If you’re like every human being on the face of the earth, you sometimes doubt what you think you know. It’s part of what’s known as the human condition, and being finite. We can only know so much. There is in fact much more that we don’t know, way much more, than we do know. One of the nine ideas I explore in my book is epistemology, which is the study of knowing, what we know, how we come to know it, etc. If a person doesn’t doubt what they believe they know (no matter what it may be—doubt is not a religious concept), I don’t question their humanity, I question their sanity! A person who thinks they don’t experience doubt is deluded.
As for me, I’m terribly human. Just ask my family. So of course I experience doubt. Sometimes I doubt if I should go to a doctor for a nagging ache somewhere in my body I just know is cancer—of course I doubt that too! Or I doubt if I should lease a new car. Or I doubt if I should cook for dinner, or do take out. Mundane stuff all, but proof that doubt is a fundamental fact of human existence. What, though, if I doubt big things, like God’s existence?
My first question to such a question is, why wouldn’t I doubt it! I can’t “see” God, and we live in a culture where God is persona non grata. In almost every product of popular culture, media, and education, God is really invisible. That’s why it’s so easy for people to be agnostic, atheist, or apathetic (the Triple A’s I call them) in Western culture. Those who try to insert God into the picture are often treated as strange, weird, or just downright anti-social. So should it surprise us that doubt about God’s existence sometimes creeps into our own consciousness? I’d wonder about you if it didn’t!
For me, it sometimes happens when I’m praying or in church and the thought passes through my brain that maybe, just maybe, I’m praying to the air, and that’s it. Or maybe all these people around me have been duped, and we’re all singing to and worshiping a make-believe deity. As these thoughts shoot through my mind, almost reflexively I’ll look out the window, and a contrary, much more powerful thought comes to me: this cannot all be an accident! You’re telling me that chance can explain all the beauty and complexity and purpose we find in nature? Really? I just don’t have that much faith to believe such an absurdity.
I read apiece recently about the amazing, incredible, almost unbelievable fine tuning of the universe. This is an exciting time to be alive for Christians because the more our scientific knowledge grows, the more plausible does our trust in the Bible’s message become. This was not supposed to happen, to say the least. Secularists have been predicting for over 200 years that science would eventually make religion a curiosity among the enlightened of the world’s inhabitants. Exactly the opposite is happening. Read the piece about fine tuning, and I dare anyone to tell me with a straight face that this is all sheer coincidence.
As I tell my kids all the time, there are only three, count ’em, three options to explain reality. People think there are all kinds of philosophies and religion, zillions it seems, all kinds of options to explain reality, and it’s all so confusing so why even try, bla, bla, bla. But there are really only THREE! Pantheism: God is everything, but it fails to explain persons and thus fails in explanatory power. Atheism explains absolutely nothing and fails even more spectacularly than pantheism to explain reality as we find it. So the only other option, the ONLY one is theism. And of the theistic religions, only Christianity explains personhood in its doctrine of the Trinity. So feel free to doubt, but know this, when you do you can just open your eyes to what God has provided us to trust him, now and forever.