be pressured by other Christians and churches to not have any questions or doubts. Many are being told that, “God is good and everything is awesome, so if you don’t believe this all the time, then something is wrong with you. You really don’t believe or you are not mature in your faith like you should be.” And if you do have doubts and questions, then you need to leave the church.

      In my experience, metal bands seem more open and willing (and free) to talk about and address these issues and struggles that no one else wants to.

      You won’t hear about these issues on pop radio, Christian or secular. Instead, what you will mostly hear is thinks like, “God is good and everything is awesome”. However, for some reason the metal genre tends to address these deeper issues that most Christian bands and churches avoid. Most “Christian” songs and sermons today promote (intentionally or not) that we should just ignore our true feelings .

      A lot of Christian music comes off like: “God is good and everything is awesome, so if you don’t believe this all the time, then something is wrong with you. You really don’t believe (are not a Christian) or you are not mature in your faith like you should be.”

      Contrast this with bands like Convictions
      https://genius.com/artists/Convictions

      From an interview: ““We were really drawn to being in a Christian band because we feel there is a message that isn’t being portrayed in the scene. Lots of Christian bands give a message that kind of just preaches to the choir,” says guitarist Josh Canode. “Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we wanted to do something different that everyone can relate to; talk about touchy subjects that Christian bands don’t talk about and show people that they aren’t the only ones who go through really rough issues in life. We are imperfect people, and we want that to show in our music. As a band, we want to be as real and honest as possible, and never fake.” “Through our lyrics you can see it’s not easy. We’re just like everyone else, living in the same kind of world everyone else is but we know through our convictions we can find hope in Jesus.”
      https://substreammagazine.com/2014/04/convictions-if-you-dont-know-its-time-you-do-interview

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