Explore
Click here to view CMI's position on climate change.

Feedback archiveFeedback 2020

When we let the doubts win

Is there a way back?

Published: 21 November 2020 (GMT+10)

R. from the United States writes (comment edited for grammar and spelling fixes):

I don’t know what to title this.

123rf.comdepressed

Long time reader of your site and a bible believer for 10 years, I’m afraid I am coming to my second and perhaps final crossroad in faith. At age 19, I learned of the likes of Harris, Dawkins and most importantly Hitchens after trying to liberalize my beliefs due to Same sex marriage becoming legal as well as the cultural shift around me turned increasingly anti-Christian. This was my first round with doubt

Sadly, now I am more well verse in arguments against my faith than the bible its actually based on. I have manged to stand strong in Christ through a combination of blind trust that all questions I have seen will be answered satisfyingly as well as take solace in the documented coverts of atheists to Christians because as flawed as it may be, personal experience of the soul will always trump evidence sought by the mind.

Both of these solutions are no longer suitable. Many prominent Christians have very publicly renounced the faith and while their questions have been answered by fellow Christians, none have returned to God’s light. I believe, actually I know there will be more. This has also hit me close to home as many of my friends have walked away. Statistics are showcasing that this is a regional trend in the once Christian west and while many are not becoming atheists, though it is growing, they are without doubt rejecting Christianity.

As for questions being answered, every answered given has been rebutted or simply not convincing enough to bring these folks back so what good is apologetics? I know every man has a different threshold for evidence and that for some, nothing will convince them God exists. The shoe fits all approach rarely ever applies and most certainly doesn’t here, but for those with honest doubts, they deserve solid truth.

I have spent hours of several days on this instead of doing anything else productive I haven’t prayed to God seriously nor read the bible in 4 years, fear that with my doubting mind I will see something that will turn me away as well. Instead I have relied upon other apologists or basic logic when confronted by ‘nones’ but no minds have been changed and I just leave with rage.

The only solution I have found that will convince me, is that I will live the word to the very letter for an entire year and live as if there was no God for another and should I still be of doubt, there is only one true way to know and the thought I would go through with this is terrifying even if I must sin to do it.

I know it is possible to have a robust faith in this day and age for people who have lived longer than I and know far more stronger arguments than I continue to proclaim that Christ is king in not just the US but in secular Europe, atheist China and the fact that many are not becoming atheist but nothing in particular shows that most are wondering, not fallen.

Please help me, I don’t want to go through with my plan but I see no other way

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Dear R.,

Thanks for the email.

I can empathize with these feelings (When atheism seems easy). I know how doubts can plague the mind, and strip you of joy, and even sleep. Been there, done that. Too many times to count. And these things still hit me from time to time. And I understand the damage it can do to one’s psyche, as well (When atheism seems easy). I know that this is a big thing for you.

But let’s be honest; by what you’ve said here, you’ve brought a lot of this on yourself. You were “trying to liberalize your beliefs” in response to cultural shifts away from Christianity. And you said, “I haven’t prayed to God seriously nor read the bible in 4 years”. So, you’re living as if the doubts are more cogent than your faith (by not engaging with God) to prevent the doubts from finishing off (what’s left of) your faith? Opening the Bible or praying might indeed finish off your faith right now, but not because the Bible, God, and Christianity are that fragile. It’s because you’ve done such a good job training yourself to expect them to be that fragile.

The doubts you present here are relatively easy to dispel at the intellectual level. On same-sex marriage, our justification for our moral beliefs doesn’t diminish just because the culture around us changes its views. God is still the ultimate source of morality, and the Bible is still His word, whatever the culture may say. God knows what’s good and what’s not far better than our supposed 21st century ‘moral betters’. Without God morality just amounts to a personal preference (Can atheism possibly explain morality and reason?).

Richard-Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

What about the New Atheists? Well, what are their arguments? Hitchens didn’t really argue much; he mostly just mocked. Harris and Dawkins at least have something; Harris has his ‘moral landscape’ and Dawkins his ‘Who designed the designer?’. But both are tragically flawed arguments.

Harris equates goodness with human flourishing. But he also admits that if it’s possible rapists, liars, and thieves can flourish as much as ‘saints’, so his ‘moral’ landscape would just be a continuum of well-being. He contradicts himself! The good can’t be identical to human flourishing if rapists could possibly flourish as much as humanitarians! And this is supposed to be a replacement for God as a transcendent source of morality? I don’t think so (see Answering the ‘new atheists’).

And what of Dawkins’ ‘Who designed the designer?’? We don’t need to know where the designer came from to know that something is best explained by a designer (The old ‘Who created God?’ canard revisited: Who designed the Designer?). And if God is the designer, there’s no ‘getting behind’ Him with a deeper explanation. He is the ultimate stopping point. He’s a fitting explanatory ultimate because ‘God’ is simply the moniker we give to the ultimate being; that than which nothing greater than or equal to can be conceived (on which see Ontological argument: God is uniquely supreme).

Sam-Harris
Sam Harris

More people de-converting than converting? Even today that depends on where in the world you are. Christianity is flourishing in Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. And still, who cares? It’s not hard to see why Christianity is losing ground in the West; ‘science’ is falsely proffered as a panacea for understanding the world, and Christian morality is being actively undermined. But these factors have no real intellectual teeth to them. Science can’t explain everything, e.g. morality, nature itself, and the philosophy of science. Moral objections to Christianity are very parochial and have no ontological foundation. Just because it feels right doesn’t mean it is; there has to be some reason for why something is right or wrong.

People being unconvinced of apologetics? So what? You yourself said it:

“I know every man has a different threshold for evidence and that for some, nothing will convince them God exists. The shoe fits all approach rarely ever applies and most certainly doesn’t here”. But your problem is “but for those with honest doubts, they deserve solid truth”.

But giving solid truth doesn’t guarantee they will accept solid truth. Even the ones with “honest doubts”. Why? Where solid truth has been given, sincerity is rarely the skeptic’s problem. Rather, the problem is the poor situation they are in for knowing the truth (whatever the cause of it may be). And there’s usually a lot more that needs to go into improving that than simply giving them arguments. Much of it would be putting them in situations where finding God is much easier. But that’s where choice and emotion come into the equation, and usually in ways that make the skeptic/doubter leery of leaving behind their skepticism/doubts. Is it easy for a skeptic to come to a Bible study or church for the first time? No. Is it easy for a doubter to pick up the Bible again and pray after four years? You yourself said it—No.

Which brings us back to you. Where do you go from here? You have to make a choice. And the one you’re contemplating is a bad idea. Living for a year as an atheist!? Do you want to finish your faith off? That’s probably the best way to do it. Opening the Bible and praying can’t hold a candle to the amount of doubt you’d be opening yourself up to if you did that. In fact, I think living like an atheist has been a large part of your problem for the last four years. No serious prayer or Bible reading; that’s certainly not living like a Christian. You’ve been living as a follower of your doubts, as a follower of the culture; not as a follower of Christ.

No, you need to start practicing Christianity again. You need the Bible and prayer. You need Christian fellowship. You can’t expect to get spiritually healthy again if you refuse to engage with God and his people.

But you’re afraid that by praying and reading the Bible again, you’ll come across doubts to finish off what left of your faith. Well, yes, you will face doubts by doing those things. Why? You’ve conditioned yourself to expect it! But how is that a sign that you should give the doubts the credence you’ll inevitably feel they deserve? It’s not. Rather, it’s a sign that they’re the product of your own history and predilections. I’m not saying that means they’re obviously false. I’m saying that the very fact that they’re so predictable means that you have reason to be suspicious of their cogency. In other words, you’ve got good reason to doubt your doubts, since they’re generated not purely by the content of what’s in front of you, but by the fears you’ve cultivated for so long. So, doubt your doubts!

There are some other things you need. You need to restrict what you read and watch. You need to read and watch good Christian apologetics material (a good general book is Christianity for Skeptics). Stop reading and watching the skeptical stuff. You’re not equipped to handle it. Dealing with skeptics requires training, and by your own admission you know skeptical objections better than you know the faith. That’s a bad way to train, especially if you’re doing this by yourself.

Another thing: do everything in your power to ensure you’re not doing this by yourself. Find a Bible-believing church with Christians you can ask these questions of. Build relationships around these questions with people who can handle you asking questions and putting forward objections. Christians should be free to explore their questions in a church setting, and if your church setting isn’t conducive to this, find a better church.

Also, some doubts are more important than others. Learn to do what I call ‘theological triage’. When a doubt comes, analyze what it is, and what follows if it’s true. Say a doubt crops up about a supposed Bible contradiction. What the worst-case scenario? You may have to change your understanding of biblical inspiration. That’s it. That’s a pretty big change, sure, but need that undermine your warrant for believing God is real? For believing that Jesus claimed to be God incarnate? That He is raised from the dead? No, no, and no. But we don’t have to go that far. There’s a much simpler stopping point to most of these sorts of issues when you don’t have an answer: “I don’t know”. “I don’t know” doesn’t mean “I’m likely wrong”; it means “I don’t have an answer”. Your warrant for biblical inspiration should be based something like Jesus’ attitude to the Bible, not your ability to solve every supposed contradiction in the Bible to your own satisfaction. As such, when you don’t have an answer, it’s still perfectly rational to believe in biblical inspiration while waiting for an answer.

It’s the same even with God’s existence. Say you think some objection to a theistic argument has merit. Fine. So, you’re less certain that argument works. That hardly undercuts the reasonableness of belief in God. It may make you less certain, but even that isn’t necessary. Just because one argument for God is weak doesn’t have to mean anything for how certain we are that God is there. It just means that argument may not work for showing that God is there. But even if we become less certain, less certainty is not a lack of reasonableness.

And look after your body. Eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get good sleep. Take time to relax and do things unrelated to all this. Enjoy time with friends and family. And in this, pick the times you look into these questions very carefully. Don’t do apologetics or theology, or even read the Bible and pray, when you’re tired, hungry, thirsty, or sick. Apologetics and theology are mentally taxing activities, and require more energy and effort than you think they do. Respect that.

And, further to looking after your body: your brain is a part of your body. It may be worth even talking to your doctor about these things (I don’t know your situation, so it may not apply to you; this is just for you to consider). I’ve been through these sorts of doubts to the point where they were affecting my mental health. Doctors can provide help that other people can’t.

But let me finish with this—it’s perfectly natural to struggle with doubt. Certainty is a person-relative, situation-dependent will o’ the wisp, and ‘I don’t know’ is often the best answer we can give. But we do have reasonable warrant to believe God is there, and has revealed himself in Jesus (see e.g. Philosophical arguments for God and Agnosticism). Objections can be raised, but there’s no way to make belief in God unreasonable, and the state of the evidence concerning what Jesus claims and what happened to him isn’t changing. It’s early, and given by credible eyewitnesses. So, there are reasons to start trusting again. The experience of those around you should not be enough to distract you from devotion to Christ. He is true regardless of our feelings, and regardless of the stories of those around us. Follow Jesus; it’s rational, and He’s worth it.

Kind regards,
Shaun Doyle
Creation Ministries International

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
US $17.00
Soft Cover
The God Reality
by Rob Slane
US $8.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Nick M.
This was very edifying for me. I've been struggling with doubts myself, although not nearly as badly as R. I hope and pray he finds the answers he needs, and I know that God is with him. His concern for his own faith is an encouraging first step.
Denese K.
Dear R
In addition to all the great advice already given to your query, might I make a suggestion to apply practically? I suspect you may be looking for something tangible to "do" to mark what is, hopefully, a turning point in your faith walk. Having walked a little way in your shoes, I know that mulling all this over in your head can become an exercise in futility. So too arguments and debates. The dynamic will change if you commit pen to paper (having first asked the Lord to lead you).

I suggest you get an exercise book, write out an encouraging verse on the cover like Matt 7:7-8, and frequently pray it. Write the date inside and list your doubts as lucidly as you can. Pray about them. Now engage with believers and your Bible concordance. See what both have to say on a particular topic. Observe where they agree or vary. Be sure to write down the scriptures and explanations that answer your questions. When you pray, make a note of the thought that comes into your head. If the Lord gives you a picture, draw it. Wrestle with the Lord if you must, but don't ignore Him. Be sure to take every thought captive to Christ. If it aligns with the Gospel, keep it. If it doesn't, where possible try to clarify the reason that disqualifies it. Revisit your discoveries often.

When you find a Biblical reference, read the whole chapter if possible, or even the whole book to get the full context. Be very careful not to lean on your own understanding. Prov 3:5-6

By doing all these, you will find yourself building up a trove of Biblical answers, and (in time), if you are faithful and diligent in this, the Lord will bless your efforts and you will become equipped to walk others through their own faith crises

The Lord absolutely delights when you take Him seriously. He is so worth it!
Wanda G.
I'm 19, and recently I've been learning more and more about the mind-brain relationship, the hard problem of consciousness, and the nature of consciousness in general. This became more interesting to me when I encountered the philosophy of determinism at 18, which really shook me, almost as much as Calvinism did when I learned about it at 14. I've always been curious, and while I was raised with both creationist and evolutionist literature (which I'm grateful for) I still felt uninformed on both topics. There are times where I find myself on a whirlwind of a ride, hopping from serious theological issues to scientific subjects I am struggling to understand, to philosophical disputes, to cultural and social dynamics. And it's taken time, love from my family, and the grace of God to humble myself and realize I can't become an expert in biology, theology, or politics overnight, and that a tired mind makes for bad reading since the state of my mind can lead to interpretations the authors never insinuated.

I feel like I just got the best lecture from an older brother. I've learned not just to question my beliefs but also my doubts, and have patience in learning or not learning the answers. I've learned to differentiate between my emotions and good/bad arguments, societal pressure and intelligence, God and humanity. I suppose one of the reasons I cling to God is because I've grown to realize how fallible my mind is in a culture that worships subjective experience, or personal intellect and it comforts me that to know that Truth, Who is a constant, pure Person, can align my mind to true reality. That Truth can be known. Even though I hesitate calling myself a creationist, due to cultural backlash, CMI inspires me to be humbler and braver. Even as I learn to think for myself.
King T.
If R has not read the bible in four years or prayed seriously to God then I suspect the R is not yet saved. Perhaps R's problem is simply that s/he does not know what it means to be born again? Or perhaps R does not realize that one cannot earn salvation by living a sinless life or doing good deeds and being a "good" person and hence one needs the mercy of God which comes through the penalty Jesus paid on the cross for our sins? Perhaps R has contemplated living a sinless life (without the saving grace of God and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) and discovered it's impossible and has therefore been discouraged? Just a thought.
Steve B.
The answers and advise you gave R. is just what is needed. Especially surrounding oneself with believers, people often lean toward the ones they are with and doubters lead to doubt. Reading the Bible is only effective when one asks the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth, without that guidance it's just reading. When one prays looking for the truth one needs to ask God questions relevant to there own lives, not answers to wash away doubt, answers for your life bring truth into your life. When one has truth about a situation then there can not be doubt about that situation. R needs to remember we live by faith, we are saved by faith and faith in God is what pulls use through. R also needs to realize that doubt is just a different faith and having faith in doubt means you have faith in nothing. Again, well done Shaun R needs to carry your advice and answers into life every day.
Yvonne R.
All praise to GOD for the open door provided by the LORD JESUS in providing me with an understanding of CMI in 1985. This forum has enabled me as with others to express the faith given by GOD. As expressed in a previous response to CMI for 1985 - a further miracle was with my brother who was dying of melanoma - GOD gave me the faith to believe my brother would be healed. Following, in a healing service at a church the man sitting next to me, asked me "is your brothers name John" to which I replied "Yes" he then said to me "your faith has healed your brother". My faith ?? the faith GOD gave to me to believe. I visited my brother in hospital telling him I am now a Christian to which he showed a negative response. Sitting on the chair for five minutes I did not say another word. He turned to me with a look on his face, I knew GOD had transformed his thoughts. I embraced him with encouraging words. Eight days later my brother died I asked GOD "WHY?? YOU promised me healing for my brother. GOD said to me "I have given John more than you prayed for, I have given John eternal life". The negative words of R are nothing before GOD. GOD is in control. My brother never knew GOD but GOD knew my brother to be victim of circumstances, as R is a victim of circumstances, not of his own making. We are all coming from different influences by families and associates in our past. That is why we are not to judge anyone.
Lassi P.
Real touching. This is - I think - a truly big-brotherly answer to one strugling with doubt. It is stern, not afraid to tell the hard truths and yet compassionate.
Josef L.
An old saying that I learned early on is, “Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.” But unfortunately it sounds to me that “R.” has instead fed his doubts, so no wonder his faith is starving.

I will say I was an atheist before coming to Christ. And though it may seem easier, it’s only easier because as an atheist you can turn the moral blinders on and live according to your own freshly desires, and you fit in better with the culture. But atheists have doubts too. When I was an atheist it crossed my mind, many times, that I could be wrong. I just never let theists know about these doubts.

But feed your faith R.! If you want to keep it that is, and I pray that you do.
Michael B.
Here is the Scripture that keeps me in the game.
This discourse takes place right after everyone else left because they found the words of Jesus too hard so they decided to give up and leave;

John 6:67-68 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
"But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Stay in the battle; the others have left not because it made more sense to follow someone else or some other doctrine but because they didn't want to exert the effort to do the harder thing of walking the narrow path.
Antonio F.
I'd like to add based on my own experience that if a person chooses to remain a closet Christian then your faith will die. If a person starts to twist God's laws on how we live, allowing same-sex marriage and transgenderism, trying to add millions of years to appease others, using vulgar language to fit in, then this pushes God's Holy Spirit away. God is the one who gives a person faith. Without the power of the Holy Spirit then this world and all its worries will tear you away from Christ and into an abyss of emotional despair.

Growing your relationship with God requires standing up for Christ. You don't have to go yelling out in the street but when an opportunity comes, a person needs to stand up against the world even if it humiliates them and be grateful to Jesus for giving you the opportunity to stand for Him. When being tested and growing in the Lord this doesn't always mean that you are the last one standing. It might mean that you are beaten down, sometimes physically. It also doesn't mean speaking up, when you should be silent with your mouth but with your minds voice pray loudly to Jesus for the strength to take whatever is coming. Don't pout about the trouble but be grateful to God for considering you worthy and don't listen to Satan when you fail. He's trying to add doubt to tear you away from Christ. Don't expect to feel happy when troubles come. It's normal to feel downcast. Most importantly, DON'T BLAME GOD FOR YOUR OWN MISTAKES.

I'm reminded by the passage, 'Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.' This can turn the tap on full to knowing who God is and an amazing God He is.
Howard P.
R. says, "I haven’t prayed to God seriously nor read the bible in 4 years, fear that with my doubting mind I will see something that will turn me away as well. Instead I have relied upon other apologists or basic logic when confronted by ‘nones’ but no minds have been changed and I just leave with rage."

The Bible says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17, NKJV)

Fill your mind with the word of God, and stop listening to the fake news of this world which are the lies of Satan.
Reed C.
This question reminds of "reasonable doubts". People will always have doubts; especially in a society where the Bible is constantly attacked, and misrepresented; where things that should be questioned are taken for granted.

However, I have found that the more I study the less reasonable these nagging doubts are. What logical doubts do I still have?

I get tired, and I withdraw, but I know full well that these materialists don't have a genuine case. They are just clubbing you over the head.

There is a point at which your doubts are emotional and are no longer logical.

As you said, atheism is easy. It suits the vain, the prideful, and is intellectually lazy. The rules of engagement are set in your favour no matter how silly materialist arguments are.

They are often hostile and unwilling to engage; unless engagement means elephant hurling and ridiculing others. As often that is all they will do.

So why throw pearls before swine?

Don't kill yourself trying to convince irrational people to be reasonable. They need to be open to truth.
Mark H.
One thought that I like to give people that have doubts about the science behind Biblical Creation is this:

There are several, solid, scientific interpretations of the facts that support the Biblical account of Creation. Don't let "science" reduce the credibility of the Bible.

Since the science behind Biblical Creation comes from many areas of science and can get really deep, it would be near impossible for one person to know all the facts and interpretations. But they can grow in their faith in God's Word and know that there are many very smart people in all those areas of science that have answered the questions and they still believe!
Alan S.
Thank you Shaun for this excellent response to R's concerns.
I answer questions on Christianity on the "Quora" site, many are from atheists and doubters and many are from sincere seekers who are still struggling with the concept of 'faith' as indeed R obviously is.

I am so thankful for the marvellous materials CMI puts out, and for the sound and thoughtful reasoning's from your staff members.
Please, keep up the good work of God, it's so important in these days of general apostasy.

Blessings.

Alan S.
Jack S.
Excellent !
Kathy K.
I might add that I have the book Shaun mentioned so I could have answers for some unbeliever. Many people think just because they haven’t killed anyone, they’re going to heaven. They believe they’re good people. It is a good thing to be responsible people in a crazy world. But for eternal life it requires a belief and trust in a perfect, sinless lamb of God such as Jesus Christ who died on the cross for all the world. God bless CMI for all the work and research and Godly answers given.
John Z.
Truth is independent of one's feeling. Great article, Shaun. I agree with you that both Harris' and Dawkins' arguments are bad, but if you had to choose, which one do you think is better?
Shaun Doyle
In terms of the content and cogency of both arguments, I can't choose because they're as bad as each other. The only way I can judge them as 'better or worse' is in terms of their rhetorical effectiveness. On that count I'd probably say Dawkins' argument fares 'better', since it seems to have been convincing to more people than Harris' argument. And Dawkins, in print and in favourable oral contexts (i.e. when he's by himself, or has a pathetic debate opponent), is probably the better rhetorician of the two. Not that being the more effective sophist is high praise.
Kathy K.
What a wonderful, complete answer you gave! I was answering this in my mind as I read this person’s letter and how you began is exactly how I would have. Had they been reading and studying God’s word, they’d understand the apostasy in the last days. It’s dangerous to be in a world that doesn’t believe in God the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. The world is quite evil now, meaning there are so many unbelievers and people being tempted to leave for worldly desires.

A Christian is told to stand, to pray, to wait on God, to fear the Lord, to praise and worship him, to run the race. After I found the grace of Jesus, I never doubted his existence. On occasion I doubted if I was good enough to get into heaven, then I’d remember that the devil likes to make you doubt God’s word and his goodness! The devil does this on purpose because it’s easy to throw “darts” to a doubting mind and draw one away from God.

Don’t give up on God. Search the scriptures for comfort and answers. Ask Godly people when you doubt. What a wonderful answer you gave. Thanks!
Tommy W.
I read in the bible where Moses had doubt. All the prophets had doubt. All the disciples had doubt. Even Jesus doubted on the cross. I believe. Praise God for letting me see with my eyes and hear with my ears. Eternal life hangs in the balance.
Jane V.
'Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.' Matt. 7:13-14
Jesus said this. It is a stark warning.
'R' seems to be looking for social acceptance in an evil culture with ever shifting standards.
'But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10: 8-11
'R' should not 'rage' but know that none of those who believe will be lost. 'You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.' Ps. 97:10
Chuck R.
My 2 cents worth for a reply to R.
Perhaps the single biggest problem would be the neglect of Bible reading for oneself and is why so many supposedly 'Christian' churches drift away from God and end up adopting so much worldly thinking - divorce, homosexuality, abortion, women preachers, etc.
And when I say Bible reading, I mean the whole Bible as too many place a major emphasis only on the New Testament failing to understand that the Old Testament is intimately and intricately linked. If we wish to know God we must understand how He acted and interacted with people in the OT which gives us a much deeper understanding and appreciation of why sending His Son was so very necessary.
What I would also show R is that being Godly in an unGodly world has never been easy.
Saul gave into the demands of the people who wanted to keep the livestock from a military campaign. 1 Sam. 15:15
God told Isaiah to walk about naked for 3 years. Ish. 20:3
When all the people seemed to be turning away from God Elijah cried out to God "I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." 1 Kings 19:14
Job went through a great time of struggle and his friends told him it was because he was a bad man.
Our Savior, in His obedience, saw many revile and despise Him.
Most important to understand is that God does winnow his harvest.
Matthew 3:12 "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Being true to God is anything but easy.
Egil W.
Usually, I should perhaps just use my own words, but this is too serious to not use several Bible-quotes. Since the age of enlightenment, a great falling away from Christendom and Christianity has happened in the West, which had used to be be Christian for 1700+ years. But the apostasy has been prophecized, foreseen; its evidence of the foreknowledge within the Scriptures. Seeing many turning away from faith is sad, but also a fulfillment of prophecy. ‘’Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,” ‭‭II Thessalonians‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭ “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭‪10:22‬‬ ‭ “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:12‬ ‭ “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” ‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭ “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”” ‭‭II Peter‬ ‭3:3-4‬ .
‬‬ Do we recognize the time and age we live in?
Do we wake up seeing prophetic warning come true right in front of our eyes?
Our day days are filled with secularist scoffers, people pursuing lust over godliness, intellectual pride, rejection of Special Revelation, cold hearts, lawlessness (the moral code of Christianity), people thinking Jesus cannot have waited 2000 years before His Second Coming, rampant narcissism, scorn for Bible-believers.
Cowboy Bob S.
Another excellent response from Mr. Doyle. My experiences are rather different than those described, but may be useful here.

There was a time when I rudely put God on the shelf, and later had to admit it was partly from wanting to follow my own sinful desires. In addition, I took my eyes off Christ and was terribly disappointed in those who profess to know him. Ironically, while I was far away and attempting to mix Christianity with Buddhism, I still put the Word in the superior position for my mental filter, and even defended the faith to online atheists. It was a weird mix until I recommitted my life to Christ several years ago.

Excellent points about physical as well as mental health. I've struggled with depression for decades (exacerbated by fatigue, hunger, circumstances), so it becomes difficult to have a consistent spiritual outlook. Agreeing with Shaun, we have to cling to what is true.

The advice here applies to me in several ways. I wanted to give up apologetics because of lazy Christians. (That's right, I said it!) We try to help build up the body of Christ to defend the faith, but it becomes discouraging when they have "bumper sticker mentalities"; one cannot uphold biblical creation science by sharing captioned pictures and ignoring the many helpful articles and the input of other Christians.

"As such, when you don’t have an answer, it’s still perfectly rational to believe in biblical inspiration while waiting for an answer." Yes, I have questions, but I doubt my understanding, not God's character. I think some believers are afraid to admit they don't know something because atheists will use that to confirm their biases. That's their choice as they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We - I - must remain faithful and set our hope on the risen Lord.
Alf F.
Dear R: You have a conscience, the folk around you are sinning, and you know it. In order to sin, they must self-justify, so they find trite reasons to denounce Him who holds them in existence. The conscience must be nurtured in life by obedience to it. But society corrupts our grasp of truth, and the conscience slowly becomes calloused over, till we are out of touch with it again. Counter-culture corrupts conscience, Christ cleanses it. If God takes back His creative Word, you and I cease to exist. His Word us truth. When last did you wash in His word? David's Psalms, or the sermon on the mount? But the best cure for the faith blues is to get into God's presence. This is the Chief Reason why Jesus died in your place - to buy your forgiveness, so you can get back into the God's presence. You are a spirit being, and that is because God put His Spirit within you. Without His spirit, you are just a cup of dust and a few buckets of water. But you well know that you are more than that. For example, you know that you exist. That self awareness is not a biological quality. God your father loves you, that's why He walked in your shoes for 33 years, then died in your place. Now He wants you to make use of His very great sacrifice and gift, and come and sit in His lap for a while, and enjoy His manifest Presence and love. Turn up some really good worship music, and get alone with God, and He will answer your prayers, and speak to your spirit. Then spend some time with alive Christians. What are you feeding your soul daily, God's presence and His word? Or the world, the flesh and the devil? You look after your body for 80 years, which is going to die, then you want an 80 year old's reward? You will get a box of toys, because your spirit is still 6 yrs old!
Wayne W.
True faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. Jesus posed a rhetorical question: "When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on the earth?"
A Christian's faith is born and sustained by the Word of God.
Hebrews 11 v 6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV
[link deleted per feedback rules]e/hebrews-11-6
God requires faith which is based on His Word for a very good reason ...
Are you going to believe and trust His Revelation ... in His written Word and ultimately on His Living Word ie His Incarnate Son Jesus Christ ....or are you going to believe the words, arguements, persuasions of the god of this world Satan. Every human being has a Garden of Eden moment in their lives... a choice as to who they will listen to. And the choice has real consequences... the fact that we suffer and die in this broken world is proof of that. Evolution is Satans creation myth that makes death, suffering and reproduction the hero of the show. Jesus demonstrated His attitude to death and suffering each time He healed people and when He was indignant and wept at the threshold of Lazarus tomb... but look what He did next ... He called a dead man to life. Then later Jesus would suffer and die in the place of sinners and rise again on the 3rd day ... proving He has as God the authority over life and death! Theres the proof there ... this young man must go and read the Scriptures praying that God the Holy Spirit will give him an open repentant heart and the faith to believe God over the devil... starting with the death and resurrection of Jesus is a good place to start! I will pray for him.
Michael S.
Without meaning this in a negative way it seems the writer has already let doubt win. Is there much faith there at all if you don't pray for four years? This letter seems more like the struggles of an agnostic to find truth. From what "R" says they very much predicate faith in Christ and God on what people are doing. There seems to be a very high peer-pressure upon "R". But Christ said "will any have faith" when He returns so a diminishing acceptance of Christianity is hardly a reason to reject your faith. I remember when I went through this level of doubt, for me it was a struggle with evolution and creation for the whole of my twenties but something finally clicked for me where God enabled me to fully see just how completely false the materialist worldview is. Perhaps that was a combination of following God and increasing knowledge. So if anything increasing knowledge can support the Christian worldview. Has "R" perhaps only TOUCHED on the arguments to and fro? He needs exposure to proper Christian arguments of strength. It's a shame I can't recommend our creationist based website, we can answer pretty much any problems, intellectually at least. So can CMI but I know there's only so much they can do.
Norman P.
A very revealing exchange! I would love to help you, but in the end, what's behind your doubts? The will is involved: maybe its fear of standing out from the crowd. And nowadays, there's an increasing floodtide of wickedness, some of it very subtle and respectable. Apologetics is a vital aid, but not the final source of faith. Neither are other Christians always helpful - but God will provide suitable travel companions. Read the all-time classic, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan - a Puritan who suffered 12 years imprisonment for proclaiming his faith. He knew your experience too, as we see from the episode about Doubting Castle, and Giant Despair, who loved to destroy Christians. The story shows exactly how 'Christian' and 'Hopeful' escaped, using a key called, 'promise' (the promise of God in his word). Christian suddenly realized he had it right there hanging around his neck, having forgotten it was there!
God loves us, but has set the test through faith: not mindless faith, but a faith based on his wonderful word. That word, mixed with faith, and breathed upon by our discrete but very present helper, the Holy Spirit, enables us to have the mind of Christ, by which we overcome. Heaven will be full of overcomers like you, dear friend!
Colin H.
Dear R,
Perhaps you are struggling with the wrong question.
You seem to be struggling with WHAT to believe, but the real issue is WHO to believe.
Do you trust a bunch of fallible men? or do you trust the Creator who made us?
There is no comparison! You can trust the living and true God!
You seem hesitant to read the Scriptures, but the Scriptures are the Word of God!
Please check out John 10:27-29. Jesus stated very plainly that His sheep hear His voice...
Why not ask Him to speak to you?
And then start reading the Scriptures again to hear His voice. Read and meditate, and the Lord will speak to you.
If you spend time with the Word of God, your doubts will soon disappear like the dew.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
If you are wondering where to start, may I suggest starting in the gospel of Luke and then keep reading through to Revelation. And don't forget to thank the Lord when He reveals heavenly things to you!
Blessings, CH
Yvonne R.
Dear R There is no satisfaction - joy - contentment in the worldly way - choose to be on your knees before JESUS asking JESUS to help you and your cares and woes will grow strangely dim in the light of HIS glory and grace. May GOD enlighten you to the uniqueness of the way HE has created within you, thereby using your skills and abilities you are not aware of. That you may serve GOD with gratitude to HIM for the freedom you will have in achieving the impossible. Praise to GOD I speak from experience. Ever thankful to JESUS my LORD.
Rodney P.
I am now 74 years of age, and I have tasted both types of life: Yielding to temptation, followed by living in God through Jesus.
I can now testify that living close to God through Jesus yields great peace, satisfying pleasures (non-destructive), and fulness of joy. Sin just destroys one's peace and joy. CHOOSE WISELY.
Pauline T.
Thanks Shaun for an interesting and sensitive response to the doubter. One thing I recall as being very helpful (while also being fairly confronting) early in my Christian walk, is that believing and following Jesus is NOT primarily about how we FEEL.
Our culture today is all about "feeling", and how we experience and express our feelings, and how our minds should focus on being properly in tune with our feelings. Very sad. And rather bad. Because it's backwards, of course !
The old "goods train" example is a great one for getting priorities right with heart and mind :

First comes the engine (the facts = know & understand what the Bible SAYS);
Next comes the fuel cart (faith = believe and obey the facts);
Next comes the "goods" (feelings = our personal emotional response to things becomes grounded in the truth of God's word).

I know that is simplistic - but it's also true. The goods train won't go anywhere if there's no engine. And the engine alone won't take your goods anywhere if it isn't fueled right.

I hugely appreciate all CMI does and promote your work and literature to whoever will listen. Thanks so much for blessing me over many years with fantastic tools to grow in faith, and to share your garnered wisdom with others. To the Lord Jesus be all the glory, with continued blessings to CMI and others through you.
Noellene C.
Dear R. There is an old hymn, “Never give up, never let go of, the faith he has put in your heart” and that’s what I have to say to you, never give up. Jesus has definitely been trying to attract your attention! Stop worrying about convincing others. Start reading the New Testament daily. Talk to God not to atheists for the time being. Some people turn toJesus and are immediately transformed and some have to take it slowly, but go forward. I’ve had a relationship with Jesus for over 75 years and believe me the road hasn’t been smooth but he’s been faithful even when I haven’t on occasions and I can look back and see where he’s helped me out of situations I couldn’t handle on my own. Don’t keep searching for truth. Trust him and follow his ways. There’ll be times after you are stronger in years to come to give answers to those who are unbelievers but now concentrate on your relationship with him. I personally find Paul’s letters to the churches a great inspiration and comfort. Bless you R. I shall commit to pray for you regularly for peace in your heart. That peace which passes all understanding N.
And Thankyou Shaun. A very compassionate reply N.
Gina T.
Many Christians struggle with doubt, myself included. It helps me and may help R to know that on record there are named some incredibly illustrious people who have struggled with doubt. Look at Martin Luther who in the 1500s brought to its knees the monstrous system of religion that pervaded Europe at the time. He expressed grave doubts as he pulled that heavy plough through man-made teachings that led to blatant corruption and vile extortion. Look at John the Baptist who when imprisoned asked his disciples to seek out Jesus and ask Him "Are You the Messiah we've been expecting?" Matt 11:2. And what tortured the mind of our wonderful Saviour as He hung on the cross "My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?" Matt 27:45.

Have something to add?

Important: This is not a Q&A forum. If you have unresolved questions, please search our comprehensive Q&A pages or contact us directly.

Remaining characters: 1800/1800
Privacy & Guidelines