First, let me clarify the interplay between doubt and questioning. To "question" does not equate to "doubt". Doubt is a litmus test; it either pushes us to sincere questions, or it forces us to choose an easier path of unbelief. Essentially the question is: "Is doubt necessary?" I propose that it is.
Before I joined my church, I had much doubt. "I did a lot of research. I studied and checked out books at the library. I read books by those opposed to my church. I read the words of the prophets. I read those who obviously had an axe to grind. I sifted through the bias and sorted out the truth. Even while reading this literature, I joined my church.
For a time after I joined my church, I did not question. I flowed along, blindly, if you will. I was content to float along. It was safe. The world became black and white; there was faith on one side and doubt on the other. There was no mingling of the two. When questions arose, I put them aside, or didn"t bother searching them. I became stagnant, and my faith felt empty. I have revisited many of those questions and found that even though answers may not be apparent, the questioning itself leads to inspiration and greater faith.
Do I question at times whether God is there? Unequivocally yes - I would be lying if I said otherwise. Does this mean that I have no faith? Absolutely not - faith is hope in things we cannot see. I rely on my spiritual feelings to tell me what lies just beyond my eyes. I continue to get answers in many different ways: the spirit testifies, the fruits of good choices and right living, the knowledge in my heart and mind. I continue to search out my questions with a desire to understand, knowing that I may not always get answers right away, or at all. I rely on the many wonderful spiritual promptings from the Holy Ghost; confirmations of truth which I have had and continue to have.
I may be tempted to generalize those who question as just not having enough faith. However, faith grows and is garnered by the very questions that hope to define and explain. Questioning with a sincere desire, bolsters certainty in a world of uncertainty. Therein is the key. If we have sincere desire to find answers, doubt and questions will lead us to greater faith.
Ultimately, faith and doubt work together. They are opposing forces that are a necessity of mortal probation. Faith and doubt are much like good and evil, polar opposites that we interplay between while traveling through this necessary condition of mortality. We need good and evil in this life to help us choose, as we need faith and doubt. Ultimately faith and doubt will no longer be needed when this mortal probation is over. In the meantime, I am as the father who said to Christ in Mark 9:24; ""Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
I thank robherr for posting such an intruguing topic. I, for one, think doubt and faith are not meant to be together.
First, let's define these three terms.
Doubt: "to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe."
Faith: "belief in God that is not based on proof"
Necessary: "being essential, indispensable, or requisite"
(All definitions are from dictionary.com)
Point 1: Doubt is not faith
Looking at the definition for faith, we can see something rather intriguing, it's not based on proof. If something's not based on proof, you're going to doubt it until you see some evidence. If you're a reasonable person, a preist is unable to convince you that God exists, because he has no evidence, only faith.
So there goes doubt into faith. Now the question is; What does faith come from?
Point 2; Where does faith come from?
You probably remember waking up early to see what Santa brought you. Or hiding from the Boogieman at night, when you were young. Why are you doing these? It's not like they're real, right?
Well, not according to our parents. It's very common for parents to spread stories about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus to their children. And since they're only 3 years old, they lack the sense to doubt what a 16 year old would dismiss easily, with the lack of proof.
But aren't we talking about God here? True, but the same goes for God and Jesus. If you're in a religious family, they'll convince you that God will always protect you. And chances are you're also going to church, where they also preach about Christ. All of this information will be taken as true to a young mind. Then, we have faith.
Point 3: Doubt is not necessay for faith.
P1: If Faith comes only from Doubt, then Doubt is necessary.
P2: Doubt comes from reason, and Faith comes from a lack of reason.
C1: Faith cannot logically come from Doubt.
C2: Therefore, the resolution is negated.
P1: If Faith comes only from Doubt, then Doubt is necessary.
P2: Parents convince a young mind into Faith.
C1: If Parents are responsible for Faith, then Doubt is not needed.
C2: Therefore, the resoltion is negated.
Unless my opponent can counter both of these, my burden is fulfilled.
Of course, it's useless if I only give my own argument. I must also examine my opponent's.
"For a time after I joined my church, I did not question. I flowed along, blindly, if you will." Sure, it's not good manners to question the minister out loud. However, are you sure you never questioned the bible's statements, on the inside? Recall that my opponent said doubt pushes us to question. Why is this not the case here?
"there was faith on one side and doubt on the other. There was no mingling of the two." So what you're saying is that you had both faith and doubt? Doubt means to reason, faith means the lack of reason. They cannot logically be together.
"I became stagnant, and my faith felt empty." But you were doing so well. Pro was flowing with faith, then the faith stopped. So how does doubt become faith, again?
"I have revisited many of those questions and found that even though answers may not be apparent, the questioning itself leads to inspiration and greater faith." The questions Pro is reffering to, are reasons to doubt God. These questions might include "Where is God?", "Does He really exist?", "If I pray something be done, will it be done?". So where did Pro recieve these answers? And what answered the questions, Doubt, Faith, or the Prime Minister?
Let's sum up what happened so far: Doubtful Pro goes to church. Pro begins to feel Faith by the Bible, but is still doubtful. After the preaching ended, Pro feels out of Faith. Pro thinks about questions he had while he was still doubtful. Pro regains Faith.
The last two sentences have a gap. He puts thought into questions doubting God, then he trusts God exists more than before. I don't really buy this.
Here's how I would personally answer the questions:
"Where is God?" Apparently in the Heavens. Where is the heavens? A celestial plane only accessible to few. Am I part of "few"? I may or may not have comitted sins, like doubting God. And besides, where's the evidence?
"Does He really exist?" Maybe, maybe not. I can't truthfully say "yes" without evidence.
"If I pray something be done, will it be done?" Wel, I personally have not ever heard of enough cases to say "yes".
Now I ask Pro: Are thesccurate to your own answers? If yes, then how does this get you more faith? If not, then what were your answers?
Back to my examination:
"faith is hope in things we cannot see. I rely on my spiritual feelings to tell me what lies just beyond my eyes." Here, my opponent concedes my definiton on Faith. So now he cannot contest said definition.
"I continue to get answers in many different ways: the spirit testifies, the fruits of good choices and right living, the knowledge in my heart and mind." Cool. So if you ask a question doubting God, He'll answer? How come he never answers my questions?
I find these statements Pro's making fitting more in the time of the Bible; when Jesus is walking through, spreading the word of God. But this isn't the middle ages, so the spirit testifying might be lost, fruits can't really tell you anything, even if it' metophorical.
"Ultimately, faith and doubt work together." Actually, churches and faith work together. So does logic and doubt. Doubt and faith are polar opposites, never meant to be together.
"We need good and evil in this life to help us choose" Choose what, exactly? Morality, perhaps. But having both doubt and faith have little to do with choosing between right and wrong. That is, assuming it's possible to doubt and have faith in something.
Conclusion: Pro will have to step up his game. The definitions are evidence that Doubt cannot become Faith. And a child lacks doubt, but can be preached by parents, so doubt is not needed for faith. I have also thrown Pro's statements into doubt.
Assuming Pro's ready, show me what your Doubtful Faith can do, because my Logic and Doubt is ready for the Bible!