I admit that I had to stop reading about halfway through and take a breather because of the intensity of my own experiences with doubt, but after a couple of days of reading something else, I picked up Faith and Doubt and finished it in one sitting. I was hungry for the thoughts this author spread out before me with such clarity and thorough probing. Ortberg does not hesitate to explore his own doubts honestly and is willing to present the arguments of well known doubters as diverse as "doubting" Thomas, Freud and many oft-quoted and published atheists and agnostics. Including extensive footnotes, Ortberg covers many facets of faith and doubt. But the philosophical, theological nature of this book is deeply embedded in skillful storytelling. I would love to hear John Ortberg speak if he speaks as naturally as he writes.
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This book is written in a conversational and down-to-earth style. Christians can also incorrectly think of doubt as the opposite of faith, yet the very nature of faith requires the presence of some uncertainty. Bold added by me. This post is from I have no idea why I did not share page numbers!
Sometimes people of faith can be glib. Many believers tend to think doubters are given over to meaningless, moral confusion, and despair.
Many doubters assume believers are nonthinking, dogmatic, judgmental moralizers. It does not mean choosing to believe an impossible thing for no good reason. Any freely chosen commitment is a leap, such as the choice to marry or have children…. The leap of faith is a leap because it involves making a total commitment. It can be for good reasons — reasons we have carefully considered.
But it is nevertheless a leap, because we have to commit in spite of fears and doubts…. And some decisions, generally the most important ones, require total commitment but do not give any guarantees.
That troubles folks sometimes. They wonder why we have to have faith. But without faith, it is impossible to please anybody. Try making a friend without having faith. What we really want is trust, wisely placed. Trust is better than certainty because it honors freedom of persons and makes possible growth and intimacy that certainty alone could never produce.
He seems to leave space for them. People who do not want there to be a God will find a way to believe that there is no God. Blaise Pascal said that there is enough light for those who want to see and enough darkness for those of a different persuasion.
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John Ortberg Books & Studies
Faith & Doubt, by John Ortberg [book review]
Faith & Doubt
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