Is the Christian Faith Evidentially Reasonable?
by J Warner Wallace*
Richard Dawkins, the famous evolutionary biologist, author and avid atheist, once said, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Is that true? Does Christianity call us to scorn or reject reason and evidence in an effort to have a faith that pleases God? Here at PleaseConvinceMe.com, we’re making every effort to demonstrate the relationship between faith, reason and evidence. Our site is filled with evidence that demonstrates the truth of Christianity, because the Christian faith is grounded in reason and evidence.
The God of the Bible does not call his children to obey blindly. The Bible itself serves as a piece of evidence, the testimony of eyewitnesses who provide us with reasons to believe. That’s why the scriptures repeatedly call us to have a “reasoned” belief in Jesus. Scripture tells us:
1. We should value reason so that we won’t be like “unreasoning animals” (Jude 4, 10)
2. We should love God with our “mind” as well as our heart and soul (Matthew 22:37-38)
3. We should remember that Jesus said that the miracles He performed were offered as evidence so we would “know and understand” that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father (John 10:37-38)
4. We should remember that God provided “proof” for all of us by raising Jesus from the grave (Acts 17:30-31)
5. We should remember that Jesus did not hesitate to provide additional “convincing proofs” (evidence) to the disciples, even after He had been resurrected from the tomb (Acts 1:2-3)
6. We should remember that Paul regularly “reasoned” with people as he provided evidence from the Scriptures and testified as an eyewitness to the resurrection (Acts 17:2-3)
7. We should use our minds to “examine everything” carefully (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)
8. We should resist the temptation to have blind faith, and should instead “test the spirits” to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1)
9. We should examine what we believe until we are “fully convinced” (Romans 14:5, 2 Timothy 1:8-12, 2 Timothy 3:14)
When we use our minds, investigate the evidence and become convinced, something wonderful happens; we have the courage to defend what we believe. Jesus gave us more than enough evidence to believe that He was who he said he was, and He never asked us to believe blindly. When Jesus asked us to have faith in Him, he asked us to accept what he said on the basis of the evidence that He gave us. The Christian faith is a reasonable faith:
Believing in something IN SPITE of the evidence. We hold an unreasonable faith when we refuse to accept or acknowledge evidence that exists, is easily accessible and clearly refutes what we believe
Believing in something WITHOUT any evidence. We hold a blind faith when we accept something even though there is no evidence to support our beliefs. We don’t search for ANY evidence that either supports or refutes what we are determined to believe
Believing in something BECAUSE of the evidence. We hold a reasonable faith when we believe in something because it is the most reasonable conclusion from the evidence that exists
The Bible repeatedly makes evidential claims. It offers eyewitness accounts of historical events that can be verified archeologically, prophetically and even scientifically. We, as Christians are called to hold a reasonable faith that is grounded in this way.
(article originally posted here)