Doubting Thomas: UK Archbishop unsure of God’s existence
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby admitted in front of a small public audience in Bristol that he ‘frequently asked’ whether God truly existed, and if “he should be doing something” about difficult situations.
Asked whether he ever doubted his belief by a BBC reporter, the Archbishop said that he did question Christianity at times.
"Yes. I do. In lots of different ways really. It's a very good question. That means I've got to think about what I'm going to say. Yes I do," he said.
He cited that his soul searching came during his runs around Lambeth Palace, where the Archbishop and his staff are based.
Welby, who represents more than 80 million Anglican Christians, told the audience that he sometimes asked God “...isn’t it about time you did something, if you’re there?”
The archbishop, however, brushed off any ideas that he may be giving up his faith in the future.
While he said that Christians would be unable to explain the problem of suffering, he affirmed the idea that God was present in both good and bad times.
It is not about feelings, it is about the fact that God is faithful and the extraordinary thing about being a Christian is that God is faithful when we are not,” he told the audience.
When asked what he does when life gets challenging, he told the audience: "I keep going and call to Jesus to help me, and he picks me up."
Welby is the first archbishop to openly admit his questioning of the divine, in stark contrast with other religious figureheads in the Christian community.
The comments also come at a time when Christianity is declining at a rapid rate. According to the UK’s last census poll in 2011, the number of people identifying themselves as Christian fell by 4.1 million people – a decline of over 10 percent.
In contrast, the UK is experiencing a huge drive in the number of people identifying themselves as Muslim, particularly amongst young people. According to the census, around one in ten people identified themselves with the Islamic faith.