If faith is belief without evidence, how am I supposed to just believe with no evidence when all kinds of scientists are saying Christianity isn’t true? Doesn’t that make Christianity irrational?
I come across this question, in one form or another, all the time. Sometimes I hear atheists use it as an attack on Christianity. Sometimes I hear pious Christians use it to try to defend Christianity. When they are presented with a huge volume of scientific arguments they can’t refute, they run to, “It’s just faith!” Still others sincerely want to believe, but can’t reconcile what the world tells them with what their pastors tell them.
We should start by pointing out two false assumptions in the question. The first is that faith is belief without evidence. We fully admit that is one of the definitions of the English word “faith.” It is not, however, the only definition, and even if it were, it is not the definition of the biblical word. The biblical concept of faith is trust in someone or something, with or without evidence. Thus, Abraham believed in God in Genesis 15:6, but only after God had given him sufficient reason to believe. Jesus asks us to trust Him for eternal life, but He has given us plenty of reason to do so. This means that, contrary to popular belief, Christianity doesn’t require blind faith. Very much against this, 1 Pet. 3:15-16 demands that we be able to give people reasons why we believe the way we do.
The second assumption is related to the first, namely, that there is no evidence for Christianity, no reason to believe. That statement, however, is just absurd. Peter Kreeft, a noted philosopher, commented on a debate between J. P. Moreland, a well known Christian philosopher, and Kai Nielsen, a popular atheistic philosopher, on the existence of God. He listed no less than than twenty-five individual arguments for God’s existence that theists have used through the centuries (Does God Exist, 1993; p. 27-28) . Further, his list is by no means complete, yet the arguments he does list take evidence from such disciplines including philosophy, sociology, science, ethics, psychology, history, aesthetics, and others. Whether or not an individual finds any of these persuasive does not change the fact that there is much evidence for and many reasons to believe in the existence of God generally, and in the truthfulness of Christianity specifically.
More directly, whenever this question comes up in any form, it is usually worth asking how, precisely, science has disproved Christianity. What you will find, invariably, is an appeal to consensus, real or not. Unfortunately, science doesn’t work on consensus. In 1931, the New York Times published an article titled, “One Hundred Scientists Against Einstein,” to which Einstein reportedly responded, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough!” His point is that “real science” isn’t decided by vote, no matter what media would have us believe. It is based on observation, experimentation, and conclusions based on repeatable, testable results.
This is a very important point to keep in mind when having any discussion like this. Whenever someone says, “Well, scientists say . . .” you can stop them politely and ask them for specifics. Which scientist? Where is the paper published? What experiment? None of this is to say, of course, that the person is wrong. They may have read a scientist who said something specific in a specific paper published in a specific journal reporting on a specific issue. If so, you can go and get the information as well as anyone else and have an informed discussion. But we should never let atheists get away with silly appeals to scientific consensus. The chances are that the antagonist is simply parroting an idea he heard somewhere and doesn’t know the first thing about it himself. (By the same token, Christians should never point to arguments based on scientific consensus. The issue is always the evidence.)
A brief post like this is no place to begin laying out the myriad of reasons to believe in God and Christianity (although the video above, though long, is a good introduction to some of it). Our goal is much simpler than that. Simply realize that anyone who claims that there is no evidence of any kind for the belief in God and for Christianity is simply wrong, and unless they have read the thousands upon thousands of volumes written in defense of Christianity, unless they can recite and rebut each of Kreeft’s twenty-five arguments and then the many more he didn’t bother listing, such a statement is simply arrogant. Nothing amazes me about the debate over God’s existence anymore except this: the absolutely typical idea that the average atheist holds that he or she has read enough and studied enough that they can actually say with any real degree of confidence that there is absolutely no basis for God’s existence. If you’re in a bit of a feisty mood, maybe you can even call them on it.
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