“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side,
I will not believe.” ~ Thomas, the doubter
I started defending Thomas years ago. His skepticism resonates with me, even if for different reasons. I accepted long ago that doubt is just one part of the faith journey- a necessary part. It has prevented me from being “certain” and ideological.
Blessings may be upon those who “hear and believe”, but sometimes “seeing” goes a long way in restoring confidence to the doubtful.
Perhaps, one doubts the fundamental faith claims made by the church, like the resurrection of Jesus. I experienced such a faith crisis in my early 30s. I knew then my understanding of what it meant to proclaim “Christ is risen” needed to change. Later, a mysterious encounter with the divine at the funeral of a man I never met would reassure, for me, the promise of resurrection- but with new understanding.
Others need to see the church do something other than bully people, foster hatred, or abuse. There are a many congregations in our world that are authentic centers for sanctuary, healing, forgiveness, mercy, and acceptance. The world needs to see- and hear- less of the brutish preachers (let’s not name them- they get enough media attention) and more of the fiercely loving communities that embody what Christ called his followers to do. “They will know we are Christians by our love,” as the old song goes.
So, Thomas, in my book, and I’m sure others, you get a pass- not that you need my stamp of approval. I just hope others who share your doubt will embrace it, because, contrary to what some might say, it actually strengthens one’s faith.