Doubting Thomas who appears in our readings today gives all of us hope. In his doubts the writer of the Gospel is telling us that doubts are OK. For sometimes doubt can do good in us. It can motivate us to study and learn. It can purify false beliefs that have crept into our faith. It can humble our arrogance. It can give us patience and compassion with other doubters. It can remind us of how much truth matters.
Martin Luther, who was a champion of the importance of faith but wrestled with doubt himself, insisted that pride—not doubt—is the opposite of faith. Faith without a shade of any doubt quickly becomes fundamentalism. Fundamentalism in Christianity as well as Islam has led to the Crusades, sectarian violence or the atrocities of ISIS. So to have questions is natural and it is the role of the Church to create safe spaces such as home groups and services where these doubts can be expressed and explored without judgement or fear. There is a phrase in the Alpha Course Leaders booklet that states: there is no question that is silly, stupid or that has probably never been asked before. Questions are good for they test our faith and make us humble. Let us at times be doubting Thomas and at others as sure in faith as St Paul.