Should I Date a Christian Who Doubts?

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Should I Date a Christian Who Doubts?

Most, if not all, Christians experience doubts at some point. Oftentimes these doubts occur at a young age, but not always. As you consider with whom you should pursue a relationship, should doubts be a red flag?

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Is Doubting Your Faith a Sin?

There is much debate in regard to the value of doubting one’s faith. Throughout the New Testament, doubt is almost exclusively referred to with a negative connotation. Here are just a few examples in the Gospels of doubt being referred to negatively:

Matthew 14:31 — Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 21:21 — And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

Matthew 28:17 — And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

Luke 24:38 — And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

In each of these cases, Jesus addresses the doubts of his listeners, and each time he expresses disapproval of their doubts. Why is this? In each of these cases, those who are doubting are not confessing believers in Jesus Christ who are having minor hesitations, but are seriously questioning whether Jesus is who He says He is while looking straight at Him. While believers today may struggle with doubting what we cannot see, those in Jesus’ day were doubting what they could see.

While it is clear that even the twelve apostles at times experienced some doubt, they were all sure that Christ was who He says He is. Doubting your faith is not sinful, although it can be a slippery slope and can lead to one refusing to believe in Christ. Jesus recognized the consequences of a lack of faith, and rebuked those who gave into doubt.

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What Are You Doubting?

There are countless issues with regard to the Bible and the Christian faith. Some common issues over which many experience doubt are: reliability of Scripture, historicity of the resurrection, Genesis’ creation account, authorship of certain books of the Bible, etc. Experiencing doubts about such questions is normal. Many such issues are not taught explicitly on Sunday mornings or youth group. Therefore, hearing an opposing view to what you have always held can be disconcerting to say the least.

For example, if you have always believed in the biblical account of creation, hearing the theory of evolution and the earth being millions of years old could be very confusing and frustrating. There may not be satisfactory resources available to resolve your doubts, and you may be left wondering what is really true. This is a common process for Christians, and it occurs over a myriad of issues. But this struggle of doubt can even be a beneficial process.

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The Virtue of Doubt

One common issue with modern Christianity is that many children and teenagers simply accept the faith of their parents without truly engaging with the ideas and claims for themselves. Many parents are thrown off guard when their high school or college-age kids suddenly begin expressing doubts over their faith. In reality, this is a normal and healthy process. I do not believe that God is pleased by Christians who express faith in Him simply because their parents said so. What God desires is those who are completely committed to His cause. They have counted the cost, weighed the issues, and made the informed decision that they choose to pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ.

If the person whom you are dating is expressing doubts about his or her faith, engage the doubts. Do not try to resolve the issue straight away, and do not dismiss the doubts. Ask good questions. Try to understand what she or he has understood about the subject in the past, and what other ideas they are currently considering that are causing doubt in the first place. Seek out mentors and resources that can explain multiple sides of a certain issue. In order to wrestle with doubts, one must seek guidance, think critically, and ultimately make an individual decision on the matter.

This can be, and often is, an extremely edifying experience for the Christian. When a believer can finally break free from believing what they have been told their whole lives, to having a true, genuine commitment to Jesus Christ, it is a beautiful thing. Doubt is the very foundation of this process.

Who you share your doubts with is important. If you share doubts you are experiencing with a pastor or mentor, they can help to address your questions with grace and knowledge, guiding you towards Christ with their responses. However, if you express doubts with non-Christian friends, they may contribute to your doubts and leave you in a more uncertain position by the end of the conversation.

If the person whom you are dating is having doubts about their faith, do not be quick to run away. Press into these doubts. What initiated the doubts? What are the implications of these doubts? Who else do you know who has experienced similar doubts? Do you have any insight to share on the matter? Have you yourself thought critically on these matters?

Join in with your friend in exploring these doubts and see how God is able to work through the process. Is it possible that your friend will experience doubt to the point of walking away from the Church? Yes. Is it also possible that working through such doubts can be a turning point, leading him or her to a deeper, richer relationship with Christ than ever thought possible? Absolutely. Allow the words of Solomon to guide you on your journey through doubt:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth." (Proverbs 4:13)

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headshot of author Lucas HagenLucas Hagen is a freelance writer, recently graduated from Taylor University with majors in Biblical Literature and Youth Ministries. When he is not writing for Crosswalk, you can find him reading great books, playing guitar, competing in professional disc golf tournaments, and spending quality time with his lovely wife, Natalie, and their fluffy cat, Woodward. You can read more of his writing at habitsofholiness.com.