God Never Requires Us to Believe without Evidence
by Travis Dickinson
In his An Essay on the Divine Authority of the New Testament (1804), 19thCentury theologian, David Bogue once said:
God never requires us to believe without evidence: but where sufficient evidence is given, he is highly and justly displeased at men’s unbelief.
Is this right? Does God ever require us to believe without evidence? I say he does not.
I’ve often asked my students whether they can come up with even one example in Scripture of someone who is asked to believe blindly—that is, to believe without evidence. It’s harder than you might think…okay, I think it’s impossible, since it is not there. But feel free to try. Every time God requires belief, there are experiences that accompany the request. Take, for example, Moses being asked to confront Pharaoh. There’s of course the burning bush as well as other confirming miracles. Or take Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He’s literally blinded by an unexplainable light and talked to by Jesus himself. It’s not that these couldn’t have questioned these experiences and disbelieved. In fact, disbelief is always possible with experience (more on this below). The point, however, is it was very rational for them to believe. That is, these extraordinary experiences provided good evidence that rationally supported their beliefs…
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