Isn’t Christianity about believing without evidence?

by Dave Bish

It’s a common charge from popular atheists like Richard Dawkins. Christianity is just blind faith and a disregard of the facts of history. I can sympathise with that. Christians can be overheard saying thinks like “Faith is spelled Risk” and talk about leaps of faith which can make it sound like an exercise in intellectual suicide. Jumping into the deep end when you don’t know if the water is deep enough is foolish, and if you know there is no water then it’s insanity.

Dawkins persistently demands scientific proof for everything proving:

“The ‘theory’ that the planets orbit the sun will never be disproved. Nor will the theory’ of evolution. That’s why we call them facts.” – Richard Dawkins

Talk of scientific fact is fine as far as it goes. But not everything can be proved with science. Planetary orbits can be observed but theory of evolution probably depends at least as much on philosophy and history as it does on science. We all believe things for many reasons – sometimes we even believe true things for wrong reasons. We’re complicated and messy people, attempting to make intellectual and emotional sense of the world around us. Responding rightly and wrongly to where we find ourselves.

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Often we deal with ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – with historical evidence, the testimony of witnesses because most things aren’t repeatable scientific experiments. Dawkins approach tends to beg the question, to put the cart before the horse. He’s long since decided that Christianity is evil fantasy, and so automatically excludes any evidence that might support it. If you exclude all the evidence in favour of something you’re likely to side against it.

We might well think RESURRECTION is an anomaly – Christianity would agree – but it would also say: follow the evidence. Suppose for a moment that there isn’t a great conspiracy and the documents we call the New Testament today might just have something to tell us, where will that take us? I’m not immediately asking that you accept them – but just to hear their testimony and then to weigh it…

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