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How do we know what we know, and what is faith all about

Is faith the evidence of your God?

Postby Apossttate » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:21 pm

Is your faith evidence of your God?

Thesis: Faith is not evidence and does not consistently lead to truth. Additionally, faith is the primary reason for Christian belief which leads to uncertainty.

Re: Is faith the evidence of your God?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:44 am

No, the evidence is the evidence. My faith is Faith, according to the Bible, can be defined in various ways:

- Faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” This is the commonplace use of the word apart from any religious significance, such as when a person has faith in a chair to support his weight or has faith in his employee to do a job well.
- Faith is “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” This is the definition unbelievers often use to ridicule believers, insisting that they, unlike religious people, trust only in that which is demonstrable.
- Faith is “belief in, trust in, and loyalty to God.” This is an explicitly religious definition, in many ways similar to the theological definition of faith as involving knowledge, assent, and trust. Faith here is pictured as going beyond belief in certain facts to include commitment to and dependence on God.
- Faith is “a system of religious beliefs.” This is what is meant when one speaks of “the Protestant faith” or “the Jewish faith.” What is largely in view here is a set of doctrines. The Bible uses the word in this way in passages such as Jude 3.

I use faith, as I believe Hebrews 11.1 does, in the first sense. Here's my explanation:

Jesus never said faith is blind (anti-science, anti-evidence), and the Bible doesn't imply that faith is blind. In the Bible, faith is evidentiary. Faith isn't my evidence; I have faith because of the evidence. I define Biblical faith as "making an assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make that assumption reasonable." In my opinion, belief is always a choice, and is always based on evidence. When you sit down in a chair, you didn’t think twice about sitting down. You believe that the chair will hold you. Faith? Yes. You’ve sat in chairs hundreds of times, but you can't be absolutely sure it will hold you this time. Things do break on occasion. But you make an assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make it reasonable for you to make that assumption, and you sit down. That’s faith, and it was a conscious choice based in evidence (science, if you will).

Almost all of life works this way because we can never know what lies ahead. Every time you turn a door knob you are expressing faith. Because 10,000 times you’ve turned a door knob, and it opened the door. So you turn the knob and move forward. Does it always work that way? No. Sometimes you turn the knob and the door doesn’t open. But you make an assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make it reasonable for you to make that assumption.

We know chairs hold people. That's past experience and learning. We know turning door knobs open doors. We know that when we turn a key a car starts. But every time we turn a car key, we do it because we believe it will start. The evidence is compelling, and it was a conscious choice. We don't know for sure that the car will start, and unfortunately sometimes it doesn't. Then we use our knowledge to try to figure out what to do about it. We dial our phone (as an act of faith, assuming it will work and help us reach another person), and try to get help.

You'll notice in the Bible that evidence precedes faith. There is no fairy tale aspect to it. God appears to Moses in a burning bush before he expects him to believe. He gave signs to take back to Pharaoh and the Israelite people, so they could see the signs before they were expected to believe. So also through the whole OT. In the NT, Jesus started off with turning water into wine, healing some people, casting out demons, and then he taught them about faith. And they couldn't possibly understand the resurrection until there was some evidence to go on. The whole Bible is God revealing himself to us all—and I mean actually, not through some exercise of faith. Evidence first, then faith based on the evidence.

My faith in God is a conscious choice because I find the evidence compelling. It's an assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make it reasonable for me to make that assumption. When you read the Bible, people came to Jesus to be healed because they had heard about other people who had been healed. They had seen other people whom Jesus had healed. People had heard him teach. Their faith was based on evidence. Jesus kept giving them new information, and they gained new knowledge from it. Based on that knowledge, they acted with more faith. People came to him to make requests. See how it works? My belief in God is based on my knowledge of the credibility of those writings, the logic of the teaching, and the historical evidence behind it all. The resurrection, for instance, has evidences that give it credibility that motivate me to believe in it. My faith in the resurrection is an assumption of truth based on enough evidence that makes it reasonable to hold that assumption. The same is true for my belief in the existence of God, my belief that the Bible is God's word, and my understanding of how life works.

I would contend that faith is never blind. Faith is not evidence; faith is making an assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make that assumption reasonable.

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