Doubt is, interestingly enough, one of the key components of faith. It is the experience of walking through dense fog, fearing you are lost and alone. Occasionally, the fog will lift and you get your bearings, and realize just how close God has been. Then the fog descends again, and the faithful is called to step forward once more, only to have the doubt return. The doubt returns, wondering if the fog will ever again lift to reveal the light.
If this sounds horrific to you, please understand it is not. I say this because the opposite of doubt, contrary to popular belief, is not faith – it’s hope. The faithful dare wrestle with doubt because they hope for a better world. A world of light and grace.
There are many Christians who are terrified of doubt, and it can be a frightful thing. But faith without doubt leads to the kind of certitude which dehumanizes the other. It’s how you end up with ISIS, an armed mob taking over a wildlife refuge, and groups dedicated to hating people of other ethnic backgrounds. It’s also how you end up with type of spiteful disdain non-theists are increasingly happy to heap upon theists of all varieties.
A person without the fog of doubt is not faithful, they are dangerous. In the fog of doubt we gain hope, and embrace humility. In the fog, we learn to be human.