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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Blind Faith

I see many believers respond to criticism of Christianity and the Bible with the statement, "it's faith, you can't prove it". The implication being that faith is blind and cares not for evidence. Naturally, skeptics or those who have an interest or background in science do not respect this position.

How should we respond? Do we modify our relationship to God by changing what faith is to satisfy a skeptical age? If so, where do we stop with such modifications? These are reasonable concerns but we need not worry that we are only responding to those who reject God. The Bible reveals that faith is not what many of us may have believed it to be.

Biblical faith is loyalty based on evidence of performance. The following article demonstrates this by showing what the Bible has to say:

Fallacious Faith

In conclusion: If you as a Christian have held one or more of these views of faith, we offer this in humbleness as a corrective. Your faith does not have to be, and was never intended to be, a blind trust -- not in God, and not as something you hold even in opposition

Now some may be wondering what evidence is there. They may be intimidated by a list of contradictions they have seen or claims that Christ did not exist. I have debated these issues and have yet to see good arguments. Does this indicate I am very good at debating tricks and that believers have to continue doubting? Hardly, it is not a matter of rhetorical tricks but quality information and scholarship. The information I have referenced in discussions is freely available online and in sites that can be searched by topics and keywords. I'll provide links for two sites I use most often and in the future I may highlight topics that I see coming up often in debates or discussions that I participate in.

Now does this mean that anyone can engage in apologetics or defending the faith? The Bible gives us guidance on such matters:

Romans 12:4-8

4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7) Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

We all have different gifts. Debating and defending any, position requires more than just a copy/paste but at a minimum, the ability to understand the material and defend it by recognizing weak arguments, fallacies or incorrect information are required. But simply because one is not called to defend the faith, in such a manner, does not mean it is unprofitable to study and understand why it is that we believe.

As we have seen, faith is not blind. We need not hide behind that misconception to avoid study as such study can only increase our confidence in God. We also should not hide behind it out of sheer laziness.

It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a second-rate brain. He has room for people with little sense, but he wants every one to use what sense they have...God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

So, for some who find they are called to apologetics or those who simply have questions or would like to direct family or friends to answers, the following websites have served me well with my own education and in various debates.

A Christian Thinktank
Tekton Apologetics Ministries

You need not fear being a Christian without intellectual fulfillment or that the faith is completely void of evidence. Skeptics, of course, will continue their attacks and eventually you may discern, in some cases, a willful rejection of truth, rather than an honest disagreement or misunderstanding. But my experience tells me that our confidence and faith in God will only grow and deepen as we take the time and put forth the effort to study and utilize what is so easily available.

As the scriptures tell us:

II Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

God bless :-)
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