An experience of intellectual doubt is often taken by Christians to be a sign of weak faith. I argue, however, that an encounter with doubt, when treated properly, is extremely valuable, since it can lead to knowledge and an even greater faith. To see this, it’s important to understand the nature of doubt. Intellectual doubt should be defined as finding plausible what we take to be a potentially defeating claim. This definition provides insights for how to evaluate one’s doubts. My claim is that it is completely rational to maintain our Christian faith while experiencing doubt. This allows us to in turn evaluate the reasonableness of our doubt. Evidence matters with intellectual doubt, since a doubt requires outweighing evidence to defeat a belief effectively. Merely to find an objection plausible is not for there to be a preponderance of evidence in its favor. The upshot of all this is that, by addressing our doubts, we are forced to think more carefully about our faith (i.e., we have greater knowledge) and, in the case that a doubt is diffused, we have more reason to trust (i.e., we have an even greater faith).
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Travis M. Dickinson about his 39:04 article “Doubt as Virtue: How to Doubt and Have Faith without Exploding“.
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