Not unlike many other people, since I was very little, I began questioning almost everything, if not out loud, in my mind. I'm still that way. Sometimes I say I must be from Missouri, though I'm not, because it's called "the show me state." Missouri's U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903, attended an 1899 naval banquet in Philadelphia. In a speech there, he declared:
I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.
Very early on, I also started believing things. Everyone does. You won't make it through life without believing anything. If something is believable, and you won't believe it, you're just being stubborn.
As life went on, I found out that I couldn't question everything. I didn't want to be gullible, but at some point, I couldn't make it through life without trusting. I crossed bridges. I flew on planes. I ate at restaurants. I used credit cards. I did online banking. There is a certain grid that I always keep up, but I trust, a lot. I live in California, even though it's supposed to slide into the ocean.
In the big picture items, I still question. I still challenge. I still get up to check the front door to make sure it's locked, so to speak. With that, I would have what I would call certainty. Most think I operate with too much certainty. This is not because of a lack of doubt, because, again, I still question.
I go evangelizing door-to-door, and I go to persuade, but I'm also ready to be convinced, to give everything up for the truth. My belief in God is the biggest picture item. Nothing is bigger.
I'm calling on people radically to change, to leave their whole life behind. When Paul did that, he said he had to count the old life as dung. No half measures would do.
In other words, when I talk to a Buddhist, I would be a Buddhist if Buddhism was the truth. Hindu if Hinduism was. Atheist if Atheism was. The way I look at certainty and belief is that there is always some doubt, maybe a sliver. I don't know how to measure it. Maybe this sounds bad to you. I'm not going to attempt too much to develop the theology of it for you. John the Baptist doubted Jesus at the end right before His death, we know from the passage where Jesus said he was the greatest man up to that point. That's the kind of material I would give you.
The margin of doubt in my faith relates to questioning it, checking the lock on the door. But this is what I've found about the Bible, genuine Christianity. I believe it. It's the truth. I check the lock on my Christianity more than anything I check. I poke. I prod. There is a hypothetical eject button for me to push. Maybe it's not real, but I can't really question if there isn't a sliver of possibility. I don't do the same thing with airplanes or bridges or the life insurance company I'm still making payments, even though I doubt them.
Believing isn't the total absence of doubt. It is acting on faith. By faith we act. The three Hebrew children in Babylon said their God would deliver them from the fiery furnace, but if not.
With all of the above being said, my doubt is the length of my little toe, and my certainty travels to the other side of the house and keeps growing. People won't believe. It isn't the evidence. There are no holes in Christianity. Christianity comes with so many redundancies. The O rings might fail, but there's a back up of a back up of a back up. The layers are thicker than a Dagwood sandwich. The people who reject it, just don't want it. Now that is what the Bible says about them too. It's a problem of volition, not intellect, but in my repeated checks of my front door, this is my experience too.
People have a far different standard of evidence for God. It's very personal for them. They can't go with what would normally count for evidence and be way, way too much. If the evidence they expected for God were ketchup, they couldn't find their hamburger buried under one entire ketchup factory. They must have what I call the crown performance. They sit on their throne and expect God to be their court jester, to give them a show. They give all new meaning to "show me state." God has already given them a crown performance, but they keep raising the bar. They don't want to believe, so no amount of evidence will do.
With that inside voice that we don't want anyone hearing as an outside voice, I want more evidence from God too. But that is living in the sliver. If I step from the sliver side to the side that stretches to the other side of the house, the sliver is a sliver. It's unreasonable. It's rebellious. And it makes sense to me, that for all God has done and does and will do, the requirement or expectation is just disrespectful. If we were God, and we had His power, we would kill for that disrespect, but the hypocrites that we are, we want mercy. Puny men keep making their demands, thinking they can hold God hostage. He's God. He doesn't have to do any more. He's done enough.