Let’s be clear from the beginning, the opposite of doubt is not faith. The opposite of doubt is arrogance. The arrogance that our beliefs and understanding are completely and unassailablly correct. When we doubt in a religious context it is not God we doubt, it is our understanding of God.
This is a good thing.
Without doubt there is no growth. If we cannot set aside our beliefs and at the very least question them then we will not be able to accept new understandings of God and our place in Him.
Thus the quote from Rachel Held Evans is so vitally important and so utterly false. False in the sense that the average person does not want the church to be a safe place for doubt. The average person wants the church to be a place of assurance, of definition, of absolutes. Although this may not be the case with Millennials.
It is vitally important because it would help the church become a more authentic place. I would love for there to be a place to ask questions about God that was safe in the context of the Church. I have questions. I doubt my understanding. I doubt relieved wisdom. I believe that keeps me in a place where I can grow.
As a pastor and minister I have for years had people come to me on occasion with questions. These people rarely want me to sit down and wrestle with the issue with them. They want reassurance of what they are “supposed” to believe. That is OK if that is where they are, but if there was more of an atmosphere of seeking and questioning then I think they would be better prepared to deal with those issues.
I don’t typically air my doubts in public. It goes back to Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians about not causing the weaker brother to stumble. I do however, share the things I feel I have learned from doubting. Doubting has given me a better understanding of scripture, the church, and my relationship to God.
I am willing to doubt. I am willing to entertain your doubts and talk with you, not to you, about them. That is true whether you are a member of my congregation or not.
Doubt is a Virtue.