Friday, January 17, 2014

Faith: Just a Step Further and You're There

A big problem I have encountered with both believers and non-believers
in conversation is the idea that to have "faith" means that you lack
any reason or evidence. I have even heard people say that the very
presence of evidence or a reason means something is NOT faith.

This just boggles my mind. I am not sure where this is coming from
because we do not use this meaning in most cases. I would say that if
this IS the definition a person insists on using for the word "faith",
then the word "faith" needs to be abandoned completely when discussing
Christianity and Biblical matters.

I recently had a conversation with a skeptic friend where we kept
running in circles because he would not accept that my "faith" involves
evidence and use of reason.

Yes, there is a sense in which the word "faith" can be used to mean total blind faith, but it usually is in the context of hope where as having faith in Jesus Christ is a belief or trust based on something.

According to, the #1 definition for faith is
"confidence or trust in a person or thing". Of the 5 definitions
given, only 1 involved the idea of lacking proof. I would say that the
way the word is used by Christians is that there may be a lack of
absolute "certainty" but not evidence.

Faith takes the last steps where evidence cannot go. I have faith that
my wife will not cheat on me. My evidence is her moral character, past
track record with relationships, personal convictions, and our wedding
vows. Now, obviously it is possible for a wife to cheat, and my wife
is not free from sin and temptation the same as every other person on
the planet. I cannot absolutely prove with certainty that she will not
cheat on me, but the evidence provided gives me a really good reason
to believe she will not. I have faith in her ability to keep her vow.

My faith in her takes the last few steps that evidence could not take.

I have faith that my lunch from a new restaurant will not poison me,
leaving my wife a widow and my children fatherless. I have very good
evidence to believe this. It is bad business to poison customers on
purpose, so that's not likely. Our society has safety and health
regulations on multiple levels, so an accidental poisoning isn't as
likely. I have spoken with several friends who have recently eaten
there, and they were not poisoned. Even if poisoning occurs, most food
poisoning leads to discomfort not death. Now is it possible that some
deadly bacteria could get past all of the protections and by a freak
accident I end up dying from food poisoning? Of course. Can I say with
certainty that I will not die from lunch? Nope. But the evidence gets
me close enough to assume safety.

My faith in the restaurant takes the last few steps that the evidence cannot.

You can apply the same standard to driving, going for a walk, whether
or not your boss will pay you, ... all sorts of things. All day long
we put our faith in things and people that we cannot have complete
certainty about but for which we have a decent amount of reason or
evidence to deem them trustworthy.

THAT is what faith is. Faith takes the final steps towards belief that
evidence cannot take.

Christianity has an abundance of historical, philosophical,
scientific, logical, archaelogical, and experiental evidence to make
it a reasonable belief. Faith simply takes the final steps from
believing THAT Christianity as a religious belief is valid to
believing IN the person of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your

Do not let someone get away with telling you that "faith" has no
evidence and is without reason. If they refuse to budge on their
faulty definition, then just use another word like "trust" or
something else more applicable to the conversation.

Remember, the point when we talk to other people is to communicate. If
definitions of words get in the way of that happening those words no
longer serve a purpose. Either find common agreement on a word or find
a new word.

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