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What do you have faith in?

(Thoughts based on the one-minute video “faith.)


Some people accuse Christians of having “blind faith.” They suggest that modern, enlightened people base their day-to-day decision-making and well-being on provable things such as science, not faith. In fact, believers are often called “people of faith,” and I am called a “faith leader,” but there is little doubt that mainstream culture merely tolerates faith. It is almost as if we “people of faith” are mentally children and while it is okay for children to believe in fairy tales such as religious faith, grown-ups know better. 


But the truth is people use faith all the time. For example, when you go to the pharmacy, you do not usually take your chemistry set with you to test that the aspirin at the pharmacy is really aspirin. You don’t test every medicine bottle to make certain that whatever they are getting at the pharmacy is genuine or safe. You don’t do that because you have faith – you trust (and that is what faith is) - that the pharmacy is selling real medications.


But why would you do this? After all, there are examples we can cite from history where medicines turned out to be fake, where vaccinations turned out to be harmful rather than helpful, and even examples where some evil person poisoned common pain relievers at the local pharmacy and people died. With those examples from history, why do most people still go to the pharmacy without a chemistry set?


Well, we can’t ask everyone why they have such faith, but there must be some common reasons most people still have faith in the local pharmacy. It’s probably because of the pharmacist's credibility - a college degree on the wall, a license from the state to distribute medicine, or something like that. Those bits and pieces of evidence suggest that, for the most part, the local pharmacist can be trusted. We cannot have absolute proof because even a licensed, fully trained pharmacist might have a psychotic breakdown and poison half the city. It is a risk most of us take, but it is a reasonable faith based on the preponderance of evidence. No one can ever be absolutely certain, but we have faith in the pharmacist and we exercise that kind of faith all the time. We have faith that gravity will still work in the morning. We have faith that the South Pole exists even though we’ve never been there.  


The truth is that critics can point their finger derisively at “people of faith” but be blind to the fact that they act in faith on a daily basis. When I point this out, the critics tend to say there is a difference between having faith in scientific matters versus religious beliefs. But is there really a difference? Both beliefs are about adding up the credibility of evidence, so the real difference is not between “proof” and “faith.” The real question is: “What are you having faith IN?” Keep in mind that science is not fail-safe and without error! There are plenty of examples of scientific consensus that turned out to be false, so the attitude that we should all “follow the science” can be just as blind a faith as believing that the center of the Earth is full of cookies.


No one really operates on 100% proof. There is an element of faith in everything we do in life. This means the wise thing to do is to evaluate the preponderance of the evidence that gives credibility to whatever you have faith in. This is the reason Christians do not have blind faith. We have faith in God because God has demonstrated His credibility by what He has made. The overwhelming evidence discovered by science demonstrates that the physical universe had a sudden beginning before which there was nothing. Since nothing is “no thing” and cannot, therefore, “do” anything, only a transcendent Creator who is non-physical can explain the existence of the universe. This is the God the Bible describes. Since the universe is filled with irreducibly complex systems that cannot be explained by any natural step-by-step process, only a designer of supreme intelligence and power could have brought it into being. This is the God the Bible describes. The Bible itself has more historical and textual evidence to support its antiquity, preservation, and moral integrity than any other book ever written in any language. All of this, and so much more, shows that my faith is not a blind faith, it is a reasonable faith. It is based on reason. It is based on a God who has by far more credibility than any pharmacist you will ever meet.


Just something to think about.

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