I wished I’d known that it was normal to admit I doubted my faith in Jesus. When thoughts of doubt and unbelief began to hit me, it seemed almost sacrilegious to admit them, not to myself and definitely, not to God or anyone else.
I thought that by ignoring the doubts, they’d just go away.
It unsettled me that my mind would question a doctrine that the church has believed for centuries and thousands of years. It was hard to disbelief a book which has shaped history and changed millions of lives.
The real bone of contention was the doctrine of Hell, followed by the historicity of Jesus Christ.
It later spilled to include reflections on the lack of transformation in so many professing Christians, the evils and untold suffering in the world, and the so many wolves in sheep's clothing on the pulpits and Christian airwaves.
When I refused to admit that I doubted my faith, the doubts took root. They won’t go away.
I couldn’t talk to anyone who knew me. How? How could I doubt my faith in Jesus? I’d been saved and baptized for years, been active in the church, and had people who looked up to me.
I sought answers in Archeology but found nothing tangible that could ease my doubts away. Historical accounts could not convince me. My mind would go, “What if some Christian defender wrote that?”
Then one day, my doubts reached a climax and brought me to a halt. Just stifled my spiritual life and almost killed it.
During the crisis, when I read the Bible, it made no sense. Instead, I saw doubt and unbelief on every page. “Is this account true? Did this narrative really happen? How does this even make sense?”
Then I would remember skeptics and atheists’ comments and arguments I’d seen on social media. And the more I would doubt my faith.
Unable to silence these nagging thoughts, I sank into
I just wanted out. If Christianity was a hoax, I wanted nothing to do with it.
When I prayed, it sounded foolish. It seemed I was talking to myself. There was no God. No, there was a God, for all this vast creation and unbelievable creatures could not have just happened. There must be a God.
“But is he my own God or he's another God that Christianity has vilified?”
“If there was a God who loved me, why had he not answered this or that prayer?”
I was on the verge of quitting when I prayed something like, “Lord, I just want to ask you something. I’m not coming from the angle of a skeptic or God-hater. I just want to know. How can this be true? How can I know for sure you are the true God and the Bible is your Word? How can a good God send people to hell, even people who’ve never heard of Jesus?”
Nothing happened. It felt like I still talked into space.
As I returned to the house, I just had this thought to read books by Ravi Zacharias. I’d never seen or read his books. But I knew him as a Christian apologist.
I was not enthusiastic about reading him, but I was equally tired of having doubts wreck my mind and my body.
I still haven’t read many of Ravi Zacharias’s books, but the ones I started reading, like Who Made God and Beyond Opinion answered some of my questions and helped me to approach scriptures in a different light—no longer looking for what to disbelief, but learning to see and hear God through His Word.
It made me realize the importance of Christian apologetics and appreciate the effort these men of God have put to defend the Christian faith.
With my doubts flying out the window, I went back to a fervent prayer life. Once again, I began to enjoy those quiet times. I went to the closet burdened and left refreshed, filled with joy and peace.
Then it hit me that the spiral down to doubt and depression had resulted from a poor prayer life. When I communed with God, talking to Him and hearing Him talk to me, it was hard to doubt the existence of a loving God.
I knew Him, I could recognize His voice, I could see Him at work in my life.
I could reflect on the doctrine of Hell and instead of being repulsed, I’d believe God knows better than I do. In hindsight, it would make sense.
This reminds me of an exchange I had with someone online. He identified as a Christian but disliked much of modern Christianity, a worried I shared with him.
But, he took offense that I could be this sure Christianity is the right way and all other religions are wrong. He asked me for anti-homosexual stances, and when I quoted scriptures to him, he wasn’t satisfied.
Lost for words, I just said, “I know God. He talks to me and I talk to Him.”
The exchange didn’t end well because this man said something about wanting an intellectual discourse, but found me ‘closed-minded.’
A prayerless Christian life would soon go looking for evidence of God in sources that can’t give you a comfortable answer.
Even though apologists do great work in defending the faith, individually your enjoyment of life in Christ is rooted in your walk with Him in prayer and word study.
If many young ones are turning away from Christianity today, it is because beneath the lighted stage and excellent music, they haven’t come into or been introduced to a living relationship with a living God.
I came to conclude that even if someone can convince me beyond doubt that Christianity is mere fantasy, hopeful fantasy, I’d still embrace Christianity, I would still love the ‘fictional’ Jesus.
I love the peace and joy I enjoy. I love the prayer moments. I get excited when God comes through for me.
The Bible has changed more lives positively than any other book. Marriages healed, addictions gone, transformed lives and communities.
The hypocrisy in the church is not the fault of the Bible. It is the fault of those who refuse to pattern their lives after the teachings of Jesus Christ but would pay lip service to it.
If you’ve never doubted your faith in Jesus, you may not know the confusion and pain of those who do.
People say things like, “You stopped going to church because of hypocrites, why don’t you stop going to the market or other public places where there are also hypocrites.”
I could write another post on that, but that’s as insensitive as it can be. A person doubting their faith doesn’t find that as encouragement.
They need honest answers, not indirect rebukes. People don’t go to church for the same reason they’d go to a market or a party!
Before someone walks away from the faith, they’ve been living a ‘lie’ for long. All the years I doubted my faith, I was still this outwardly active Christian girl. If I announced one day that I was no longer a Christian, my ‘sudden’ departure would have shocked many people.
This has taught me to be less judgmental of people who walk away or take a back seat to examine the claims of Christianity. If nothing else, these people need compassion, not criticism.
I won’t force believe down an atheist’s throat. If they knew God, they would not disbelieve His existence.
“Faith is a matter of belief: you either believe or you don’t.”
Well, our minds are not exempt from the believing process. Many people are in bondage because they won’t voice their doubts and be helped. They are afraid of being misunderstood; they are afraid of being criticized.
I encourage you to talk to someone else. Seek help. Read books like the one I cited above. Your first line of action shouldn’t be to walk away.
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