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.