Doubt, Faith and the Longest Day

Well, maybe it wasn’t the longest day (I remember covering some FLDS court cases that lasted until 10 p.m.), but it sure felt close.

Yesterday was orientation for those of us entering the seminary this year. Since I attended school here as an undergrad and am coming up on my third year as an employee, there wasn’t too much in it for me, but introduction to faculty and fellow students is always a good thing.

In the afternoon, we took a battery of tests and assessments, mostly to determine our personalities and motivations (least surprising result of the day: I’m an extrovert), as well as to see what kind of ministry for which we’re best suited. That last assessment was a doozy: 501 questions on 20 or so scenarios one might encounter as a church minister. The questions proved to me — and I’m sure my answers will prove to everyone else — why I don’t see becoming a minister as the reason why I’m entering this program.

In the morning, however, just before lunch, the associate dean of the seminary, an Old Testament scholar who may be the smartest person on campus, noted that when he entered graduate school to get his master of divinity degree, he wasn’t sure God existed. This led to a discussion about faith and doubt.

In the end, he said, those who have faith, behind all the explanations and apologetics and arguments and evidence, come down to the following core assertion:

I understand the difficulties, but I’m making a wager that this is true and the other is not.

My Advanced Intro to Old Testament Professor, who is new to the faculty, added the following to the conversation after mentioning he has struggled his whole life with the issue of faith and doubt:

There is nothing other than God that can bring you from doubt into faith.

I’m moving in this direction with my life because I feel God wants me to join conversations like these when college students enter into them. It is a blessing to study at a place where they are not taboo.

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