To be fair there are passages which condemn doubt in the
face of evidence [Matthew 14:31], but the reality is that not everyone in the NT who doubted was rebuked by Jesus for their doubt [John 20:27-29] This leads me to conclude that there are at least two different kinds of doubt. There is doubt which is due to a failure to understand or see certain evidence, and there is a type of doubt that is due to a refusal to consider and a rejection of evidence.
These different doubts are a result of opposite hearts. One type of doubt comes from a sincere desire to know the truth, whatever that truth may be. The other type of doubt comes from a desire to reject a certain point of view, regardless of the truth of that point of view. Outwardly, these two type of doubt may appear very much the same, but the heart, which only God can see, is very different in each case.
The scriptures do not condemn the heart that is unwilling to believe without evidence, in fact, very much the opposite. Christians are everywhere warned not to believe everyone, but to test what is taught [Matthew 7:15-18; 1 John 4:1-2]. Yet there is a strong condemnation of the heart who refuses to believe because of corrupt motives [John 5:44-47].
The discerning heart
One convincing piece of evidence that Jesus did not approve of 'blind, un-discerning acceptance' is the mind the NT insists is necessary for faith. Consider:
- Humility [Matt.18:1-4]
- Love the truth [John 18:37; 8:32]
- Willing to hear [Rom.10:17]
- Willing to prove all things [1 Thess.5:21]
- Rejection of passions that corrupt honesty [2 Tim.4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:1-\0-12]
- Refusal to believe without testing [1 John 4:1]
- A good an honest heart [Luke 8:15]
A danger of secret doubt
Some believers have the idea that all doubt is sinful and yet, despite their greatest efforts, they are unable to completely eliminate it from their minds. They are many times taught that faith is a gift bestowed on them by God, having nothing to do with themselves, and as a result are taught that any doubt is indication that God has not given them the gift of faith. They may deny doubt, that in reality continues to linger in the back of their minds, growing stronger as time goes on, then, when they have lain unchallenged for so long they finally cannot be ignored anymore, they burst forth with rage and vigor, seemingly unassailable. The other thing that may happen is for them to turn away from faith entirely believing they are not one of God's chosen so why bother.
The conclusion I draw from this is that we should seek the solution of difficulties instead of trying to hide them from ourselves. In many cases, thinking about it objectively enough to state it succinctly will reveal it is no real threat to genuine Christian faith. If not, then you can at least be aware to watch for evidence you might cross that will solve the difficulty. In some cases, that may require embarking on a serious study of all available evidence, with a willingness to follow the trail until it's end, but in most cases, a doubt is not a 'deal breaker', but merely something you will be consciously aware of looking for evidence to confirm or solve, and that search may take many years.
What the NT teaches is the basis of Faith
The way the NT appeals for faith proves that it does not ask people to believe without evidence or even worse, against the evidence. The in his gospel, the apostle John appealed to the miracles [20:30], Christ's works [5:35], the Father's witness [5:36-37], Moses and the OT [5:39-47]. Just one sermon in Acts appeals to the evidence of Prophesy [2:6,23,30-31,34], Miracles of Jesus [2:22], the resurrection [2:27-32], and the current miraculous happenings [2:33]
Jesus did teach that the Spirit would 'convict the world of sin because they believe not in me' [John 16:8-9] and as such, there is a sinful type of belief. Now that may seem objectionable to some. You may think the words of Christ harsh here, but consider the value of the
What matter could be more important that the matter of eternity after this life? It is of the greatest possible value to determine, if possible, what is truth regarding spiritual things. God is a historical fact through the ages. His existence, his incarnation, his resurrection, are all historic facts which can in fact be authenticated. If I, beginning with doubt do that, my belief is not sinful. If, no the other hand, I allow the doubt to prejudice me such that I neglect, or even refuse, to do that, my doubt is sinful. If a man is responsible for the reckless and negligent use of his hands, isn't he also responsible for the willful misuse of his mind? After all, isn't the hand just the instrument of the mind?
Many unbelievers call mightily for us to fulfill our responsibilities to our neighbor yet dismiss altogether that same obligation to fulfill our responsibilities to God.
The Love of the Truth must prevail
Paul spoke of those who did not love the truth, but had pleasure in a lie [2 Thess.2:10-12]. People who do not love truth are not attracted to it, and even when they see it, they quickly reject it and then rationalize that rejection. When truth about themselves is unpleasant they are offended and seek what makes them feel good, even if it is untrue. Some reject truth because it condemns some immorality they find pleasure in and are determined to continue. They seek some rational that will justify their unrighteousness and calm their conscience.
My conclusion is that you needn't be afraid of doubt, as long as it is honest doubt, seeking truth. If, however, it is prejudicial doubt, that isn't seeking truth but rather seeks confirmation of it's prejudices, there is nothing in the least noble in it. So, look at your own heart, be honest with/in your heart. Do you really love/seek truth?