Faith Is Belief Without Evidence, Says Richard Dawkins

In an article published in The Humanist, Richard Dawkins (the world’s top evangelist for atheism) said, “Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principle vice of any religion.”  The only vice I see in this statement is the vice of ignorance of orthodox Christianity on the part of Mr. Dawkins.

I just finished reading a great book by Frank Turek entitled Stealing From God.  The book details how atheist’s beliefs are usually presupposed on things that cannot be determined by materialism.  Materialism is the belief of atheists that says everything has a physical, material cause.  But in order to come to that conclusion, one must use their immaterial mind, reason, and logic so the entire notion is self-defeating.  I will not go into detail here about the main points of the book but I will be posting a review to Amazon.com soon if you are interested.  

Toward the end of the book Turek has a short explanation of Biblical faith that counters Dawkins’ claims.  I can’t really say it any better myself so I’m going to type a portion of it verbatim.  The following excerpts can be found on pages 216-218.

“One reason people are not persuaded by Christianity is because they think it’s based on blind faith.  Richard Dawkins says, ‘Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principle vice of any religion.’  Unfortunatley for Dawkins, this kind of faith is the principle vice of atheism–the worldview that believes, despite massive counterevidence, that only material things exist.  Atheists don’t offer any evidence that doesn’t defeat itself……

“Another problem for Dawkins and company is “belief without evidence” is not what “faith” means in the Bible.”  (Turek gives a great explantion of Hebrews 11:1 in the endnotes and how that verse does not require blind faith.  He says, “the context of this passage reveals that “faith” is not belief without evidence; faith is trusting God for an unseen future based on the evidence of what is already known about God.”  There is so much more about this verse in the book and we can discuss it further in the comments below if you wish).

Turek continues, “When you see the word faith in the Bible, you should think of the word trust.  That’s what the word in Greek actually means in most contexts.  And this is not blind trust.  The Bible actually commands us to use reason and evidence.  Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God…with all your mind.’  God speaks through the prophet Isaiah saying, ‘Come now, let us reason together.’  Peter urges us to ‘always be prepared to give an answer.’  Paul commands us to ‘destroy arguments’ that are opposed to the truth of Christianity, and he declares that Christianity is false unless the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact.  So Christians don’t get brownie points for being stupid or relying on blind faith.  They are suppose to know what the believe and why they believe it….

“But merely knowing that Jesus is the savior isn’t enough to save you from judgement.  You have to go from belief that Jesus is the Savior to belief in Jesus as your Savior.  Those are the two kinds of biblical faith:  Belief that is based on reason and evidence.  Belief in is how you respond to reason and evidence.  Belief that is more a matter of the head or mind, and belief in is more a matter of the heart or will….

“Believing that Jesus is the Savior is only the first step.  It doesn’t go far enough.  God is not interested in mere intellectual assent any more than a girlfriend is interested in merely being told she’d make a great wife.  God seeks a love relationship from us and won’t force Himself on us.  If we intellectually know that He exists but never trust in Him, we’ll never receive the benefits of being His….

“Belief that (head knowledge) doesn’t save, but it can help people get to the point where they choose to believe in.  That’s the purpose of evidence…..

“In other words biblical faith is trusting in what you have good reason to believe is true.”

Man, I just love these excerpts from the book. Having faith in God is not the same as being a bucket head. Again, the book mostly deals with how to respond to atheistic assertions but I really liked this part about biblical faith because of my personal background in having a great faith relationship in God.

You should really get the book Stealing From God, Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.  You can find it here on Amazon.  It is often sold out though!  If so, you can get the book at Impact Apologetics.  If you want to learn more about Frank Turek, his website is CrossExamined.org.

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Does Atheism Lower Crime and Make Us Happy?

“Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.” –G.K. Chesterson

A minority of people claim this life is all there is and we should simply make the best of it while we are here. They believe that ultimately when they die they become a gourmet meal for maggots. They think they can be reduced to molecules in motion, machines that can be reduced to the periodic table that simply dance to the music of their DNA (page 133). They believe only material things exist without thinking for a moment that it took immaterial logic to come to that conclusion. Forget about trying to account for immaterial things like love, compassion, hope, justice, joy, and meaning. They think these things are illusory.

Most people of this type attempt to use their atheism to say that religion (specifically Christianity) poisons everything and atheist leaning countries are more enlightened, happier, and have less crime.  The countries cited by the atheist are usually in Western Europe or one of the Scandinavian countries such as Denmark.

Is Denmark really happy or is it artificial?

I have a couple of problems with this kind of thinking.  First, it has never been proven that atheism is the source of a less criminal culture and this notion should be flatly rejected until a level of evidence would tip the balance toward such a view. Second, when I hear someone make such a claim I begin to research some of the history myself and not simply take their word for it.  Thankfully, I have history resources and a number of friends who are educated in the area of European history as it relates to cultural evolution.

Thinking about the northern and western European areas, it’s important to see how the area changed over the centuries.  In a book by David Landes, “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,” Landes writes about tenth century Europe and he describes it like this:  “In the tenth century, Europe was just coming out of a long torment of invasion, plunder, and rapine, by enemies from all sides.  So terrifying were these marauders [the Vikings], so ruthless their tactics (taking pleasure in tossing babies in the air and catching them on their lances or smashing their heads against the wall), that the very rumor of their arrival [sent everyone running]” (pages 29 and 30).

David Marshall said this about what happened to the culture (specifically Denmark) since then:  “So 1000 years ago, the ancestors of modern Danes were sacrificing maidens and cruising the North Sea looking to pick up some monastic bling. Now they’re riding bicycles to flower shops in Copenhagen. What happened?  To make history very simple, and maybe overly simple, the Gospel happened.”  Now there are obviously thousands upon thousands of pages that could be written on this topic and the evidence behind it but this is a blog, not a book.  The point is clear.

We know from history that indeed Christianity brought civility to this part of the world and later birthed science as we know it and what a Godsend these things have been!  To further the point would take far longer to develop but it is certainly not the decline of Christianity and the rise of atheism that has spawned less crime in western and northern Europe.  A couple of points come to mind.  First, many god-less countries legalize drug use and do not view it as a criminal issue which is a polar opposite stance of the United States.  This would include the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Denmark, and others (by the way, I’m not here to debate the politics of drug liberalization.  Clearly the “War on Drugs” has been a failure).  In addition to various drug deregulations, these countries also legalize many other forms of questionable behavior such as prostitution, assisted suicide, child suicide, bestiality, etc.  Moreover, some of these countries have extremely restrictive gun laws where oftentimes handguns aren’t just restricted, they are banned.  Yet none of this evidence points directly toward religion or atheism.  It has to do with decriminalization laws.  When you decriminalize actions and behaviors that once were criminalized, it stands to reason that crime rates will fall!  In this case, lower crime rates do not happen because you’re an atheist.  In this case, lower crime rates happen because of decriminalization.  How one interprets the data is what is important here.  Remember this:  the numbers don’t say anything on their own.  The people interpreting the numbers say everything.  

And to further the point allow me to punctuate it with the following exclamation.  Correlation does not adequately explain causation!  I could claim that America has NFL football. Then I could claim that America is the most charitable country on Earth. The consistent atheist may try to claim that NFL football increases charitable giving. Now we know that’s crazy talk but you can see that correlation does not equate to causation.

I want to end this post with this article in the New York Post.  Enjoy!

P.S.  I have three people awaiting a post from me on the subject of objective morality.  I apologize for not having it posted sooner.  When I’m doing a study I have to complete what I’m doing before moving on.  And on top of that, these things take time and I do not sit around and “blog” all day long.  I have a job, a family, and a life so please be patient with me.  🙂

Apologetic Dictionary Submission

A new dictionary of Christian apologetics is currently being produced and I will have at least one submission (maybe more to come) printed in the dictionary.  This dictionary will be produced in print and e-bookFeatured image form.  The editor asks that submissions be very short and concise.  This is a dictionary, not an encyclopedia.  I have attached my submission to this post.  Please click on it and learn about the “Argument From Desire.”

Who Made God?

Sometimes in defending the existence of God the question arises, “who made God?” The short answer is no one did. That question assumes he was created in the manner Zues or Thor were created. Not true. He is the uncaused first cause. He is necessary because all things as we know them arise from the law of cause and effect. Without getting too deep here, it’s important to know that it’s impossible to have an infinite regression of causes. In the words of President Harry Truman, at some point someone must say, “the buck stops here.”

Some people have difficulty understanding how God can just “be” there without a beginning. First of all, the only way for anything to “begin” is for it to operate within time itself. The words “begin” and “end” are dependent on time. But since God is not bound by time he must then transcend it altogether.

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We know from Big Bang cosmology that time, space, energy, motion, etc., had a beginning at the instant the Big Bang occurred. Since time had a beginning it had to be created. Moreover, it had to be created by something that is separate from it. Time can’t create time. Nature cannot create nature. Those notions are examples of illogical circular reasoning.

To illustrate how time and God are separate think of a farmer building a pond for the benefit of his cattle. The farmer creates the pond but he is separate from it. He transcends it. In our world of time, sometimes God enters time through miracles, providential acts, incarnation of himself through Jesus, etc. The same can be illustrated with the farmer and his pond. The farmer created the pond, but he can also enter the pond to swim if he chooses, and he can remove himself from the pond at his will and pleasure. Furthermore, the farmer is not contingent on the pond for his existence, but the pond is contingent on the farmer for its own existence.

Moreover, the farmer has good reason to maintain the pond but sometimes mere men can let things get in the way. My wife has an elderly aunt who is the caretaker of their family farm. There is a farm pond on the property where we would go fishing as youngsters. Because of her age and health (among other things) the pond has fallen into near disrepair. Because it was not maintained, the dam is nearly completely washed away and now all that remains is a very large mud hole with a creek running through it. Eventually, my father-in-law hopes to repair the dam. The point here is that the Bible tells us God upholds his creation. He maintains it always (Col. 1:17). We can count on him even though we fail.

Since the beginning of time God has upheld time and the universe and He never fails. He is maintaining things and keeping order for us. How awesome! So remember, God doesn’t need a “beginning” because he is not bound by time. He transcends time altogether.

I hope this brings some insight to you and gives you some thinking points when it comes to defending our awesome God.