Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The following is an excerpt from my sermon based on John 20:19-31...
Some years ago, David Boud of N.S.W. University researched the effect doubt as a phenomenon had on his own experience and that of others in a wide variety of life experiences, including religion and academic life.  He found that doubt has stages and is not a dead end. The process is something like the following:
*        It begins with disorientation - one's world view is challenged. A number of different factors can do this, including internal and external influences.  Sometimes this can take the form of a traumatic crisis, or exposure to new ideas which challenge one's accepted thinking.
*        Then comes despair, emerging from the disorientation, where one's foundations have been rocked and uncertainty reigns.
*        This hopefully leads to a period of exploration of new possibilities. The degree of openness and honesty influences the likelihood of the final stage taking place satisfactorily.
*        That final stage is re-orientation, where new thinking and belief is developed and integrated into a new framework.  In faith terms, this can take the form of emergence from an adolescent faith into an adult faith.  
Not everyone goes through the entire doubting process to its conclusion.  Some people get stuck in it and never emerge from the other end. 
It is like a cycle that the open, honest person experiences throughout their life. The conclusion of Boud's study is that doubt is not in itself counterproductive to faith. On the contrary, when embraced honestly, doubt can become a constructive process in developing a mature faith.
It might also be suggested that if we avoid doubt, and treat it as wrong, our faith may never grow. Worse, we may retreat into the fanaticism that fears doubt.
South African writer Laurens van der Post said; “Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.”
Blessings, Sharon Copeman

No comments:

Post a Comment