Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Faith - Is Christianity based on blind faith?

What does it mean to have faith? What is the nature of faith? Is Christianity a blind faith?

Many people have the view that we reason so far towards God but then have to take a leap of faith to get the rest of the way. This leap they see as a blind leap in the dark that may even go against reason or what they consider to be rational or true. This is based on a Thomistic view - in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas.

However Christian faith is not a blind leap in the dark that goes contrary to what one believes. Christian faith is the foundation that enables us to begin to do any reasoning at all. The biblical God alone provides the foundation for rationality, and if God did not exist we could not make sense of any of our reasoning.

The Bible says "For from him and through him and to him are all things." (Romans 11:36)

Augustine said, "Believe in order that you may understand."

C.S. Lewis put it well when he said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

In contrast, those who reject God are left unable to justify rationality, the uniformity of nature, laws of logic etc. They cannot justify why these things exist and are the way they are but just assume that they exist. They can't explain them and end up living their lives founded on blind faith.

What does it mean to assume things? An assumption is something that is believed in without evidence. Or it could also be called blind faith. This is highly ironic as it is the reversal of what people usually think of when they hear the word faith. It turns out that it is not Christians who are irrational and living by blind faith - it is unbelievers.

One verse that is sometimes brought up by unbelievers in relation to the issue of faith is Hebrews 11:1  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV)

But look at some other translations - for example my NIV Study Bible (© 1985) says,
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Emphasis added)

(See also NIRV
)

The Gospel of Luke was even written "so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." (Luke 11:4) (Emphasis added)

Biblical faith is trusting in the God that we know with certainty exists and who loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us. 


For more on this whole topic see http://www.reasons.org/articles/faith-and-reason.

7 comments:

  1. Well said Brendan. Keep on writing and surfing!

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    1. Thanks PJ. I really appreciate your encouragement. Check out my new website if you haven't already - www.godorabsurdity.com

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  2. -___-
    "with out my specific god you can't justify anything"
    oh yea totally loical

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    1. Thanks for commenting Chad, even if it was mocking, and you misspelled logical, which doesn't bode well for any further comments. (Which will not be published if that's all you are going to do - also I insist that you capitalise God when referring to the God of the Bible as he is the only God.)

      Have you been through my website www.godorabsurdity.com ? I go through step by step there to show how and why you can't justify anything without God.

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  3. From a review of Joseph Campbell's book The Power of Myth "Of my two favorite memories of Campbell's talks with Bill Moyers of PBS, which is what this book transcribes and encapsulates, the one that comes to mind is an introduction between Campbell and a Catholic Priest, perhaps a Cardinal, that he retells. After they are introduced and the Priest is told who Dr. Campbell is and a little about his life, he asks him, "Are you still Catholic?" To which he replies "No, Father." He then asks- and Campbell was impressed by his specificity- "Do you believe in a *personal* God?" To which Campbell replies, "No, Father."
    The Priest then replies, almost as if to engage in a debate and denigrate the atheist's worship of the rational mind uber alles simultaneously (and an atheist is what you are led to assume he thinks Campbell is), "Well, I guess there is no way to logically prove the existence of God." And Campbell answers, calmly, "If there were Father, what would be the value of faith?"

    GOA blog says, "Biblical faith is trusting in the God that we know with certainty exists .." If you know "with certainty" He exists, what then is the need, or as Dr. Campbell put it, the value of faith?

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    1. Hi Kobe Kid. How can we determine truth according to your worldview? In my worldview truth is determined by the Word of God which teaches us that faith is the foundation for all reasoning, and without it you can't justify anything. Faith is being certain of the things of God even though we don't see God with our natural eyes - that's what the Bible says faith is, and in that is great value. To reject it reduces your worldview to absurdity because it leads to the denial of rationality.

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    2. Also I'm not catholic and catholics don't have the Bible as their ultimate authority, so they aren't biblical Christians. I've got a section on catholics on my website under the 'other religions' section.
      http://www.godorabsurdity.com/catholicism.html

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