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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Despite Doubt: Skepticism

Despite Doubt: Skepticism

            “I doubt it,” the young child said to his friend who told him a story about a person who lived in a certain house that was really a ghost or a witch or really mean to children. Doubt is a part of our questioning the world. But when told something as a fact, do we often question “Are you sure?” It is raising doubt again and also whether you trust the source of the information at all.
Skepticism has risen around the world as we seek answers to the world around us and in us. The world has become more secular that is away from God but whether the people return to God is yet to be seen.  We are living in a different time when skepticism seems to override belief. We seem to start from skepticism and will only believe in God if we find enough evidence to prove His existence. We still may believe in God but we must fight our way there. Why is it so difficult to believe today? Why does the Christian faith seem like it is merely one option among many and how did we get here?
Modern science was based on a biblical worldview. People were given authority to ‘rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’(Genesis 1:28) Scientists have lead us to study all matters but in some ways these achievements {might} have cost us spiritually. The more power we gained over nature, the less we thought we needed God.  “We studied nature because God commanded us, but we got so good at it we supposed we could take His place.” (p.20)
            People believed in God to watch over us but lived far away and did not interfere with our lives. The belief that God no longer intervened in our world spread. And with it our dependence on God seems to have been displaced. Skepticism arises. We want to believe in God; we just don’t think we can. We are skeptical of God.

REFLECT for a moment and respond:
Are you skeptical about God’s existence? What causes you to think God is no longer present in this world? What enables you to believe? Do you think that modern science has lead us to become skeptical of God’s existence? Why?

Wonderful God we pray to you without a doubt that you exist but there seems to be skepticism as to how you exist today. Do you inspire our scientists to discover new things about your creation? Do you merely provide the world and walk away? Enable us to understand from where you came, where you are right now and help us to dispel the doubt and believe in you so that we may trust you to light our way in this life and in the next. Be with us we pray. Amen.

Michael E Wittmer, Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith ch.2

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith

Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith

            Everyone has doubt because each one of us question possibilities and further thinking. We can ask questions which in the long run help us to understand and question further what it is we are talking about or investigating. But when there is doubt, there is also a far reaching experiencing to growth and knowledge. Doubts are essentially questions and since asking questions is the only path to finding answers, you should go ahead and doubt. Frederick Buechner explains, “Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”
            Even John the Baptist doubted Jesus by asking, “Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else? Jesus used this question to clarify the gospel ministry of the Messiah. (Matthew 11:2-6). Even Jesus endured doubt. On the cross He became so distraught He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Jesus knew God had not abandoned him. He was fulfilling the promise, the prophecy and his purpose in coming to earth. Yet there was doubt in the moment of his dying of where the Father was.
            We too have moments when doubts cause us to question our faith. But we must realize that faith requires knowledge and so the important question is not “What are your doubts?” but “What do you know?” What do you know about your faith and your belief in Jesus Christ?  And how do you explore it?

REFLECT for a moment:                        
When you have experienced doubts have you later experienced moments of faithful knowledge?  Sometimes we take a leap of faith and turn it to a leap from faith. Just what are we meaning when we look at faith? Faith means to trust or commit to something, and the wisest believers rely on what they know, not what they do not know. What does your faith tell you about your belief in God?
Holy One, You know us as individuals and still love us even when we doubt the stories we have held for generations. We think of those who doubted your actions and turned back only to die. We remember Thomas who had to see to believe that Jesus had risen. And we think of those who need you now but question this because of what they do and how others think of them. Hold us close in these moments of doubt. Help us to remember what we know and enable us to seek you again. Hear us O God. Amen.

Michael E Wittmer, Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith  (Introduction)