Doubt, for lack of a better word, is good.

Doubt opens the door for faith. Faith without doubt is like courage without fear. The absence of fear is not courage; it’s naivete or immaturity or pathology. Fear is the precondition for courage. There is no courage without fear. Courage without fear is like victory without competition. If you’re not competing, you can’t win. And if you’re not afraid, you can’t prove courageous. It’s not a lack in you, it’s a logical impossibility. Maybe the analogy breaks down, but maybe it holds: If you have no doubt – if you know – can you believe?

Doubt keeps us honest. My nervous-meter rises when anyone claims that their view is obvious. Christianity or atheism, pacifism or just war, new perspective or old. If you “don’t understand how anyone could think that,” that’s a you problem. People think all of it because none of it is obvious. And if it is obvious, then everyone who disagrees with you is either evil or stupid. And that’s obviously not true. By all means land, but land lightly.

Doubt exposes our idols and recenters us. The further we migrate from the center of any web of belief, the more we are tempted to exaggerate the importance and structural soundness of our convictions. My doubt reminds me that my faith isn’t in a doctrine or a position or a party or a method, but a person.

Don’t hate your doubt. God can use your doubt to save you.

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NOTE: In light of my 30th birthday and in honor of the guys who have all the fun, I’ll be offering thirty reflections in thirty days starting December 19th. Today’s post is #27 (see the so-far list here). The only rule is that I have 250 words to make my point. After that just stop reading. Thanks for making my blog part of your internet experience.