Regarding this, I now refer to one of the many readings for an upcoming class in grad school. In Tertullian’s Prescription Against the Heretics, he speaks on the topic of those who doubt – or those who claim faith yet are continuously seeking. What follows are snips.
In Chapter 9, he lays out his point regarding Christ and truth:
My first principle is this. Christ laid down one definite system of truth which the world must believe without qualification, and which we must seek precisely in order to believe it when we find it. Now you cannot search indefinitely for a single definite truth. You must seek until you find, and when you find, you must believe. Then you have simply to keep what you have come to believe, since you also believe that there is nothing else to believe, and therefore nothing else to seek, once you have found and believed what he taught who bids you seek nothing beyond what he taught.In Chapter 10, Tertullian asks by what means will the continual seeking come to an end (using his own context):
But if we are bound to go on seeking as long as there is any possibility of finding, simply because so much has been taught by others as well, we shall be always seeking and never believing. What end will there be to seeking? What point of rest for belief? Where the fruition of finding? With Marcion? But Valentinius also propounds: “Seek, and ye shall find.” With Valentinius? But Apelles also will knock at my door with the same pronouncement, and Ebion and Simon and the whole row of them can find no other way to ingrate themselves with me and bring me over to their side. There will be no end as long as I meet everywhere with, “Seek, and ye shall find,” and I shall wish I had never begun to seek, if I never grasp what Christ taught, what should be sought, what must be believed.In Chapter 11, he questions whether a continual seeker has ever found anything:
If I once believed what I ought to believe and now think I must seek something else afresh, presumably I am hoping that there is something else to be found. But should never have hoped that, unless I had either never believed, though I seemed to, or else had stopped believing. So in deserting my faith I am shown up as an apostate. Let me say once for all, no one seeks unless there is something he did not possess or something he has lost. The old woman in the parable had lost one of her ten pieces of silver, and so she began to seek it. When she found it, she stopped seeking. The neighbor had no bread, so he began to knock. When the door was opened and he was given the bread, he stopped knocking. The widow kept asking to be heard by the judge because she was not being granted an audience. When she was heard, she insisted no longer. So clear is it that there is an end to seeking and knocking and asking. For to him that asketh, it shall be given, it says, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened, and by him that seeketh, it shall be found. I have no patience with the man who is always seeking, for he will never find. He is seeking where there will be no finding. I have no patience with the man who is always knocking, for the door will never be opened. He is knocking at an empty house. I have no patience with the man who is always asking, for he will never be heard. He is asking one who does not hear.And in Chapter 14, Tertullian concerns himself with those who listen to and follow the endless seeker and doubter:
…what is the good of conferring with men who themselves profess that they are still seeking? If they are indeed still seeking, they have still found nothing certain. Whatever they hold is only provisional. Their continual searching shows up in their hesitation. And so when you, a seeker like them, look to men who are seekers themselves, the doubter to the doubters, the uncertain to the uncertain, then, blind yourself, for you will be led by the blind into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).Or do they teach their real beliefs through their doubt?
But, in fact, it is only for the sake of deceiving us that they pretend to be still seeking. By first filling us with anxiety, they hope to commend their own views to us. The moment they get near us they begin to defend the very propositions, which, they had been saying, need investigation. We must be as quick to refute them, making them understand that it is not Christ we deny, but themselves.And what of those who claim belief yet perpetually seek?
In that they are still seeking, they do not yet hold any conviction. In that they possess no convictions, they have not yet come to believe. In that they have not yet come to believe, they are not Christians.
An objection is raised. “They do hold convictions and believe, but assert the necessity of ‘seeking’ in order to defend their faith.” Yes, but before they defend it they deny it, confessing by their seeking that they have not yet believed. Not Christians even to themselves, how can they be to us? What sort of faith are they arguing when they come with deceit? What truth are they vindicating when they introduce it with a lie? Another objection. “They discuss and persuade on the basis of Scripture.” Naturally. From what other source than the literature of the faith could they talk about the things of the faith?Tertullian introduces some interesting observations applicable for today. I’ve not understood the virtue of doubt, and do not believe that is what we are called to by Christ. It manifests itself in various ways. There are the typical debates over the virgin birth or resurrection. But there are others. Never are we exhorted by Jesus to doubt and endlessly question what all the Scriptures entail or what He claims. Nowhere does Jesus call us to doubt the Hebrew Scriptures, or to dismiss them as simply bits and pieces of a larger library. Never does Jesus tell us to doubt if the actions of God we read about were really from God.
As Jesus said to Peter: "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31)
and to Thomas: "Stop doubting, and believe." (John 20:27)
As James exhorted: "for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:7-8)
Yet as Jude tells us, "have mercy on those who doubt" (Jude 1:22)
In the end, we are told to “stand firm” and to persevere in the faith. We need to move beyond milk and eat some solid food. This moves us from walking by the flesh to walking by the Spirit. Jesus taught us to be strong, and we are exhorted not to be tossed to and fro by the waves of doubt or cultural current.
It's not cool to doubt; and it's not a virtue.