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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ok To Doubt?

Is it healthy to have doubts about your faith?  Or, does it mean you are weak and lack real conviction?  For those of us who are raising kids, we can expect to get questions about God sooner rather than later.  And I would argue that the questions are actually a good thing – it means they’re thinking!

According to a Barna study of young adults who no longer believe the Bible:
  • 40% first had doubts in middle school.
  • 44% first had doubts in high school.
  • 11% first had doubts in college.
In other words, kids are going to have doubts, and they aren’t going to wait until college to try to figure it all out.  Given the statistics that many of these kids will leave the church, I think we can reach a logical conclusion:  kids aren’t getting their questions answered about faith and reason.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that many kids growing up in Christian homes probably feel ashamed for even asking tough questions.

The first questions we often get from our preschoolers are how and why?  As kids get older, they begin to use logical thinking and want to distinguish between fantasy and reality.  They go from asking things like Is Jesus stronger than Daddy?  to If Jesus died on a cross, how can he live in my heart?

During this Easter season, I want my kids to know that it’s ok to ask questions. As parents, we need to listen first and not shame our kids for expressing doubts.  As important, we need to not only know what we believe but why we believe.

Do you think it’s ok to doubt?  And are you prepared for the questions? 

Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith – Frederick Buechner


Steena Holmes said...

I think it's healthy to doubt. For children, it is a starting point for them standing on their own feet, deciding what is important to them, who God is ect. As parents - if we've gone through that doubting stage, then we can understand more what our children are going through and not get into such a panic about it!

Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks Steena! I couldn't agree more.

MC said...

Doubts may arise when what the mind knows questions what the heart or soul feels. True faith isn't based solely on reason. For some questions, that is the answer. Developing trust in that is part of the growth process - and not just for kids!