The first four words of the apostle’s creed demand that the reader stop and decide if it is worth going any further.
I believe in God.
Jerry Falwell famously said, “I may have been wrong, but I was never in doubt.” I think he was poking fun of his own bravado with that statement, but it brings up a touchy subject among believers: doubt.
I do not think that anyone who has seriously considered the existence of God and pursued a life of faith has not had times of doubt. I know there are those who claim to have never doubted, but I see that as a byproduct of lazy faith. Lazy faith assumes truth out of habit. Each day, I assume that the sun will rise again. It very well may, as it has in the past, but I have no way of causing this or truly knowing until it does. This is what I mean by lazy faith. It is to assume to know rather than to actively believe something.
Doubt is uncomfortable. This is one reason why apologetics remains popular. If doubt can be soothed by reason, then bring it on and let that reason do the trick. This is not nearly as logical as it sounds, as most will grab hold of the argument that sounds best to them and ignore its holes. This is not just a matter for believers. Many atheists do the same thing. It is nothing more than lazy faith, but the assumption at hand is dressed up in a philosophical argument.
Do not get me wrong, I enjoy a few of these arguments. Ontological arguments have always intrigued me. For that matter, C.S. Lewis’ argument that our shared sense that somethings ought to be a certain way is evidence that morality transcends humanity and finds its source in something else. I also like Tolkien’s suggestion that the stories we tell and love are all echoes of one true story. Plato had a few things to say a long those lines as well. However, at the end of the day, most will simply cling to those arguments that comfort them best.
Faith is not knowing something. It is not assuming something. Faith cannot be so passive. Faith, at its core, is choosing something. Faith chooses to believe. Faith chooses to step into the uncomfortableness of doubt and say, “I believe in God.”
And more so, faith chooses to believe in who God is.
“And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned.” Nehemiah 1:5-6
In faith, I choose to believe that God is great and awesome. I choose to believe that he keeps his covenant of love. And knowing that I break this covenant and reject His love on a regular basis, it is in faith that I hope that he turns an ear toward my prayer, hearing and forgiving.
It is in a hopeful, active faith, and even doubting at times, that I say, “I believe in God.”
Author, Parent, Husband, Christ-follower