Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Why Do We Have Faith?

Faith is so often misrepresented by non-believers. Richard Dawkins describes it this way:
"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."
As usual, Dawkins is spouting complete drivel. Here's a great quote from John Lennox, a professor of mathematics at Oxford, who has debated Dawkins a few times, and each time utterly torn his worldview to shreds.
"Faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s the exact opposite. It’s a commitment based on evidence… It is irrational to reduce all faith to blind faith and then subject it to ridicule. That provides a very anti-intellectual and convenient way of avoiding intelligent discussion."
That's the difference. We're all on Dawkins' side if he's talking about blind faith - believing without thinking. But actual faith is not that. The faith that most people talk about regularly is not that. As Lennox will tell you, the word 'faith' comes from the Latin 'fides', which means trust. You have faith in your family, faith in your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife, faith in your government (maybe). And you usually say that you have faith in them because they've never let you down before or you know them well enough that they will come through. You trust them. The phrase 'faith in humanity' gets thrown around a lot, although more often than not, it's mentioned as a 'loss of faith'. It's still talking about trust.
Pretty much the only time I hear faith being bundled up with blind faith as the same thing is when fundie atheists are using the word in reference to religious belief.

As John Lennox said, faith/trust is based on evidence and that is the Biblical definition too. The number of preachers and prophets throughout the book who ask questions and want a bit more evidence to keep their faith strong should be plenty enough to destroy this stupid definition of faith completely. Doubting Thomas is probably one of the most famous episodes of Jesus' story. He wanted evidence, Jesus gave it to him, his faith was strengthened.

So when Dawkins, Harris or the other New Atheists talk about faith, they're talking about 'blind faith'. And that is not something any Christian is into! So they're wasting everyone's time...
So what is the evidence that Christians have?