First of all, doubt is hell. Spiritual doubt robs you of your foundation. Inside you sense emptiness, frequently followed by dread; a form of panic, which alternates with long periods of absolute exhaustion. But I have called this A Christian Reflects on her Doubt because in that title there is some hope. I have not moved to dwelling in or identifying with doubt. I so desperately want to remain a Christian. But I cannot continue in the very narrow worldview I have struggled to believe for all these years. I crave and must have – yes, MUST HAVE – something deeper, broader, more freeing. I long for a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ. I want Him to be All to me – my foundation, my reason for being, the one who gets me up in the morning, the one without whom I can do nothing. But before I continue, let me just see if this actually comes out looking like a blog …
So, I don’t really know why this is coming out as a long single column, which might be annoying for some. As a woman over fifty, I am not steeped in the technological tradition.
I’ve been through all this doubt before. It leaves me paralysed, unable to access the wellspring of life. Because the issue is not with understanding the Christian faith, it is not with God Himself, it is that my own FAITH, that silver thread that connects us with the entire wealth of spiritual reality, seems to be gone. The issue is FAITH. I have none. Or very little. Perhaps, perhaps, some … about the size of a mustard seed. I would call it a faint hope, more than faith.
I read a quote once that helped me in my last round of paralysing loss of faith; “Faith is hope, holding it hand out in the dark.” Might not mean much to some but it meant a lot to me at the time. ie Hope is foundational to faith, it just goes one step further … sometimes very tentatively.
So what happened to the rest of my thoughts? I rambled on for at least another two paragraphs of fine writing! Wherein I elucidated on the nature of my doubt – the dualism inherent in the Bible, Jesus’ own apparent confirmation of this dualistic understanding of reality, a dualism that at times seems to literally tear me apart. It seems to have gone.
I have continued in the fundamentalist tradition – my church, my friends – while knowing for a long time that my own views were changing. I am drawn to a mystical understanding of Christianity, of Oneness, wholeness, unity. Am afraid of losing Jesus, or at least, of losing my faith in Him … I cannot live without Him! Yet one or two conversations with some sceptics who place their faith in science alone has sent my faith crashing to the ground, once again. I ask myself, is all this Christianity inherent in the writings of the mystics just their interpretation of human consciousness, couched in the language of their times and cultures? Is it all just human consciousness? Is even this more mystical understanding of Christ and His church going to be blown away, too?
Surely not. No, surely not.