Faith & Doubt - What is Faith?
John D. Telgren

"There is no way the Bible can be accurate!" Do you really expect me to believe that Jesus came back to life after he died? Give me a break!"

Comments such as these can cause one to doubt his faith. Doubt can lead someone to think he has become an unbeliever because he has lost his faith. There is nothing wrong with "honest" doubt. There are some things that doubt is not.

1) Doubt is not skepticism. While there is nothing wrong with honest doubt, there is much wrong with "dishonest doubt," which is nothing more than skepticism. Skepticism is simply the willful decision to doubt everything deliberately, virtually rejecting what is highly probable.

2) Doubt is not unbelief. Unbelief is the decision not to have faith, which is a far cry from what doubt is. Doubt may amount to nothing more than difficulty in understanding something. There is no reason to feel guilty about honest doubt. Faith and doubt are not mutually exclusive. However, faith and unbelief are mutually exclusive.

Everyone has some sort of faith. Even a die-hard atheist has faith that there is no God. They may not think of it as faith, but the fact that no one has "proved" the non-existence of God means that they accept their belief in no God by faith.

The Atheist would challenge our faith by saying ours is not a reasonable faith because there is nothing to substantiate it. We will look at evidence that demonstrates that not only is our faith reasonable, it is the most likely probability.

I do want to make a point before continuing. People rarely come to faith with resolved doubts. Francis Bacon said, "If you start with total certainty, you will end up with doubt, but if you start with doubt, you will end up with certainty." Faith is not going to be faith solely because of the evidence we will be looking at. Notice the following passage:

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1)."

Our faith is not based on the ability to prove or disprove. If we could prove 100% that our belief is true, then our faith would no longer be faith. So when we engage in a defense of our faith, we are showing "evidence" that our faith is "reasonable." However, the bottom line is that we accept our Lord by faith.

Our faith comes from hearing, not necessarily from proving (Rom 10:17). While proving can remove obstacles to faith and strengthen it, faith is ultimately a decision. The Greek word for faith carries the idea of trust and obedience. James discusses this in James 2:19. Real faith is not merely mental assent, or even acceptance of some facts. It is an active trust in our Lord.

Next, we will look at how to handle doubt, and then look at evidence for the reasonableness of our faith.