by Aaron Bjorklund


Be merciful to those who doubt; Jude 22

The philosopher René Descartes famously participated in the rationalist movement by questioning everything. He questioned his own existence, concluding that he must exist because, as he famously put it, “I think therefore I am”. Some would argue that questioning one’s own existence is a fruitless exercise — fair enough. One thing that rationalist philosophy does give us is a healthy perspective on how little we can prove using the scientific method. See, faith is an inevitable human
decision to trust things that we can’t test using science. We all have faith in some things, because we’ve learned that doubt and faith are both necessary to navigate the world around us. 


For example, we don’t scientifically test every chair we encounter; we have faith, based on past evidence, that most chairs will hold our weight. This is a faith that has grounding, but it is still faith. Yet, when we drive, we often exercise doubt when we turn left at a green light. The oncoming car may have its right turn signal on, but we want to see if it will turn before proceeding. That doubt keeps us safer on the road. 


This short verse in Jude reminds us that we must be merciful to those who doubt their faith in God. Doubt is a normal part of the faith journey, and doubt has the ability to drive us to seek God more. Let us not become a community of believers that forces those who doubt to hide their questions, or worse yet, to ask them to leave the church. God’s church should be the safest, most merciful place to doubt. Doubters are not villains. They are us. 


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