The Necessity of Faith
by Neil Shevni
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18
Before I was Christian, I scoffed early and often at the simple-minded and ludicrous faith of most Christians. I had certainly seen and heard Christians making some very improbable statements and then justifying them not by argument or logic but by an appeal to this nebulous concept. What irritated me even more was the view that faith was a virtue rather than an escape route. When positions could not be defended and counter-evidence mounted, faith ended the discussion. I, on the other hand, had a belief in God that was firmly rooted in philosophical reasoning and logic. I also had the intellectual integrity to admit when I was wrong and would gladly relinquish my views if someone could disprove them (granted, when you are as smart as I was, this happens rarely). However, I now realize that faith is not an escape route nor is it an unstable foundation. Rather, it is the only firm ground upon which anyone can build their life. Furthermore, it is the foundation upon which everyone, from the most devout believer to the most ardent atheist, does build their life whether they like it or not.
First, a digression: a few years ago there was a program on television called “Did the Moon Landing Really Happen”. I only watched for a few minutes, but from the glimpse I had, I gathered that the program was devoted to expounding the claims of a group of scientists who believed that the moon landing had been a government fabrication filmed on a Hollywood sound stage. The scientists who were interviewed supported their theories with seemingly convincing evidence. For instance, there is a radiation belt surrounding the earth that would have destroyed any electrical systems that passed through it; the flag planted by Neil Armstrong is shown in the film footage to be waving slightly, which would not have been possible in the atmosphere-less environment of the moon, etc… I could list many more facts which were marched out over the course of the hour-long special if I had continued watching. Unfortunately, I changed the channel after a few minutes.
Let me immediately affirm that I do believe in the moon landing and that I suspect the whole conspiracy theory to be a load of rubbish. In the same breath, let me also affirm that this belief is founded on nothing more than extreme and whole-hearted faith.
Ask yourself the following questions. First, have you ever once seriously entertained the possibility that the moon landing was staged? I haven’t. Second, if you were to consider this possibility, is there any concrete evidence, either for or against this claim that you could advance to convince a skeptic? And I doubt that an appeal to the history books would satisfy a real skeptic (after all, you forget the vast nature of the conspiracy). What is more, if you were ever to enter a fair, moderated debate with one of the conspiracy theorists on the program, who would win? Though I am certain that there are scientific experts who could convincingly dismantle these conspiracy theorists, I most certainly could not. Yet despite the rational, logical, convincing arguments advanced by the conspiracy theorists -arguments which I cannot refute- I still believe in the moon landing. Why? Because I believe by faith…
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