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Dark Prophet Status: reclaiming doubt

Posted by Robyn on December 30, 2012 in Theology |

I recently began looking for theological works on doubt.  To my surprise, I found very few.  In fact, I only found one (1) book, written by Alister McGrath.  It seems as though this book is written from a systematic perspective.  Sure, there are other books written by Evangelical pastors that pursue the argument in favor of certainty, but I actually think this is the wrong approach.  Certainty has its limits.  Once you begin at point A, you are then searching for point B, and doing so out of an impulse for certainty.  What if belief and the question of faith moved us beyond certainty?  Away from the idolatry of a certain, normative God toward a more robust system of believing, where questions compelled us to live more radically into the followings of Jesus, for example.  What if?!

I want to argue for moments where we reclaim doubt.  I call this the Dark Prophet.  We don’t so much look to doubt for learning how to negotiate our impulse to believe or even our moral impulses.  What if doubt helped us find a new way into Christianity, or maybe we arrive at something that is beyond Christianity?  Certainly, we will arrive at a place beyond the Christendom of the 21st century.  Might we revolutionize what is almost the 3rd millenuim of Christianity with doubt?  After all, it is Pete Rollins whose tagline on his website reads:  to believe is human; to doubt, divine.  This is precisely where I want to head–into the point of light that doubt is and becomes for those of us who are either disenfranchised with the Church that leaves no room for questions, or for those of us who simply have more questions than answers.

Believing is easy.  We’re socialized into the capital of belief.  We’re taught to believe our parents and other family members, we’re taught to believe people in authority.  We have the natural impulse to believe because of our socialization.  But! What about the divine gift of doubt?  What about the questions that perpetually waken us or stir us deep inside?  The things that we are simply not sure about?  What do we do with these questions?  The Church tells us to simply believe the pastor or the Social Teachings of the Church, and to silence the energy that emerges within us culminating in doubt.  This Dark Prophet is a gift, and we must find a way to engage this Dark Prophet and negotiate the matrix of belief and doubt.  Is there another way into Christianity outside of certainty?  I think there is!

I want to explore this in a series of blog posts.  This is my first post among many to come.  I want to challenge the framework of certainty to try and get to a different place in the Christian faith.  I also hope this will elucidate a theological identity for those who want to embrace doubt as a starting point for their Christian faith/identity.  This may be a long road, but it is in the journey that we all become more faithful to ourself and the journey itself.  Stay tuned!

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