Deconstructing Our Doubts

The root of our unbelief is not usually an intellectual problem of the head, but a relational problem of the heart.

Soren Kierkegaard, the famous 19th century Danish philosopher said:

“People try to persuade us that the objections against Christianity spring from doubt. The objections against Christianity spring from insubordination, the dislike of obedience, rebellion against all authority. As a result, people have hitherto been beating the air in the struggle against objections, because they have fought intellectually with doubt instead of fighting morally with rebellion.”

This is extraordinarily important for us to remember. Our underlying problems with God, for Christians and non-Christians, have little to do with our inability to believe, and everything to do with what we want. Our desires, passions and wishes drive our will and intellect. The Puritan pastor and theologian, Thomas Cranmer, said it best:

What the heart loves, the will choose, and the mind justifies.”

The trouble with our doubts is actually the trouble with human nature: we are born with a heart that loves ourselves over and above everything else in this world, including Jesus. We are slaves to our lust for self-gratification; slaves to our reputation, slaves to control, and slaves to personal and peer approval. That’s why, if we are left to ourselves, we will always love those things that make us look and feel good about ourselves, even if it means moving further from God and His ways.

We want something, choose it by our will, and then search for intellectual justifications.  We want to believe we are more logical, more objective, and more reasonable than that, but the truth is, we always do what we want.  We need someone to break in, overpower our idolatrous affections, and replace them with an even greater affection.  We need a power outside ourselves to overtake us. Our infinite capacity for skepticism and doubt will never be settled until our love for Christ grows.

As Tim Keller has often said, that’s why God didn’t send us a water-tight, inescapable argument as the ultimate solution to our doubts. Instead, He sent us a water-tight, inescapable person. You can debate and doubt. You need to relate to a person. And Mark wants you to properly relate to Jesus by telling us the stories of those who didn’t.