An Atheistic God

Posted: 10/08/2010 in Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


There are few states of mind that can be so paradoxically peaceful as doubt.  It denies faith, while at the same time fulfills it.  It loosens grip of the familiar, while being the most familiar state of mind to humanity.  It forsakes hope and empowers it all at once.

Doubt is also one of the loneliest places to be in.  Whether you’re doubting you did so well on a test, doubting that relationship is going to work out, or doubting that God exists… it’s a terribly lonely place to be.

I often think of God as being far from doubt.  God is the creator of all emotions, so he has experienced them all, except I suppose doubt, for how can God doubt Himself?  Or how could God really doubt anything, since He knows all?  And if God cannot doubt, then doubt is an unfamiliar emotion to God.  And if we find ourselves in a state of mind unfamiliar to God, then we assume it must be opposed to God or at least unvirtuous.  So we cower from doubt, even when we feel it.  We avoid and deny it, even though it is pressing and caving in on us.

So how do we address doubt?  Is the simple response to say, “Stop doubting,” effective?  Surely not.  That’s like telling someone to not think of the color red.  The first thing they instantly do is think of the color red.  No amount of positive thinking can overcome such doubt.  The question, then, is: should we look to overcome doubt?

The first fallacy we must address in this line of thinking is that there is no doubt in God.  When Jesus, the Christ, was crucified nearly 2000 years ago, he hung on a cross and echoed a phrase written by King David in a place of very real doubt.  As David was in a point of dispair, he wrote these words in Psalm 22, crying out to God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Jesus says these exact words before he breathes his last on Golgotha.  Have you ever grasped the irony of these words?  Jesus (aka God) is questioning the reality and goodness of God (himself).  Jesus doubts in God and thus doubts in himself.  It is of this moment in history that GK Chesterton refers to God as an atheist.  God denies God.  This is incredibly relevent for us in a multitude of ways.

First of all, this means that we are never alone in our doubt.  Not only do others suffer from doubt, but Christ himself suffered from doubt in the midst of severe pain and trial.  Jesus became Emmanuel (“God with us”) in every way possible, even in our doubt. And if Jesus went through moments of doubt, then doubt cannot be considered sinful or even dangerous.  It could be argued as healthy… or even holy.  There is no fear in questioning or not understanding that which is infinite and beyond our understanding.  Wrestle with the text; wrestle with God and come out clueless.

It’s ok.  I only pray that just like in Christ, doubt becomes a precursor to our resurrection.


  1. garybishop3 says:

    Dude… I love this. This is legit.

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