Dealing with Doubts (vi)

26 06 2010

Four temptations; the temptation to feel isolated, to share your doubts to an inappropriate level, to become stubborn or superior, and to stop going to church.

But then Jesus arrives. He doesn’t scold Thomas, or ridicule him, or even praise the other disciples for being better followers than him. But he is firm with Thomas. And his encouragement is this in verse 27, ‘Do not disbelieve, but believe.’

Is that an order? Kind of. Part order, part encouragement, but filled with passion and urgency. Note this: You don’t instruct people to do something they have no control over! In other words, Thomas really did have a choice. He could choose to carry on in disbelief, or to believe.

Jesus’ encouragement to Thomas is:

‘Don’t entertain false beliefs one moment longer! Don’t pander to your feelings of self-pity, or your self-righteous feelings of superiority. Don’t allow stubbornness to control you one minute longer. Instead, take steps towards belief.’

Let me give you six encouragements from the example of Thomas:

1) Jesus offers evidence

Jesus didn’t scold Thomas for asking for evidence! He didn’t say:

‘you should just believe me! You don’t need evidence! Where’s your faith?’

He held out his hands.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions of our faith and expecting good, rational answers. Read books on apologetics, ask questions of preachers, go on an Alpha course!

Sometimes we can feel dreadful about asking questions, because we think:

‘I’ve been a Christian 12 years, I shouldn’t be asking these basic questions.’

There is nothing wrong with asking questions. There is nothing wrong with seeking answers. It amazes me how some Christians can think that apologetics and reason are somehow the opposite to true faith. Nonsense. Look at the very end of John 20, verse 31: ‘These [signs] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’

In other words, if you want to know the truth about Jesus, and discover whether it’s rational to be a Christian, then this book is written for you.

Don’t despise evidence. Seek it out.

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