Over at the Maxwell Institute, Board President Patrick Mason discusses his definitions of faith and doubt. Here’s a snippet:
“How do I understand faith?
I think about it as being much more than mere intellectual assent or “belief.” Faith is the substance of things hoped for but not seen (see Hebrews 11:1). So in that sense, faith is partly a product of doubt in the way I defined it above as a lack of certainty; it is a livelyhope for something that has not been seen. Acting in faith—and real faith always compels real action—means acting with hope and trust, yet without absolute assurance. So my notion of faith is more about trust and faithfulness—fidelity in a relationship, like being “faithful” to your spouse—rather than getting an answer right on a multiple choice test.
According to this view, doubt can become destructive when it compromises fidelity. But it can also be constructive when it deepens our yearnings and bolsters our efforts toward creating authentic relationships with God and others. Depending on what we do with doubt, which itself usually comes unbidden, we can strengthen or weaken our faith.”