Every so often I feel emotionally overcome with “what if” questions. It makes me upset at myself because I question the things I already have answers to. How can I overcome these feelings of doubt? I am writing to you because I had a question about doubt. Ever since I have moved to join a mission team I have constantly had doubts in my mind. Doubts about Gods existence and about the reliability of the bible, Jesus, and so on. I have been a Christian for 3 1/2 years and I am fairly familiar with arguments to prove these things. It is somewhat frustrating to me that I cannot seem to convince myself of these things!
What a great question. You are experiencing something which is totally normal. You should not feel bad about having doubts. We all have doubts. I am concerned about people who never have any doubts about their Christianity. This can only be true if people do not think very much, and it is important to think as a Christian.
Let me give you some generic advice about this. I believe that you should focus on just one or two questions at a time. Otherwise you might get caught up in “paralysis of analysis.” Let me explain. Do you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead? I believe that the evidence for the resurrection is pretty much of a “slam dunk.” The empty tomb, the fact that it was declared in Jerusalem just days later and the fact that there were more than 500 eye withnesses shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Well, if this is true, then the overall truth of the Christian message is established. Do not let little doubts erase the basic truth, which is that Jesus was raised from the dead. There are a fairly small number of things about Christianity about which I am absolutely, without any reasonable question at this point, convinced of. If these things are true, then I can live with some doubts. The things I am really confident of, beyond a reasonable doubt are the following: God exists. Life was created. Jesus was raised from the dead. The Bible is inspired by God (at least parts of it are, and I am willing at this point in my spiritual journey to accept that this means all of it is). The evidence for the existence of God and the creation of life is overwhelming. Given the prophecies and their fulfillment, at least parts of the Bible are inspired, and it is not a big leap to conclude, at least preliminarily, that the whole thing is inspired. These few facts provide a solid basis for me to accept many other things as well. Do I ever have doubts that I will be raised from the dead? Yes, I do. I cannot prove this, and it does not even appear to be a rational belief, given the facts, but I am prepared to accept this and deal with my doubts because of the other things I am very confident about. Does this make sense to you?
Now, I understand that some of the things you are doubting are on my list of for sure things. That is OK as well, but you need to ask reasonable things about these. For example, if Jesus was raised from the dead, does that not prove that God exists? Is there any reasonable doubt about the resurrection of Jesus? If there is, I have never heard one. When it comes to the inspiration of the Bible, what I like to say is that I cannot prove that the book of Esther is inspired by God. However, given the fulfillment of prophecy in Daniel, for example, I KNOW that at least parts of the Bible are undeniably inspired. Do I ever have doubts about certain other scriptures? Yes, I do, but I always go back to those three or four things I am sure about.
Hang in there. You are experiencing something which is perfectly normal.