I am a Christian. I come from a Christian family and live in the Bible Belt. I’ve been a member of the same Southern Baptist church since I learned the words to “Jesus Loves Me” in preschool.
I write for Christian magazines, my books get assigned to Amazon’s Religion & Spirituality > Christianity category, and I can rattle off the names of the Old Testament minor prophets faster than I can recall the names of the Kardashians.
But there are some days when I’m not entirely sure I believe in God.
That’s a confession I’ve grown more comfortable making over the last few months, but I do it with fear and trembling. These days, certainty seems as fundamental to evangelical Christianity as the cross. Any admission of its opposite–doubt–still has the power to shock.
Other human weaknesses have gone mainstream. Consider lust, for example. After reading my most recent book about my own struggles to believe, a male college student told me he’d sooner admit a porn addiction to his church than acknowledge he doubted the existence of God.
Like lust, adultery doesn’t surprise us either. It happens to high-profile televangelists like Benny Hinn and it happens to the guy in the next pew. We’ll forgive dishonesty and hypocrisy, too. Ted Haggard fell fast and hard, but he’s back with a new church and ministry.
But doubt is different. In a world of messed-up Christians, you don’t find many admitting it publicly. I’ve heard of Pentecostal churches asking doubters to exit their prayer services, fearing they could limit God’s willingness to act. One reader told me she couldn’t read my book in front of her family members. She worried what they might think.
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