Bön i mörkret: teologiska perspektiv på tvivel i svensk bönbokslitteratur


  • Joseph Sverker


Most Christians experience doubt, and even unbelief, in their lives. Doubt in relation to faith has been explored by a large number of theologians, on an international level by for example Paul Tillich and Søren Kierkegaard, and in Sweden by Karl Gustav Hammar. The question posed in the present study is whether doubt and unbelief also have a place in Christian prayer practices. There are few prayers from the position of doubt in the most commonly used prayer books in Sweden. This fact is in itself interesting, but the purposes of this study is firstly to analyze the theologies of the few prayers in this category that are found and, secondly, to present in relation to this a theology of prayer from doubt, drawing on the kenotic Christology of Kierkegaard. The study concludes that prayer from a position of existential doubt seems to be closely tied to the question of suffering for a Christian believer. Doubt and the real darkness that may entail in the life of a believer ought not ideally to be brushed over or considered as “peaceful”. Were it not for the God-forsakenness of Christ at the cross, God would not be present in the darkness of doubt, as purported by Kierkegaard. Since Christ himself was abandoned by God, the place of doubt may be the very place where a believer has no other choice but to fully submit one’s self to God. Prayer from a position of doubt would then be the place where even the faith of the believer is abandoned into the hands of God.