The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has admitted that he struggles with doubt about the existence of God.
He also acknowledged that Christians have trouble explaining why God allows suffering in the world.
The extraordinarily forthright admission was made earlier this week when Welby, head of the world’s Anglican community, spoke during a visit to Bristol Cathedral.
Asked if he ever wrestles with doubt, the Archbishop said: ‘Yes I do. I mean there are moments where you think “Is there a God?”, “Where is God?”’
He added that there were moments when he was struck with doubt even while praying, including during his morning jogs near his official London residence Lambeth Palace.
“The other day, I was praying over something as I was running and I ended up saying to God “Look this is all very well, but isn’t it about time you did something, if you’re there” – which is probably not what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say.”
But he added: ‘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.’
Asked how to persuade people who think religion is outdated, he said Christians do not have the answer to why God allows suffering.
“We turn the tide in a number of ways. We know about Jesus, we can’t explain all the questions in the world, we can’t explain about suffering, we can’t explain loads of things but we know about Jesus. We can talk about Jesus – I always do that because most of the other questions I can’t answer.’