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The Reasonable, Evidential Nature of Christian Faith
By J. Warner Wallace
Skeptics sometimes portray Christians as both “unreasonable” and “unreasoning”. The Christian culture only exacerbates the problem when it advocates for a definition of “faith” removed from evidence. Is true faith blind? How are true believers to respond to doubt? What is the relationship between faith and reason? Richard Dawkins once said:
“Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that.”
This view of Christian belief is common among skeptics and believers alike. Critics think Christians accept truth claims without any evidential support and many Christians embrace the claims of Christianity unaware of the strong evidence supporting our worldview. Dawkins is correct when he argues against forming beliefs without evidence. People who accept truth claims without any examination or need for evidence are prone to believing myths and making bad decisions.
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Christians Are Called to A Reasonable Faith
Christians, however, are not called to make decisions without good evidence. The God of the Bible does not call his children to obey blindly. The Gospels are themselves an important form of direct evidence; the testimony of eyewitnesses who observed the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. That’s why the scriptures repeatedly call us to have a reasoned belief in Christ, and not to resort to the behavior of unreasoning animals:
Jude 4, 10
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.
The Bible uses this word for “unreasoning” in a pejorative manner; to be unreasoning is to act like a brute animal. God clearly wants more from beings created in His image…