What should I do if I question my faith?

Hi friends,

On Quora, a participant asks what I think is a common question: “What should I do if I question my faith?”

One respondent suggests,

Welcome to the information age. When you are losing your faith, you can use the internet to do your own research. Of course, this will usually validate your lack/loss of faith, but that isn’t a bad thing.

Another puts it this way:

Most religious viewpoints do not stand up to standards of evidence and reason.
It’s up to you to decide if the emotional comfort you may (or may not) derive from belief outweighs the problem of cognitive dissonance that occurs when you suspect you are investing belief in nonsense.

I think both of these perspectives have merit to them. Many people have lost their faith after investigating it online. And part of having questions about faith is an experience of cognitive dissonance. “I was taught this is true, but now that doesn’t make sense.”

To make it personal, here’s my question: what steps have you taken when you have questions about your faith?


Thanks for this great question. I think both of those responses seem like appropriate reasons for people losing their faith. However, the first response doesn’t consider the possibility of our doubts being cleared on the internet and the second response sees the point of faith as merely emotional comfort and unconcerned if the object of faith is true or false. Neither of those responses are comforting because deep down I think we all want to base our emotions on truth. Many of us believe things we were taught as a child but if that faith isn’t based on truth, it isn’t helpful. There may be a need for some deconstruction of false ideas in order to have a reconstruction of true faith.

The question was what steps we have taken when we question our faith. As I thought about it, I realized I first questioned my faith as a hindu. The rituals, the caste system, the practice of sati, the mythical nature of the stories, were not something that cohered with a God of love. Infact I feared more than I loved the gods as a hindu. I was afraid of doing the wrong thing and displeasing the gods and wondered if they ever listened to my prayer. In Christ was presented to me a God of love, One who told me I was fearfully and wonderfully made, One who was willing to answer my prayers, One who was all powerful but chose to be the One who suffered for me. It wasn’t hard for me to choose between Christ and the other gods I had known. However, its not these reasons alone that keep me in the faith but it is the blessings of receiving Him. There’s a song which says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good”. You can read all about how something tastes but until you have tasted it, you don’t really know the taste. In my case, God’s arrangement of certain circumstances of my life and the life changing power of God’s word were enough proof that providence had been at work. This kind of reasoning has not been satisfactory to others in my life as some have questioned if my experiences were truly from God or if these could be attributed to other spiritual beings or other natural explanations.

At such times, I have sought and relied on answers for the reliability of the gospels, the claims of Jesus and the historicity of the resurrection of Christ. While I may continue to have many doubts, I have also realized not all doubts are foundational to placing our faith in Jesus.

I have never really doubted the existence of spiritual dimension to life. The fact that spiritual hunger is a universal phenomenon and all cultures have forms of worship has been reason enough to not dismiss spirituality all together. The beauty in nature, universal morality and biological evidence for intelligent design, have also been helpful in staying confident in my belief about God’s existence.

There is another kind of doubt that has plagued me though. If Christ is true, why isn’t there more unity and love among Christians? This continues to interfere my prayer life as we may not always be purely rational in our behavior. There have been times when this question has tempted me to give up my faith. However, I choose to stay in faith because my problem seems to be the depravity of man rather than what Christ can or cannot do. No other religion explains this truth about the sinfulness of man and the need for help from a sinless God better than Christianity.

So unlike the response on quora, I choose to follow Christ even when going through emotionally discomforting times because I think Christ is true.


You said it all very well @lakshmi :hugs:


Thanks @don , I have addressed some of the doubts I personally had. I did not adddress the steps in terms of approach. Its sad when people go to the internet with the hope of finding right answers but end up on a wrong path because they may not have the right tools to assess the information. We have to get to the bottom of the arguments on the faith claims. But how do we do that right? How do we assess the reliability of statements we hear people make? Are there other approaches than the internet to verify a claim? There seems to be a lot more that can be discussed in response to the question and am curious to read more on the topic.


I hope I am not missing the point of the post, but I ‘googled’: grinning: cognitive dissonance. Mr. Google gave me many choices, and I decided to go to this site (Cognitive Dissonance Examples: 5 Ways It Pops Up In Everyday Life). Most of the examples are things that we all have experienced.
The website points out this is a relatively normal human condition, and we are all faced with the task of sorting through new data or trends that conflict with our beliefs/habits/convictions regularly, but when I think of ‘truth-seeking,’ it’s hard to compare conflicting personal beliefs with the rigors of a faithful pursuit of the truth. On one end of the spectrum, I like this quote:

“Christians are often lacking in courage. We tend to give the impression that we will hold on to the outward forms whatever happens, even if God is not really there. But the opposite ought to be true of us, so that people can see that we demand the truth of what is there and that we are not dealing with mere platitudes.” “In other words, it should be understood that we take this questions of truth and personality [who God is and who human beings are] so seriously that if God were not there, we would be among the first to have the courage to [say so flatly and walk away from church and Christianity altogether] Insofar as we show this to be our attitude, maybe [those we wish to reach] will begin to take us seriously and listen to what we have to say.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There.

No bones approach full speed ahead. Bring on all comers.

To be fair, I know the quote would apply more to a veteran than to a newbie. Still, I think it is important to understand that you cannot discount time, i.e. you will not be the same person at 20 that you will be if you reach 70+. You will be responsible for what you understand about Scripture all along the way. Maybe this Kenneth Bailey quote might better explain what I have experienced in my walk.

OUR UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE must always be open to refinement. All interpretations of Scripture need to be tentatively final. They have to be final in the sense that obedience cannot wait for the disciple to read yet one more technical article in biblical studies. At the same time, all efforts in biblical interpretation are flawed. Our interpretation of Scripture, therefore, must never be closed to correction and revision.

Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (p. 397). IVP Academic.

I would never make light of another person’s struggles with their faith. I remember from the McLatchie interview that @carson posted that when in doubt, write it down. I liken it to the 24 rule of anger if you are still mad in the morning, maybe you then you can respond; if you write down what it is that is going to keep you from a right relationship with God, and you come back to read it maybe it’s a bump in the road and not a mountain.

My thoughts, your comments?