Over and over again, I hear the cries and the whines of atheists who claim that faith is nothing but a “blind leap”. It is evidently one of the hardest obstacles to overcome for a believer of unbelief, this idea of faith. From the halls of high schools to the halls of Oxford, you can hear these defenders of disbelief, upholders of uncertainty, make their proposition of perfidiousness.
But why? Why is it that people have such a negative view of faith. What has happened that has caused the atheist culture, and maybe the culture at large, to take such an adverse view of one of the staple words of religion and specifically, Christianity?
I don’t believe its accidental. I don’t believe that there is a mere misunderstanding of the definition of the word faith. It simply doesn’t make sense to me that after 1900 years of use, the concept of this word has been lost.
I don’t believe it’s organized either. I don’t believe that there has been a concerted effort to change the definition of this old word. I don’t believe that there has been a back room meeting somewhere, that Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have attended and orchestrated the destruction of faith.
I believe it is suppression. It is individual, cultural, suppression. Individuals, who are opposed to belief, are also opposed to evidence and the idea that it can lead to ascent and trust. Because atheism has grown in its renown, and because atheism is basically an idea held by unorganized individuals or groups, and because this idea about faith is one of their most vocal claims, their proposed redefinition of the word faith has taken on a cultural esteem.
It is though, an unfounded proposition. Faith, as understood by Christians, has a specific definition. It has a specific origin as well. It’s origin is located within a Christian understanding of the Greek word πίστις pistis. It’s use for centuries has been in a Christian context and a Christian understanding. Faith was defined by the Reformers and is used by Christians normally as a specific thing. It has three parts, knowledge, belief, and trust. Faith minus one of these three parts is not faith. To believe something without first having knowledge of it’s evidence is not faith. To trust something without believing it is true is not faith. One must be presented with a proposition, believe that proposition to be true, and finally trust it in some way to be considered to be faith. It’s specific, and it’s clear. To claim that faith is not this way is unfounded. It has always been this way and to merely say it is not is a blind leap in itself.
Here is the atheist proposition of what faith is in syllogistic form:
Premise #1: Christians believe without evidence
Premise #2: This belief is faith
Conclusion: Faith is blind trust
Why is this unfounded? Well, other than the claims that this is a religious term in a religious context, and that non-religious people have no right to change its meaning “just because”, this syllogism has been proven false many times.
Premise #1 has been proven false, repeatedly. For instance, in my recent article No Evidence Religion is True?, I put on display the overwhelming amount of evidence and the arbitrary denial of it. Apologists do this constantly. In debates, articles, blogs, and video, evidence is given. Does each piece of evidence prove the truth of Christianity? No. Does the existence of evidence prove that faith is more than a “blind leap”? The answer to this is a resounding YES!
Premise #2 has been proven false. Obviously, the beginning of this article proves that premise #2 is false. Belief without evidence is not faith, and with both premises proven false, the syllogism fails (even though only one premise needed to be debunked). The atheist view of faith is an unfounded proposition.
Let’s try another syllogism.
Premise #1: There is evidence that Christianity is true.
Premise #2: Christians’ faith is based on this evidence.
Conclusion: Christian faith is reasonable trust in evidential truth.