AFL Blog Last days of Lent: Certainty and Doubt

Hey guys, just wanted to share with you more of a statement to ponder. Maybe you’ll agree with it, maybe you wont. Perhaps you will in part. I’m just going to throw it out there for the sake of discussion and wonderment. I have gathered this from some recent AFL sessions and have boiled it down to this, followed by some simple questions:


For generations doubt has been shunned in the Church. The Christian faith (at least in modern times) has been built on absolute certainty. Doubt was seen, taught, and believed to be dangerous. However, doubt has a consistent place in Scripture, and in more recent times (post-modernity, if you will) doubt has been more embraced by Christians, and we have found that doubt can be good, for it leads us to seek truth and if we seek we find (Matt 7:7). Still, the Church holds that it is certain on some things. I pose a question to you, now: “What is more dangerous, certainty or doubt?”

People can be absolutely certain that tiny green men from Mars are watching you through your tv. People can be absolutely certain that if they will die if they ride public transport, or eat carrots, or if they don’t turn the lights off and on 13 times before entering a room. They know these things are true, even if they aren’t. Absolute certainty can be equated to a psychotic break. Not only that, people used to be absolutely certain that the earth was flat, and that black people were more closely related to animals and were therefore treated like animals. Some people have been absolutely certain that so and so killed someone, and after being sentenced and put to death find out it wasn’t so and so after all. People overcome with absolute certainty – like psychotic breaks – have no ability to distance themselves or question what they know.

Through out the history of the Church, we have claimed to have answers, if not all the answers, and all truth. That claim can be dangerous – we’ve seen this through religious wars, for example. Think back to C.S. Lewis’ short story, Light. You can’t grasp the Light! It’s everywhere, it’s all around you, but it’s unattainable. You can’t hold it or grab it, yet it shines and leads the way, it gives you warmth, and sustains life. In the same way, we can’t ascertain all truth. We can’t grasp all the answers. There has to be a balance between our doubt and our certainty which allows for us to seek, and ask, and to knock in order to find, receive and open doors (Matt 7:7).


How balanced is your faith? Is it faith seeking understanding, or faith understood? Do you allow yourself to doubt anything? If so, what have you doubted, or currently doubt? What things do you hold absolutely certain? What are the dangers of absolute religious certainty and doubt?

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