Allan R. Bevere called my attention to this post from James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he notes that doubt has always had an honored place in orthodox forms of Christianity.
It seems that those who think permission to doubt is some radically new possibility for Christians are the same people who think that a concern for justice is some “secret message” of Jesus heretofore hidden from Christianity–when, in fact, it just means that it was hidden from them in the pietistic enclaves of their early formation. In a similar way, doubt is as old as faith…But there is also an important difference between emergent skeptics and catholic doubters: The new kind of skeptics want the faith to be cut down to the size of their doubt, to conform to their suspicions. Doubt is taken to be sufficient warrant for jettisoning what occasions our disbelief and discomfort, cutting a scandalizing God down to the size of our believing. For the new doubters, if I can’t believe it, it can’t be true. If orthodoxy is unbelievable, then let’s come up with a rendition we can believe in. But for catholic doubters, God is not subject to my doubts. Rather, like the movements of a lament psalm, all of the scandalizing, unbelievable aspects of an inscrutable God are the target of my doubts–but the catholic doubter would never dream that this is occasion for revising the faith, cutting it down to the measure of what I can live with.