How do kids doubt?

FYI | Sep 23, 2010

In the midst of our research and writing for the three Sticky Faith books coming out next fall based on our College Transition research, one of the themes we’ve explored is the importance of doubt in the faith process.

Along the way I spent some time with pastor and author Earl Palmer’s thoughts about four ways Christians tend to doubt: ((Earl F. Palmer, Trusting God: Christian Faith in an Age of Uncertainty (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2006), 85-90.))

1. Doubt as a primary reflex: the cautious reaction, “I don’t know about that.”

2. Doubt as an instrument of learning: Using doubt skillfully in order to learn from it, asking good questions and seeking more understanding.

3. Permanent Doubt: the dangerous pessimism that we can use to overprotect ourselves in hurtful ways. “Such doubt produces its own energy of sadness and critique which often becomes a brilliantly painful pursuit of the permanent crisis of meaning.” ((Palmer, 86-87.))

4. Humorous doubt: A realistic self-understanding of our need for grace, and a self-forgiving attitude toward our failures and shortcomings.

What other kinds of doubting would you add to this list? What categories would you say students in your ministry tend to fall into?

FYI

The Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) exists to translate RESEARCH into RESOURCES that TRANSFORM youth and family ministry.


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