O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Taking My Doubt to WaPo

I was thrilled last week to have been given the chance to write a piece about being a doubting Christian for the Washington Post’s On Faith section, as one of their “Guest Voices.” It was linked from the’s front page on Sunday (right under a Chelsea Clinton wedding feature) and brought a lot of traffic this direction.

To those of you who ended up here from the column’s link, welcome.

To those of you who didn’t read the column, here’s a quick excerpt:

Why is doubt so taboo? Biblical commands to “believe and not doubt”
(James 1:6) are culprits, although it helps to read them alongside the
stories of heroes like Abraham, David, and the disciples–who asked
direct, honest questions without any smiting-based repercussions.


Another problem is our need to belong. Christianity can be an
appearance-driven culture just like high school or the country club.
People want to fit in. When you’re around happy, smiling churchgoers who
speak of God’s constant activity in their lives, it’s hard to admit you
don’t experience quite so personal a deity, and that recent discoveries
in neuroscience give you pause, and why doesn’t the problem of evil
keep everyone else up at night like it does me?

You can read the full column here.

Comments read comments(9)
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posted August 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Wow. I’m now extremely depressed after wading thru almost all of the comments there. How is it possible that so many critical, angry, rigid, spelling-challenged folks exist & feel it necessary to comment?

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Charlie H.

posted August 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Congrats on the opportunity Jason!
I enjoyed the parallel of churches to country clubs where everyone is well dressed and everyone is fine and dandy. I suppose we do that because we don’t want anyone to actually know our pain, because then we may have to actually do something about it (just because its painful doesn’t mean its fun to heal).

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posted August 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

The comments i like best:
“Wow. The extremists on -both- sides have really come out in the comments, which is too bad. I was hoping that the comments might further what the author began: a thoughtful discussion of how someone can continue to believe in God in the face of nagging doubts. I admire that. Isn’t that what faith is?”
“Mr. Boyett: I think you are one of the most intellectually honest people to ever appear on this forum. . . ”
“Jason, now see what you’ve done; you’ve caused a lot of drivel.”
Of course, that is not your fault!

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Like a Child

posted August 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

What a great article on the Washington Post. Thank you for your honesty.

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posted August 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

“why doesn’t the problem of evil keep everyone else up at night like it does me?”
Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. Reading your blog gives me the inspiration to keep up the struggle and not settle for facile answers.

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Jason Boyett

posted August 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Thanks especially to Kathryn for digging through the critical stuff to find some encouraging, positive comments. When I write for big, public forums like WaPo or the Daily Beast, I’ve learned not to read very far into the comments. Inevitably, it’s only one or two commenters until the knives come out. For my own sanity, I just don’t read any of them, good or bad.
So for you to take on the arduous task of finding the gems is something I truly appreciate. It allows me to feel good about myself while also preserving my mental health. :)

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Ray Hollenbach

posted August 2, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Jason, I’m delighted to see you have the opportunity to contribute to a publication with the reach of the Washington Post, and you’re right, spending time in the comments section just isn’t very worthwhile. So let me tell you here that I’m pleased on your behalf.
May I pose one question? It will take a few sentences to express:
I agree that as followers of Jesus we *should* wrestle with the hard questions, and even fess up if we find the common answers unsatisfying. For my money I want to hang out with people who lose sleep over the problem of evil. But (here it comes!) isn’t there also a place–in the same article–to assure your audience that the living presence of Jesus worth all the doubts? After reading your WashPost article I tweeted, “When did claiming to be clueless become the sign of authenticity?”
There are so many issues that must be faced with honesty and good humor, and when the answers fall short we should say so–but at the end of the day shouldn’t we also testify to his goodness and love?
Grace to you, and Peace!

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posted August 3, 2010 at 9:27 am

Thanks for pointing out the post. I’d not read it. Congratulations on getting your ideas out there… always an encouragement to see that.
-Marshall Jones Jr.

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Dave C.

posted August 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

When I was young I knew very little; my faith in God was as a child’s, simple and unquestioning.
When I was a young adult and I had learned some things, I had faith in myself, not on a God I couldn’t see or hear.
Now that I’m older and have had opportunites to make many mistakes, I choose to place my trust in God; but I can only pray to someday be as a child again in my faith.
How can I spit out the piece of the apple that I ate? What can I unlearn today?
(Israel = “to wrestle with God” = to doubt) – not a bad thing, maybe?

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