wherethecherryblossomsdance asked a question:
What can we do when we read evidence against faith and our faith wavers horribly? I know this is my case some days, and there are some arguments that my non believing friends bring up, along with comments in these posts that really shake my faith and I realize that I don’t know or have all the answers. What do you think about this?
Hey dear friend, to be truthful, I think it’s a good thing to have your faith shaken sometimes. I mean really, really beat up. Many of us are scared of being scared, but that’s part of life. We can’t protect ourselves from all the terrifying questions. If we avoid every scraped knee, we’ll eventually be too weak when the harder things happen—and so we need a faith that has questioned itself to its barest bones.
Every psych class will tell you that when your worldview is challenged, you’ll experience an actual physiological disorientation in the brain. It can cause nausea, depression, anxiety, and hostile anger. But if you know this is coming and you can work past the emotions, you can rationally approach both sides of the argument without it threatening you.
C.S. Lewis in God in the Dock talks about his Oxford Socratic Club, in which people of different religions and philosophies got together to discuss what they believe. The problem they found was that no one actually knew about each other’s worldviews. “Everyone found how little he had known about everyone else,” he says. The Christians only knew the weakest form of atheism while the atheists only knew the weakest forms of Christianity. They had all parodied each other into cartoon straw men.
So as each member of the club presented their case, Lewis noted that the arguments themselves had “a life of their own,” free from the emotional hype and attacks that so often accompanied them. And through this, their own doctrines could meet by common grace, so that they grew to understand each other while at the same time finding strength in their own faith.
Of course, if hard conversations don’t confront us, then life will anyway. Simply living life will get us to dig into the bottom of what we really believe. Our faith cannot remain protected no matter what we do; our lives are already a constantly shifting dynamic that’s being challenged all the time. Your friend’s cancer, your parents’ divorce, the most recent headlines: all these things will shake out what’s inside. It’s then we discover the reservoir of our faith as a resource, that helps us to dig our heels until the end of that proverbial tunnel. It’s these challenges, both internal and external, that refuse our safety and will not allow us to be stagnant.
I know this isn’t easy. It takes a huge amount of maturity and a willingness to, as Lewis says, “expose ourselves to your fire.” It takes time, it takes openness, it takes deliberate effort to reconstruct what we thought we knew. It requires us to have the humility to say, “I don’t know” sometimes. At the other end, you might come out stronger or weaker, but either way, you will come to know yourself. It’s only this way that we can approach what Christianity really has to offer.