How Do You Overcome Doubts?

Question: How do you overcome doubts? After attending college again, and being surrounded by atheists (with good arguments), how do you deal with doubts? I am a believer, and I still believe. This seems to be an isolating place to be.

Remember the father begging Jesus to heal the mute boy in Mark 9:24: “I do believe; help my unbelief!” Sometimes the line between unbelief and faith is razor-thin. While you may feel isolated right now, you are in fact in excellent company. Some of our Catholic tradition’s greatest figures — from the Apostle Thomas to Saint Teresa of Calcutta — wrestled with doubt.

Serious intellectual inquiry, such as you are undertaking as a college student, should lead you to seriously question your assumptions about yourself and the world. You will emerge with a stronger faith than if you refuse to entertain the questions. It might help you to find a good study group of people who take their faith seriously and are willing to ask questions with you. The campus ministry center at your college would be a good place to start.

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Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.