Summarizing. Doubt is a necessary and healthy part of faith. Doubt is necessary because faith is necessary. Faith is necessary because we are finite and no knowledge or logic is, in itself, compelling. At some point in time we have to bridge the gap from “reasonable” to either belief or disbelief (at least in some things). Faith that is not empowered by doubt will not likely stand the test of intellectual or cultural challenge (if it would even be correct to call it faith). Loss of faith in God often comes when doubt is squelched instead of addressed openly.
A challenge here is obvious. If faith is necessary, even a common part of human existence, how can it be the determining eternal existence? One challenge is that we are dealing with faith on two levels… a logical level and a Biblical level. Biblical faith includes the logical level but goes further.
Faith, as a logical concept, is the necessary bridge between a reasonable idea and a personally compelling idea. Of course, faith has to have an object. One does not simply “have faith.” One must have faith in something. For example, one might consider using their credit card on an Internet purchasing site. There is clearly a risk of sharing information that can be abused with strangers. Yet there are reasons to trust the system as well. In the end, one must decide one side is compelling. This is faith. The object of that faith is belief in trusting or not trusting a website for financial transactions. There is clearly an active component to faith. Faith gives direction.
So far then,
- Faith is universal. It bridges reasonable and compelling
- Faith, in its essence, is volitional rather than cognitive
- Faith must have an object.
- Faith demonstrates itself in action.
This is logical faith. Biblical faith is built on it, but…
- The object of faith is trust in God
So Biblical faith is the reasonable (but not undeniable) conclusion that one can live a life trusting God, as God is revealed in History and the Bible.
One should never apologize for faith. Everyone has faith on one form or another. In “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” by Douglas Adams, we discover that the Ruler of the Universe, is a man in a shack who has no faith. He comes to essentially no conclusions about his own thoughts or sensory inputs. A very difficult way to live.
Faith in God has been found reasonable by lots of people throughout history. Faith that is unprepared by doubt to handle the rigors of opposing beliefs and arguments is a weak faith. Such a faith, perhaps, one might feel a bit apologetic about.
Religious leaders should never seek to instill that type of faith in its members.