Facts vs Faith
by Dr. Michael G Strauss
There is a common indictment made by skeptics and critics of religion, that Christianity is based on faith while science is based on facts. These skeptics view faith as a vice because, in their opinion, faith is not based on evidence and blindly accepts religious dogma. The biologist Richard Dawkins has 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,” and “Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion.” The biologist Jerry Coyne writes, “Indeed, by relying on faith rather than evidence, religion renders itself incapable of finding truth.”
These statements which supposedly define faith reflect the most inaccurate understanding possible of what Christian faith actually is. As a physicist and a thinking rational person, if faith were actually believing something without evidence, I would definitely not be a Christian. I simply cannot consider something to be true unless there is sufficient evidence to render that belief as the most probable conclusion that explains the evidence.
True Christian faith is always based on evidence. A word that better conveys the meaning of Christian faith in our current culture is probably “trust.” You would be a fool to trust something or someone that has no evidence of being trustworthy, or has been shown to actually be untrustworthy. If you send your money to a Nigerian prince because the email you got sounded sincere, you can say bye-bye to that money. If you ride a roller-coaster that has been condemned, the consequences could be severe. But if you give money to a friend who has proven trustworthy and offers a legitimate business opportunity, you may actually benefit from that transaction.
Throughout the New Testament we see that Christian faith is based on evidence and factual events…