There is a new Barna survey out which indicates that about 80% of people who claim to be Christians have, or have had, doubts about their faith. The actual statistic is that 65% have had doubts in the past, and 26% still do. While we can see that the majority of that 80% have since resolved their doubts, we also see that many continue to struggle. And this struggle is not benign. While the struggle with doubt has served to make most Christians ultimately stronger in their faith, the survey also indicates that there are about 12% who go in the opposite direction and completely turn their back on Christ. So why is it that Christians struggle with doubt?
Doubt occurs when a person’s beliefs no longer seem reasonable to them. Seemingly, for doubters, there is some other belief that, for whatever reason, seems more reasonable.
Of course, in actual fact, there is no other belief that is more reasonable than biblical faith. In spite of that, many people believe there is. So in American society, what beliefs could possibly be a competitor to a Christian’s faith to the extent that it would cause them to doubt their faith in Christ?
Naturalism in Modern Society
There are numerous religions that people turn to as they walk away from their Christian faith, but the primary faith competitor in American society is Naturalism. Because of that, the focus of this article is on the naturalistic worldview problem. Naturalistic philosophy is, literally, the environment we are immersed in, and its foundation is contrary to our Christian faith. It is what we were taught in school, what we hear in the news media, and what we see on TV and in the movies. In some places Naturalistic belief is overtly taught. In other places it is more subtle – students are taught “as if” Naturalism is true even though perhaps not stated overtly. Whatever the case, it does dominate our society. The problem is that for those who come to a place where they accept naturalistic beliefs as true, the Christian faith seems not true.
So, specifically, what are the basic beliefs of Naturalism?
Naturalism answers the three worldview questions as follows:
1. The natural universe is all that exists.
2. Human beings are natural animals that came into being by naturalistic evolution.
3. The ultimate one can get out of life is survival and personal fulfillment.
With that foundation, there are some important implications that emerge.
1. God does not exist.
This is pretty straightforward. If the natural universe is all that exists, there can be no transcendent God who exists outside of it.
2. All that does exist had to have come into existence by natural means that we can ultimately understand by science (this includes all animate and inanimate elements of existence).
According to Naturalism, since there is nothing supernatural to create the natural, all that exists is the natural universe, and it must operate based on natural laws. Thus, all that is necessary is for us to come to an understanding of the operation of those natural laws in order to understand all of reality. The methodology Naturalists have latched onto to discover and understand natural laws is science.
3. There is no such thing as objective right and wrong. Values and morality must be created based on the preferences of those who have the power to influence society.
The existence of objective morality would require that there be an objectively real transcendent law giver. As Naturalists rejects that out of hand, naturalistic morality cannot be based on an objective foundation. The basis of morality, then, cannot be a revelation from God, but must be relative, and based on the preferences of those who hold the power to enforce their desires. This can result from the consensus of society or the decrees of those who hold political power.
But, Naturalism Is Not True
While many people in the world live life “as if” naturalistic beliefs are true, the fact is, Naturalism is not true. In fact, there is no science able to demonstrate that it is even possible for naturalistic beliefs to be true. Naturalism is a faith system; and in spite of the fact that its adherents believe its tenets are based on science, they are not.
We already noted that Naturalism asserts that all of reality can be known using science. But what science can demonstrate that the natural universe is all that exists? There is none. What science can demonstrate that life can emerge from non-life? There is none. What science can show the biological mechanisms that provided for the existence of the variety of life forms that exist on earth? There is none. What science can demonstrate the origin of consciousness? There is none. In other words, none of the things necessary to demonstrate the truth of Naturalism can be shown to be true based on empirical science (which is what their own belief system requires). As such, Naturalism is a religious system based purely on faith.
How to Overcome Doubt
So, what does that tell us about the foundation of people’s doubts? It tells us that they are based primarily on the beliefs of a false religion. If you “lose your faith” based on the belief that science leads you to a different conclusion, you are actually not arriving at that conclusion based on science, but on the beliefs of another faith. You have somehow concluded that the beliefs of the other faith as more reasonable than your faith in Christ. It is a religious decision, not one based on empirical facts. So, what is necessary is to discover what faith is true?
First you must grasp the worldview foundation and the implications of the belief system you are considering as something you are willing to accept. Whatever faith you accept, you will consider its beliefs to be normative, and the implications of that faith will be expressed in your life. Any belief that is not the actual truth about reality will have inconsistencies and contradictions that cannot be reconciled. God’s revelation of himself in the Bible is the true path to knowing reality.
Second, you must grasp the beliefs of your Christian faith. God is a real person, and the relationship we develop with him through Christ is an objective reality. When we know Christ, we live in a real relationship with him.
Third, you must come to the understanding that non-biblical faiths are simply not true. They are not even able to meet the truth requirements of their own doctrine.
The Root of Doubt
One of the most basic sources of doubt for Christians is the acceptance of beliefs that rule out the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. The end result is that those who rebel against God because they accept a different belief system, reject him out of their blindness to the inconsistencies and contradictions of that system. When we come to the place where we are willing to accept the truth of the objective reality of God from our heart, we are in a position to set aside the doubt that can waylay our faith in Christ.
© 2017 Freddy Davis