Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do Christians Have Blind Faith?



This article has a different kind of beginning. I received a detailed question from a friend of mine, Jesse Morton. Some of this material had been in the back of my mind already, and his question set off a mental cascade.
We often accuse the other side of blind faith because they believe things that they know contradict the laws of nature. However, there are times that I wonder if we are guilty of it as well. Furthermore, there have also been times where we have had to exercise faith when the evolution side turned up a piece of evidence that at first appeared to contradict the Bible. (For example, when they pointed out antibiotic resistance and nylon-eating bacteria.) I've had to have faith that either an alternative interpretation would develop or that the piece of evidence would be refuted. We were proven right eventually, but nonetheless, we had to have faith in order to do so. There are times that I wonder: are we practicing blind faith when we do this?
It took 41 years before Piltdown Man was refuted, and I know that many people apostatized from Christianity over it, thinking that the Bible had been disproved. If one of us had existed back then, before the fossil was shown to be a hoax, and had simply refused to accept it (hoping that it would later be refuted), would we have been guilty of blind faith?
This is a thought-provoking question, and has just troubled me some. I'd like your thoughts. Thanks.


Hi Jesse,


What is “blind faith”? Believing despite proof? We are not guilty of that, despite what anti-theists claim.

There are some deeper issues here than evidence and interpretations. We need to lay some groundwork. (But just "some", otherwise, this will turn into a book.) This is not about evidence, and whoever has the most evidence, wins. Rather, it is about worldviews. People have their biases and presuppositions, and interpret evidence through their worldview "glasses".

The Christian is supposed to have the Bible as the basis of his or her thinking in every area. It is my contention than many Christians who wish to be apologists do not really believe the Bible! Worse, many are filled with pride, preferring to show their intellectual prowess and win arguments. It seems that they want to be the "next big thing", and emulate rock star debaters like William Lane Craig, who seem to elevate the importance of philosophy and debate above that of Scripture.

Some apologists have the mistaken impression that it is all up to them, and if they "win", then their opponent will realize the futility of their position and accept Christ. And yet, Christ was not in the presentation to begin with! Our job is to make a defense for the faith (1 Peter 3.15), not to win arguments and show off. Conversion is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Some apologists do not seem to really believe the Bible. If they did, they would not be pridefully ignoring what it says about the condition of the unsaved person:
  • Cannot understand the deeper things of God (1 Cor. 2.14, Isaiah 55.7-8, Rom. 11.33-35) 
  •  Many will condemn God to justify themselves (Job 40.8) 
  • There is evil in their hearts (Matt 15.19, Psalm 14.2-3) 
  • They are fools (Psalm 14.1) — “Fool” means a moral failing, and the word has been translated as “vile person” elsewhere 
  •  They know God exists, but suppress the truth (Rom. 1-18-22)

What about the wisdom of man?

  • It does not impress God (1 Cor. 1.20) 
  •  It is not true wisdom, because it does not come from God (Prov. 1.7, Col. 2.3) 
  •  Arrogant, talking back to God (Rom. 9.20)

So these apologists will put God “in the dock” (on trial). They ignore what the Bible teaches about the “natural man”, and are actually insulting God by letting the unbeliever, in his “wisdom” decide that God does exist and is worthy of their attention. They agree to argue on “neutral ground” and leave behind the Bible. Wrong! (Matt. 12.30) What this really means is that the apologist is using the unbeliever’s rules. It’s been rightly said that when someone wants to be "neutral": They’re not, and you shouldn’t be.

Piling up evidence to convince an unbeliever is futility. People have their worldviews. Even though we have cumulative evidence that says God probably exists and the Bible is true, they reject it. Also, the hardcore evidentialist works in probabilities. God works in certainties.

Now we’re getting closer to an answer for you!

Evidence is important. But we cannot build our faith on evidence! Some people have lost confidence and abandoned their faith because they focused on the natural and not the eternal. Our faith is in the Word of God. When presenting the gospel, we cannot ignore the Bible. At best, we might argue someone into being a Theist, but not converted into believing the true God.



Consider:

  • Our warfare is not against humans (Eph. 6.12) 
  •  God’s Word is spiritual (Eph. 6.17, Heb. 4.12) 
  • When we are born again, we are changed (2 Cor. 5.17, John 3.6-8) 
  • We must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10.5) 
  • God wants us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12.30)
  • True wisdom and knowledge begin with God (Prov. 1.7) 
  • We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16) 
  • The Creator of the universe, (Gen. 1.1, Col. 1.16) lives in us (Gal. 2.20) 
  • We live by faith (Rom. 1.17, Heb. 11.6)


In the past, people held to their faith despite pronouncements that “Science has disproved God”, “There is no archaeological evidence for certain people and events”, “Here is conclusive proof of evolution”. If our faith was based on evidence (which, as you pointed out with Piltdown Man, can be faked), then we have no solid foundation.

Again, evidence is important. Very important. Evidence changes, more is found, other evidence is discarded. We rely on the certainty of God’s Word (Isaiah 40.8, 2 Peter 1.18-21). Ironically, although God’s Word is more certain than man’s wisdom and evidence, there is a great deal of physical evidence confirming the truth of the Bible.

Does someone have “evidence” against the Bible? Just wait a while. And check their logic, too. The Bible has not been disproved, despite the railings of people who have excuses to disbelieve.

1 comments:

Dawnelle said...

A distincction needs to be made concerning the type of evidence you are referring to. Empirical evidence is assumed, and in that case you are correct. God is not empirical and no empirical evidence witll prove or disprove Him. However, there is abundant *logical* evidence, and it is that kind of evidence that distinguishes between blind faith and true faith. Faith that is not logical is "blind faith." In fact, it is not really faith at all, but presumption. True faith is truat, and trust is based on logic, historical data, and eyewitness testimony, among other classes of evidence.

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