Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is Faith Belief With "No Evidence"?

Here's my response to a blogger who said to a Christian, "the only thing here that is factual is that you have chosen to believe with no evidence."

No evidence?

1. The rise of the early church, with an undisputed resurrection message very, very early on. That's evidence.

2. The uniform willingness of the first apostles to be put to death rather than deny their claims about the resurrection. Some persons may be willing to be put to death for something they believe is true, but few if any are willing to be killed for something they know to be false. Not a single apostle repudiated his witness that Christ rose from the dead and appeared to them. That's evidence.

3. The existence and witness of the four gospels. That's evidence.

4. The words of Christ recorded in the gospels. What they say, especially, about the inward human condition, the human heart. He claims that all men are sinners at heart, falling short of the demands of truth and justice and love. Christ's words can be weighed and evaluated, and one can reach some kind of opinion about him based on his words. That's evidence.

5. The fact that, based both on philosophical and scientific arguments, the universe had a beginning. If there's a Beginning, that is evidence for a Beginner, because in all of our collective human experience, everything that begins to exist has a cause. There are no exceptions to this. So there is certainly nothing illogical or unreasonable about believing in the existence of a Creator. That's evidence.

From that point, it is a matter of making diligent personal inquiry into the nature of this deity, and whether He has chosen to communicate with His creation.

6. Finally, believers enjoy the witness of God's Spirit to the truth of Christ's message. Jesus said that God keeps the secrets of his kingdom from the "wise and prudent", and reveals them unto babes. Christianity is, from first to last, a religion based on revelation.

But that does not mean that it is unreasonable.

There is plenty of evidence to make a leap to faith based on informed reason.


Anonymous said...

I would say faith is belief with INCOMPLETE evidence. If one was 100% sure of something, making a choice wouldn't need faith. The meager evidence we have (your 6 points for example) is still INCOMPLETE, still not 100% certainity.

But faith as belief with NO evidence is madness.

RkBall said...

It is certainly true that God has built "deniability" into the gospel message -- there is room for doubt and unbelief, which are damning.

However, in response to your statements, what about the apostles? They had direct eye-witness evidence not only of Christ's life and death, but also of his resurrection and ascension! Yet, they still are saved by faith, and faith for them remains a gift of God -- because it is more than intellectual assent to something -- it is a heartfelt repentance and trust in God which man, unaided, is incapable of by himself.

I agree that on grounds of empirical evidence, and the use of reason alone, there is room for uncertainty. Reason can take us to the door, but it is faith that takes us through the door.

Faith is more than purely rational processes and an individual, independent decision; it involves God, specifically, His Spirit. It is impossible to say "Jesus is Lord", apart from the Holy Spirit. When Peter said to Jesus, "you are the Christ", Jesus said, "your Father in heaven has revealed this to you".

Well, I better get back to my morning coffee!

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Always enjoy your post!History gives us evidence, and
I will continue to express also that science reveals evidence of a Creator.
I am presently taking a course on Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology.
Three chapters are devoted to explain a single heartbeat(less than one second)...the electrical activity, chemical activity and muscular activity...all distinct, but interdependent, with purpose.
How could something so perfect and intricate have evolved accidently?
The very life centre of our physical bodies!

RkBall said...

Cardiac Anatomy, wow!

Pretty soon I'm going to have to call you Dr. Anonymous!

Thank you so much for your post. It made my day.

Now, I'm off to Tim Hortons for an extra large double-double with milk.

If that doesn't get the cardiac machine up to speed, nothing will!

I believe God is in your life, your studies. I pray he will downpour a blessing on you.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"