The therapeutic nature of doubt. Why doubt doesn’t have to destroy you.
For many years now, I’ve found myself questioning theology. As someone who was raised in Christian Theology that was layered on top of lots of brokenness and delivered by a manipulative and controlling church, I have often had to go back to the root belief and ask myself what’s really true.
It’s so complicated. On one side of my coin of discovery, I am a homeschooling mom and an aspiring farmer. We dive into science. We love it. My older two kids absorb discovering and knowledge of nature like it’s a sixth sense. The more we learn about how nature itself is intertwined and interdependent, how it’s all connected and intelligent, the more I know it could not be an accident. It’s just too profound and intricate. Our minds are complex and fascinating and yet so juvenile when compared to the vast creativity it must have taken to simply imagine creation in it’s entirety. I’m both in awe and overwhelmed by creation and its Creator.
On the flip side, much of the theology of creation is based on scripture. How it came to be. By whom it came to be. Even why it came to be. Each civilization has sculpted their own stories and folklore and many resemble a similar tale.
I must confess. I’ve held my Bible at arm’s length for the last year or so. I’ve held it far enough away that I find myself quoting some of it as principles of truth and then having to step back and ask myself where I learned the principle and was it really true.
My wiring keeps me from making too many absolutes. Just a few moments on FB or Instagram and you can see what people’s leanings are. They have intense absolutes about every situation going on in the media. On one hand, I admire strong convictions delivered without the care of what others think. On the other hand, It makes my heart ache! “You don’t have all the details!!” I think to myself as I scroll past the words that have been carefully constructed into swords.
I know deception is real. People lie for personal gain. People lie to cover their own mistakes. People are just plain mistaken sometimes. People lead others to brokenness because they’re broken!
I’m wired to naturally question and rarely draw permanent conclusions without direct experience. And furthermore, I’m actually wired to hold my conclusions to myself until absolutely necessary. So perhaps I’m wired for self-discovery as well.
I have, however, found that questioning one’s faith is scary. I don’t want to get lost in deception or lack of information so I put out all that I can’t explain for now. Like a dog barking at the door…. I let the conflict go outside for a short time and I focus on what I do know. I don’t send the dog off to the pound. I just give him some time to go play in the yard.
There are parts of scripture that cut my conscience deep with utter disagreement…. “they can’t possibly mean that…” So I wonder about the actual moment in time it was written and to whom it was written specifically. And then at times, I wonder what the facts are about the construction of the Bible itself. Why were those letters and writings crafted together and others left out? Who really decided that? Was it man? Holy guidance? Then there’s the new knowledge of the language. Understanding the “dead languages” leads to different understandings of the Bible. Which completely null and void principles that some denominations were fabricated on!
So as the dog plays in the yard… (metaphorically of course) I wrestle. I process. I ask. I have found that when you ask. You get answers. Ones that no theology can build or tear down. If God is as big a being to have intimately designed such a detailed world, He can by no means be summed up in a book or even the 66 books found in the modern Protestant Bible.
Doubt has been touted as a bad thing for a very long time. I even quote things sometimes about self doubt. But without doubt how would we ever discover? Doubt is merely hypothesizing that something may not be true or complete. So we have to do our due diligence and gather more information. It doesn’t have to wreck us that parts of our world view are wrong. It can, instead, inspire the beauty of the unknown. Even if parts of your foundation become nothing more than wreckage…. put on your spectacles of revelation and find the beauty.
I believe with all of my being that if we seek truth, real and absolute truth we’ll find it. Some paths are longer than others. The key is being open. When we construct walls to protect ourselves we risk shutting out the truth.. It’s like trying to rub lotion on your hands while wearing gloves. The gloves were meant to protect your hands from harm… but they keep the lotion out too.
I must add some clarity to the journey though. Being open to truth does not have to be a deep dive into every world religion till one speaks to you. You don’t have to become a scholar to experience truth. You do however, have to seek.