Faith

The role of faith in Christianity is quite important.  In fact, in life, the role of faith is quite important.  What irks me, is atheists attitudes toward faith.  Maher’s new movie pokes fun at people of faith, claiming faith is essentially for the ignorant and uneducated.  In The God Delusion (almost done, I am hoping to force myself to finish it by Wednesday – that is if I can’t find anything more interesting to do, like anything else in the world – the book is boring) anyways, Dawkins says when speaking of religious ideas, “Faith (belief without evidence) is virtue.”  The paragraph goes on and on with a sarcastic attitude that Dawkins normally has.  When I read this last night, I just smiled, because Dawkins so subtly slips in “belief without evidence.”  I find this very ironic in the light of all that is going on….

First, as a Christian, I find Christianity very well defended and represented by the myriad of evidence.  Looking at the ancient scrolls from which we have translated the Bible, we’re doing pretty good.  My favorite of which would be the scroll of Isaiah found at Qumran with the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Here we have our modern day Bible, translated to English, from the scrolls we have.  When they discover these scrolls, the text of Isaiah is found, and is dated 1000 years before the previously oldest scroll.  Interesting to say the least, as the text of Isaiah we have in our Bible matches what was found on the scroll.  

That is just one of numerous examples of evidence defending the Bible.  We can look at the historical evidence of Jesus.  This offers me great joy, as it humors me because non-believers look at it and say, “There is no proof that Jesus ever existed!  People wrote about him some 70 years after his death.  There are no eye-witness accounts.  There is this and that and that and this and I don’t want to believe…”  Skeptics will be skeptics as long as they choose to be.  Looking at the Gospels and the writings of Paul though, its easy to see how the historicity of Jesus can be defended.  And the list can go on and on and on. 

So, do we really have faith without evidence?  No.  I have faith with evidence.  I know there is a God, without a shadow of a doubt from the evidence that I can see through texts and history.  And to use my favorite argument, I can see the working of God in my life and the world.  Why is this my favorite?  Because Bill Maher would consider me crazy…the fact that I believe in God and believe that He works in my life makes me crazy according to Maher.  Yet, I don’t know how you would explain some of the people who I know who have had cancer, and been healed completely.  I don’t know how they would explain some of the evil presences that my Haitian friends have witnessed, as well as many of the Americans.  I’m sure psychoanalysis would lead to some load of bologna.  When they choose to be skeptics, they will remain skeptics.

But now, I close with this…what person in this world doesn’t have faith – whether it be in a deity, or whether it be in the concept of faith that they will go to sleep and wake up in the morning.  I mean, if you make plans for tomorrow, then tonight when you go to bed and think about those plans, you are simply using faith, are you not?  Call it what you may – speculation, assumption, faith…

Thoughts on this?  I’d love to get some more people thinking on this blog and talking.  I am very glad to have who we do have discussing though.  Very special thanks to morsecode for sticking around and discussing, and not just discussing, but doing so in a very polite manner.  In my limited dealings with atheists, he is by far one of the nicest and open-minded.  I believe that Bob has poked his head in here a time or two, to which I also say thanks.  I realize there are a lot of objections that you as well as others have to Christianity.  Oh to be able to answer them all in one post, but stick around and be patient, and I’ll discuss with you any time.  Lastly, if you ever want to discuss with me, and not on this board, feel free to email me.

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  1. evenshine
    October 6, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I think the point you make here is one that many without a religious system would try to deny. The atheist may not like to admit it, but their position does, ultimately, end up at faith- though it is faith in the workings of the natural world, faith in the scientific process, faith in humans as a social animal, etc. The real argument begins at your point of “having evidence for faith”. What is the evidence? Is it valid? What makes evidence itself valid? *There’s* the beginning of a good conversation. Thanks for the interesting post. Cheers!

  2. October 6, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I would agree. Although I realize they’d ask for our evidence – again, too. It’s a neverending battle. And cheers? Would this be my first international visitor to my blog? 🙂

  3. evenshine
    October 6, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    International? Not unless you’d consider a well-traveled American as such. I grew up in British schools, thus the cheers.

  4. October 6, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Close enough for me. 🙂

  5. October 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Hmm…as with most apologetics, the argument rambles on well beyond my attention span. However, from my skim reading and desire to break everything down to a sound bite, my two cents would differentiate what I believe based on evidence versus what I believe by faith.

    I believe in the Bible’s existence, not by faith. There is too much historical evidence, and physical proof of the authentic and historic age of the Word of God. However, I believe it is the Word of God by faith. I am not aware of any physical evidence that verifies that God spoke words to a prophet, and the prophet subsequently recorded those words. We have the written record, but not proof that the record was a message from God. So that part takes my faith. My belief in something without evidence if you would.

    Might even be Biblical: “Faith is the conviction of things unseen.”

    For example, Ryan’s example of going to bed with plans in my head. Yep, it probably has a teensy, weensy element of faith to it. However, the historical evidence & physical evidence in my life is that for more than 14,000 nights I have laid my head down and gone to sleep…and sure enough, woke up the next day. So that really doesn’t take much faith.

    Even a light turning on doesn’t truly require faith. Just because I don’t know how electricity works doesn’t change the fact that it does, and smarter people than myself can break down the physical evidence of how it happens. So again…not really any faith involved in that.

    For me, faith is what steps in when the evidence no longer exists. So much of my Christian belief is based on evidence (much to the joy of the apologists), and another segment of my Christian belief is based on faith. But I consider the two to be fairly separate.

  6. October 6, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I agree, and you summed up much of what I attempted to say. There is definitely an element of faith, its huge, but for people to say that faith is worthless, that you should only believe in what you can see and feel is absurd. If I can remember back to some seven hours ago whenever I posted this, then I think that’s what I was trying to say. But yes, we have plenty of evidence to back up the parts that we must have faith with – thus our faith is not in vain. Good thoughts.

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