People who honestly put it out there that they disbelieve in a God’s existence are not the only one’s plagued with uncertainty. Christians of all backgrounds are filled with doubts about their beliefs. Evidence for this is not hard to come by as many Pastor’s and their congregants admit this within their prayers and their musings on an almost daily basis.
There’s a common prayer extracted from the New Testament, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” For whatever reasons, and the justifications are often varied, Christians insist that their beliefs are true and that it isn’t necessary for them to provide reasons that would seem to speak to the legitimacy and reliability of their position.
There are many important fronts where faith is unable to distinguish itself from myth. In example, the teaching that Christian conversion is a supernatural event wherein the living God now resides within a person’s heart for the first time, is a belief largely taken on faith alone.
It is recognized that subjective feelings and experiences can fail the test. The test for what? The test for distinguishing God from our own intuitions. The other side of this argument which favors conversion as a supernatural event is that one could be entirely mistaken. One’s sense of guidance, confirmation, and intuition could be failing them due to an inability to actually know whether Christian claims are reliable.
Another avenue that provides little certainty is whether there is actually any agency and guidance behind people’s prayers? Certainly many sincere Christians have some measure of confidence that something or someone is at work behind the scenes but how well supported is this notion? It remains an ongoing in house debate as to whether a God’s handiwork can be deciphered from mere coincidence and the way events unfold with or without prayer as the common variable.
Miracle claims and claims of healing, almost as a rule, are met with a lot of skepticism within many Christian circles. The Charismatic movement appears to be riddled with false claims and a lack of discernment as to how to establish legitimacy. The examples go on and on.
What this may indicate is that many Christians handle their doubts in such a way that maintaining a belief in belief is the desired goal. Rather than believing Christian claims because the claims themselves can be understood as legitimate in their own right, it is now a prominent attitude to harbor a strong belief in belief itself.
This is because faith is very much stressed as a commitment. Just as marriage carries the common theme, “till death do we part,” belief in Jesus is handled quite like marriage is handled. The point I would stress is this, this approach to maintaining belief in God carries within itself the potential to be entirely mistaken.
This kind of approach toward truth claims doesn’t appear to be presenting itself as deeply concerned with whether or not Christianity can be known as true without a doubt. This is sometimes done knowingly, but often unknowingly. As a final clarification my phrasing, “without a doubt,” that I used above is not an unrealistic appeal to absolute certainty. It is an appeal to being able to adequately make a ruling in favor of Christian claims being able to be presented as true with a high degree of accuracy. “Without a doubt” is an appeal to being able to establish a claim as a known fact and ruling out falsehoods.