I’ve wanted to write out my thoughts on this for the longest of times, and honestly it’s gotten more and more difficult to do simply because of all the angles I can approach talking about it. I’ve already done one little post on it a few days ago, in a post about Sunday Sermons but it was pretty narrow in scope. So, let’s talk.
Firstly, why has faith been one of my fundamental barriers for belief in a god? When it comes to belief, I think it’s obvious to point out that we believe based on what we perceive to be good evidence. Where faith comes in this process may vary on interpretation, but there seems to be one commonly problematic version of this that any atheist like myself refuse to have: blind belief. This understanding of faith basically posits that faith is simply belief without evidence. People often point to Hebrews 11:1 as proof that this is what faith is, and for now we’ll just leave that debate on verse translations alone use the verse as a reference: “1 Now faith is the 1aassurance of things 2bhoped for, the3conviction of cthings not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
The debate on blind belief doesn’t exist. I doubt anyone truly thinks THIS is how we should come to believe in anything, and even if it was it’s very clear that most believers have their own evidences justifying belief like everyone else in the world.
William Lane Craig, a popular Christian apologist, and many others believe faith to essentially be trust, as the video shows. But, what warrants trust? Most parents would probably teach their kids to trust them based on experience and the fact that they care, but hidden within that remarks of “I’ve been right before!” and other variations of the quote point to the real reasoning: evidence. All placing your trust in someone is is declaring that you will depend on them, be it in the truth of their words of the actualization of their actions. When you trust someone, you basically demonstrate the belief that they will be there for you in one way or another. Like any belief, though, trust requires evidence. You just don’t “trust that the sun will rise tomorrow” or that the phone in your pocket will work, but believe that the sun will rise again given the evidence that it’s done so before. Even without science you can reasonably have faith in things like that through trends staying consistent over a long period of time. If a pattern arises it makes sense to believe it will continue.
In application to god, this means that evidence precedes good faith in this particular definition. I personally hold to this notion completely, and my being an atheist comes from the fact that examining the evidence has shown it to be faulty in many ways.
I can’t say where this debate fits- it would seem everyone with a brain would run away from the idea of blind belief. I would guess that it comes from the fact that at some point, the requirements to constantly have this trust and conviction makes it dangerously easy to continue trusting or having faith even when the evidence falls apart in a sort of transition from evidence based faith into blind faith. The bible focuses so heavily on faith it’s easy to take it into levels of blind faith. When evidence isn’t the main focus and faith is called for so intensely, there’s pressure to continue trusting without evidence. With the fear of hell, this sort of faith in god’s existence is practically a cakewalk to understand. Even without such a threat, faith can quickly become used as a sort of heated challenge and test of one’s allegiance, and history alone shows how poorly things can end up when someone’s allegiance is held to a higher level of importance than reasoning itself.