Chosen for this week's video of the week is this video from Inspiring Philosophy on Youtube. He examines what is perhaps one of the worst arguments against Theism. Enjoy!
For those of you who do not know, I try to make a habit out of talking to atheists and other non-Christians online, at least whenever they aren't hurling insults. I believe that we should discuss our beliefs with those who do not share them. After all, in what other way are we going to spread the Gospel? If we as Christians do not start talking to non-Christians, the spread of the Good News is hindered. Not only that, but we are commanded to give a reason for the hope that is in us. So, if we do not share our beliefs, and why we believe what we believe, we are in violation of one of Scripture's commands. There is one recent incident, though, that sticks out in my mind.
I have been talking to someone on Twitter who calls himself, "NooYawk Atheist," though it seems he is really an agnostic. He initiated a conversation with me when I tweeted a quote by John Lennox, where Professor Lennox discusses the definition of faith. This lead to a new post titled, "Is Faith Blind", since I felt the reply was too lengthy to send on Twitter. We had about a day's worth of dialogue back and forth, with most of it being very productive, although I was quite confused at his last reply, in which he stated,
"So then you're claiming to know that God exists, aren't you? If the evidence is strong enough to warrant the claim, you wouldn't need to employ [blind] faith at all. In which case, share the evidence and accept your Nobel Prize & fame & fortune."
What confuses me is that he seems to assume that anyone who would be able to show the existence of God would have received a Nobel Prize and be rich and famous. However, there are a large number of people who have made amazing discoveries who have not received Nobel Prizes. He also seems to assume that it would be widely accepted, which is not the case. There are still people who honestly believe that the earth is flat. Despite the confusion over this, however, I feel that the conversation was very productive.
As our conversation drew to a close, I started thinking that there is one thing the both he and I could agree on: That whatever we believe, we should not believe it blindly. This became more apparent to me after our conversation, and I think there is a lesson in it. Christians, honest non-believers want us to have a reason for our beliefs. The world is looking for answers, and we have them. We should be ready to give these answers to anyone who asks us for them. There are far too many misconceptions of Christians out there, such as:
"They all just exercise blind faith."
"Science has shown that God is not needed."
"Christianity is the cause of most of the world's problems."
It seems to me that we must be willing to stand up and correct these misconceptions. We must be prepared with an answer. If we aren't, we will lose souls.
Today, I sent out the first part of this quote on Twitter: "Faith is not a leap in the dark; it is the exact opposite. It's a commitment based on evidence." In my experience, it is usually not a quote that gets criticism on Twitter. I assume that most people who disagree with it just pass by it and say, "Well, that person is entitled to his or her opinion," and leave it at that. However, when I sent out the first part of this quote today, I received an interesting reply from a guy who calls himself the "NooYawk Atheist." His reply can be found here.
NooYawk Atheist replied that "Faith is not a commitment, and it's not based on evidence. You're thinking of trust or hope." Others, such as the so-called New Atheists would probably think that this is the end of the argument. However, while this is a popular idea, it is absolutely false. It is a straw man. Faith, at least in the orthodox Christian tradition, must be thought of as trust for several reasons.
First, there are several passages of Scripture, from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, that command us to think about what we believe. Consider the words of Solomon,
"Even zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily sins."
Solomon here is expressing the value of knowledge by pointing out that even zeal, such as religious zeal, is no good without knowledge. Here Solomon expresses the emphasis that believers are to place on what we know rather than what we do not know. Solomon would think poorly of the person who blindfolded himself before leaving for another city. He would have praised the man who examined the various routes and chose the one that lead him safely to his destination.
An illustration from the book of Exodus suffices. In Exodus 14:31, we read,
"When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses."
Notice that the people had faith in God and in Moses AFTER they saw "the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians." They were not expected to have a blind faith, nor did they. Their faith followed the evidence, and this is how we are to understand it, as well.
Finally, let's take a look at an example from the New Testament. One verse commonly cited by atheists to support the "the Bible teaches blind faith" position is John 20:29. This passage is often taken out of context and used to support a position that it does not truly support. In fact, this passage, when used in context, helps make a case FOR faith based on evidence. John 20:26-29 says,
"After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, 'Peace to you!' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don't be an unbeliever, but a believer.' Thomas responded to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said, 'Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.'"
Notice that Jesus did not reply to Thomas by simply saying, "Just have faith, Thomas. It doesn't matter how things look, just believe, even without evidence!" Instead, Jesus offers Thomas evidence of His resurrection. "Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side," was Jesus's reply to Thomas. There are literally dozens of other examples that could be cited here, but I think the point has been amply illustrated.
Second, faith in the orthodox Christian sense is not to be understood as a blind faith because it goes against the grammatical usage of the word "faith" in the New Testament. The Greek word the New Testament authors used for "faith" is the Greek word, "pistis", which literally means "trust" (1). More accurately, it can be understood as an active trust. So a blind faith is unbiblical. That is, the Christian ought not have blind faith.
In summation, whatever NooYawk Atheist and others may say, the idea that all faith is blind is just a straw man argument. I hope he and others can come to see just how much "blind faith" they have had in the idea that all faith is blind.
As some of you may know, I often scroll through Youtube, looking at videos that both critique and affirm arguments for the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus, the inerrancy of Scripture, etc. The following video showed up in my "Recommended For You" section. In my opinion, it shows the bankruptcy of the atheistic worldview when it comes to objective morals. Anyway, watch and feel free to comment.
Travis Stockelman is the Chapter Director for the Columbus, Indiana chapter of Reasonable Faith. He currently resides in Columbus, Indiana.