Is Reason Really an Enemy of Faith?
Are We Irrational?
Have you ever had someone in the culture tell you that ‘people of faith’ are simple minded folks who blindly believe that God exists in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Secularists often portray Christians as both ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unreasoning’. They simply believe that we have no idea what the evidence demonstrates related to the existence of God. They think we have blind faith, and they think we are comfortable with our blind obedience to the traditions of religion. Well I, for one, have never seen my faith in this way. I was an atheist for thirty five years because I believed that there was sufficient evidence to support naturalism. I will confess to you that I also thought that naturalism was the more reasonable worldview and that naturalists in general were more thoughtful and evidential. I thought that secularists and philosophical naturalists (I was both) were more committed to a rational examination of the evidence.
I found plenty of skepticism amongst naturalists and other historic thinkers who have questioned the reasoning ability of believers. Many well respected writers have challenged the rationality of ‘blind faith’ and (along with it) Christian Theism:
”Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear”
“When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.”
“Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men.”
Sir Julian Huxley
“Today the god hypothesis has ceased to be scientifically tenable … and its abandonment often brings a deep sense of relief. Many people assert that this abandonment of the god hypothesis means the abandonment of all religion and all moral sanctions. This is simply not true. But it does mean, once our relief at jettisoning an outdated piece of ideological furniture is over, that we must construct some thing to take its place”
But is this criticism valid? Are these observations true? Are those who believe in the existence of God truly holding on to an “outdated piece of ideological furniture”? Is it possible to be ‘reasonable’ and a theist at the same time? Is faith truly ‘blind’ or is it the result of a rational examination of the evidence? One thing is for sure, the concept of ‘blind faith’ is completely foreign to the Christian Worldview…
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