The Doubting Pastor

It was already some time since the chaplain had first begun wondering what everything was all about.  Was there a God?  How could he be sure?  Being an Anabaptist minister in the American Army was difficult enough under the best of circumstances; without dogma, it was almost intolerable…

Doubts of such kind gnawed at the chaplain’s lean, suffering frame insatiably. WAS there a single true faith, or a life after death?  How may angels COULD dance on he head of a pin, and with what matters DID God occupy Himself in all the infinite aeons before the Creation?  Why WAS it necessary to put a protective seal on the brow of Cain if there WERE no other people to protect him from? DID Adam and Eve produce daughters?  These were the great, complex questions of ontology that tormented him.  Yet they never seemed nearly as crucial to him as the question of kindness and good manners.  He was pinched perspiringly in the epistemological dilemma of the skeptic, unable to accept solutions to problems he was unwilling to dismiss as unsolvable.  He was never without misery, and never without hope.
(Joseph Heller.  Catch-22.  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.  1951.  266-267.)

I’ll let Joseph Heller be the post and simply follow with this question:

Is it acceptable for a pastor to have doubts about his own faith?

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2 thoughts on “The Doubting Pastor

  1. skip johnston says:

    The pastor of my tender youth was a doubting pastor. He preached his occasional struggles from the pulpit. A lot of folks didn’t like that. I loved it! This man, who so honestly shared his own limitations, introduced me to an infinite God – a God I struggle with. I find that those without doubts present me with a god that is quite manageable and easily set on a shelf with other idols.

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