THE MIX OF FAITH AND EVIDENCE – A Reply

I don’t personally find the author of this post offensive but that doesn’t mean that he won’t from time to time say things that don’t seem right.

https://i1.wp.com/www.brainyquote.com/photos/s/saintaugustine121380.jpg

Frank wrote a post called THE MIX OF FAITH AND EVIDENCE. If you want to read the whole thing, go ahead. You’ll have to visit to see the graphic he is alluding to. I just want to comment on some of the points in his post.

So, who insisted that Christianity is built entirely on faith? That’s never been my viewpoint and I’m struggling to think of even one Christian who makes this notion their line in the sand.

The point is that without the faith, the religion is pointless. Christianity without faith is not Christianity. It is the primary pillar of the faith, and it’s the part that is bad.

And yet, someone in an atheist Internet community posted this graphic and figured it would cause lots of people to nod in agreement.
But making a statement in a graphic doesn’t make it true. It would be like me insisting all atheists are militant, arrogant and patronizing. Equally false.

This is true, simply making a statement doesn’t make it true. It was a question: If Christianity is entirely built on faith, why do Christians use evidence?

Before I get going here, let me make it clear that faith is definitely a key part of following Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the son of God). In fact, a section of the Bible called ‘Hebrews’ spells it out: “Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him.”
But nowhere does the Bible claim that evidence is irrelevant. Indeed, evidence is mentioned at key points.

He mistakes the claims as evidence, as we’ll see:

Consider the resurrection of Jesus, which is one of the most important parts of Christianity. In a letter that’s now part of the Bible, a missionary named Paul (who helped spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean), told other Christians that after rising from the dead, “Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died.”

That certainly reads like evidence to me, especially as the underlying message is ‘if you don’t believe me about the resurrection, then go ahead and investigate for yourself’. If Christianity is built entirely on faith, why would this be in the Bible?

For the same reason that con artists lie, I would think. This fundamental belief that the bible is true, word for word, is a basic tenant of Christian belief. Even though he points it out that there are ways to interpret the book as saying you should investigate for yourselves the ‘evidence’ offered there is long gone and religions are famous for not encouraging questions. It doesn’t even mean that the original author was being honest. They didn’t mention anyone by name, no government officials, no ruling body, no religious leaders… just a claim that there were witnesses.

Here’s another example, from a section of the Bible called ‘2 Peter’: “We didn’t repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes.” Again, more evidence.

This ‘evidence’ failed to convince most of the middle east. It was not strong enough evidence to keep him from being killed. In short, even in person very few people believed him to be the Christ. Among the few that did, even they had doubts.

The website FaithFacts.org has this take on the faith vs. evidence debate:
Blind faith is faith without evidence, which would be superstition. The Bible does not call us to blind faith. The Bible calls us to faith in evidence. We submit that various truth claims, including Christianity, should be evaluated on the evidence.

When people evaluate the ‘evidence’ contained in the claim (bible) and find it lacking Christians cry fowl or accuse such people of not having an open heart or enough faith or worse we hate their god or simply want to be immoral (as if not being Christian leaves you with no moral compass).

I can tell you, without any hesitation, that if I was called to follow Jesus based solely on faith, I probably wouldn’t be a Christian today. I was presented with evidence, then asked to make a leap of faith based on that evidence and based on the logic of Christianity. I made that leap and have never regretted it.

I can’t imagine what the evidence was. Clearly it was less evidence that I or others would require. That leaves us with a question: What standard of evidence should be used when evaluating truth claims? The only ones that I know of do not find religious belief to be truthful. If they did we’d not be having this discussion over and over again. Why is it that religion requires a different standard of evidence for it to be true? I rather think that this is special pleading regarding evidence gathering and evaluation.

So, where do you stand? Does a mix of faith and evidence make sense to you when considering Christianity? If it does, have you done any research? You may have friends or family members that discourage checking out the claims of Christianity, but this is important stuff.

April 25, 2015 by Frank King Photos

Clearly I don’t think the evidence for Christianity points to it being true never mind proving that it is. The people most likely to be accepting of the standards of evidence required for Christianity to be true are those of other faiths. Even they don’t believe in Christianity. If the ‘evidence’ can’t convince most or all of the people who sincerely ‘want’ to believe then how would it convince those that are simply looking for the truth?

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  1. Thanks for posting and commenting. I’m quite content to agree to disagree. 🙂

    • Thank you Frank, both for following/commenting and being good with discussion.

  2. That’s the problem, the religious think that their holy books are the evidence, not the claims. But it’s the other way around, faith by definition is belief without evidence, and without it religion dies.

  3. The bible is hearsay, not evidence.

    • it is the claim that a god exists… it can’t be evidence.

  4. I don’t know anyone who is presented with evidence of christianity before they believe. I wasn’t. Maybe there are but I would like to know what this evidence is

    • We would all like to know what the evidence is, at least the compelling and credible evidence.

      • I would like to examine that evidence

        • We all would.

          • and maybe I might still find a reason to reject it

            • Oh, there is always that. The trouble with evidence is that it is never above reproach. That’s the point entirely. 🙂

              • and I sure hope this evidence is better than Paul wrote in Romans– or some other bible verse

    • Do you mean to say that at one time you were caught hook, line and sinker by Christian dogma, and without a shred of evidence? What were you smoking when that happened?

      • Not sure how Maka will answer but I was pretty damned fond of chocolate cocoa puffs at the time.

      • H good friend.
        That was before I started smoking. In my experience one believes first then looks for the evidence to justify those beliefs. I started going to church when the word evidence wasn’t even known to me. I was fed the dumbed down catholic catechism. As one grows up in the belief a god exists, there is someone ready to reinforce the idea that a god exists and is all around us. And if you live in a community that isn’t critical as mine unfortunately was, the question about the truth of christianity comes and flies by very fast. It never lasts. All a person thinks is that they are not true to the faith that is why they doubt.

        • I keep forgetting that in many parts of the world, and even in the odd corner here,, laissez-faire Christianity doesn’t exist, It’s probably part of our “She’ll be right, mate” attitude of not taking anything too seriously.

          • Don’t lose that fact Barry. The kind that exists in NZ must have taken years to get to that point.

  5. You have a lot more patience than I to refute these arguments one by one. At my age, time is too precious to do likewise. I was inclined to do so at one time (and I’m not even an atheist, I’m a deist), but at this point, I’m content to occasionally discuss my own existential viewpoint in my blog (THE OBSERVATION POST) rather than engage in endless point-counterpoint with religious believers.

    Actually, deists (at least, this deist) and atheists have one thing completely in common: any god dreamed up by man does not exist. Beyond that, for anyone interested, my thinking is pretty much summed up in my March 14 post MORE ABOUT THE BEGINNING.

    I salute your writing and appreciate your time..

    • It’s my plan for the new year. I’ll try to suppress the anger and frustration and simply drill straight to what is wrong and show why I think it is wrong. The Hitch never had to yell or be angry so there is no reason ghat I need be. I’m still practicing.

      Thanks for stopping in, commenting, and your very kind words.

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