Rethinking Our Apologetics: Does Atheism Take More Faith?

By Carey Bryant

“You really believe that the universe came from nothing? How could you think that life arose from non-life? Well, I could never have as much faith as you do!”

This is a rhetoric that many apologists use when confronting atheists. The idea is that since the atheist lacks evidence for his position, he needs more faith to make up the difference. But I think this portrays faith in a confusing and unhelpful way for three reasons.

1. This rhetoric reinforces the false view that faith is believing something without evidence.

The true definition of faith has been so abused that now the larger culture sees faith as believing something without having any evidence for it. This means the more faith you have, the less evidence you have for your position. If this is what faith means, then as Christians we don’t need as much faith as the atheist because we have more evidence!

But I don’t think this is how the Bible defines faith.

The clearest definition comes from Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There are several Greek words used here:

Faith (pistis) =    to be convicted that something is true

Assurance (hypostasis) =    a firm trust or foundation

Hoped for (elpizō) = to confide in or expect

Conviction (elegchos) =    proof or evidence

As you can see, none of these words indicate that faith is believing without evidence. According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is a confident trust, assurance and conviction that something is true…

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