I saw a link to another blog just after I posted the last one, and it got me thinking about something I wanted to write soon enough anyways, so here goes.
There’s this silly idea roaming around that faith is blind, that faith is “believing without evidence“; I really don’t know where this comes from. I know I’ve talked about the biblical definition of faith before, so I won’t go over it again here, but I’m bringing it up again because it points toward this other notion that comes from this “blind faith” silliness: the notion that Christians are stupid. Christians refuse to believe in common scientific notions like evolution, for a typical example, and we believe in God for all sorts of silly subjective reasons.
I used to spend hours surfing atheist websites and getting embroiled in online debates about the existence of God. Invariably, atheists would talk about a lack of logical, consistent, scientifically probable evidence, and could easily trip me up because I knew nothing about science; or else they would attack the Bible as being inconsistent or false in some mundane way that had absolutely no bearing on the actual meaning of the text, and attack my subjective and unprovable reasons for believing in God. To be fair, I would fall into the equally ignorant line of attacks common to Christians trying to get a one-up on atheists. Since then I’ve spent some time studying my own faith, and this kind of silly debate doesn’t interest me much because it almost always misses the point entirely, becoming a series of reactionary arguments that make less and less sense until we’ve proved the atheist point: that our faith is undefendable and we’re sensitive to this fact.
There are some great apologists out there. I’ve heard good things about Lee Strobel and Josh MacDowell, though I’ve never read them, and I’ve attended debates with the likes of William Lane Craig defending the faith against atheist professors. Debates are interesting, because in the end everyone always leaves with their biases confirmed. When I saw Craig debate, his arguments were well-prepared, concise, and entirely logical. His opponent, though he was unable to seriously challenge any of Craig’s arguments, eventually attacked the intelligence of theists; and though he didn’t actually argue a real point in his attacks, I heard the atheist crowd laughing it up after about how stupid Christians are. Though I’ve never read anything by Christopher Hitchens, I’ve seen a few youtube videos in which he uses the same arguments; it’s interesting that his brother Peter just released a book depicting a worldview exactly opposite his, when it’s obvious that neither brother is an intellectual slouch.
The downside of apologetics is that 99.9% of apologeticists are not professionals who know their arguments well; most of them are silly kids like me, trolling the atheist sites or street corners looking for a debate they’ll never win. When Christians are uninformed about their faith, they cling to pat-answers and subjective arguments that allow them to convince themselves of God’s existence, even when most of these arguments are complete bunk. We polarize debates about scientific issues that, with the exception of a few certain views, have nothing to do with our theology – and in the process become known for denying the truth in defense of the Truth.
I’m sorry if Christians have given you the impression that having faith means abandoning logic and common sense, especially if they tried to debate you (it’s quite possible that I did, and I really am sorry!). It’s quite possible to be a rational person who believes in a rational God; it’s even possible to be an irrational person who believes in an irrational God and still not be a jerk about it.