Evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker once described faith as “believing in something without good reasons to do so.” Sadly, most Christians today agree with him and advocate blind acceptance by saying, “You’ve just got to believe.” Is this shallow principle really the essence of Christianity?
Faith can be accurately defined as a trust or conviction in something or someone. It is based on reason, and the function of reason is to sit in judgment on the evidence as it comes to us and, with that evidence, draw up a conclusion. Faith was never meant to be some “pie-in-the-sky” dream or the outcome of our wildest blind imaginations. It was never meant to be a leap in the dark. Faith was never meant to be established on the shaky ground of feeling and opinion. It was to be founded on the solid rock that is truth and evidence.
To those who say they know God exists but have no way to defend that statement shows that they have not taken their faith seriously. It shows that they have faith simply because they want to, not necessarily because they were compelled to believe. They have perhaps chosen a kind of faith that suits them, using it as merely comforter and not guide.
You may say why this is bad, but there is a very good reason why this is dangerous. Faith that is not tested has a tendency to compromise with sin, think little of obedience, pray without conviction, study without reverence and humility, and act as if God is too loving to even care about character and conduct. If we don’t have the conviction that KNOWS that God exists, then we are uncertain about anything we do religiously. If we cannot be certain about God, we cannot be certain about the Bible. If we cannot be certain about the Bible, we cannot be certain about Jesus. If we cannot be certain about Jesus, we cannot be certain about life after death. This is the kind of faith that characterizes the majority of Christians today. It is the kind of faith that fails to represent God’s true nature.
Perhaps we feel that blind faith is the strongest. Maybe we feel that this is the kind of faith that God is looking for. “Blind faith” can be defined as accepting something as true without having seen it or the evidence of it at all. Did God expect us to believe in Him and His Word without reason?
“Now faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the CONVICTION of things NOT SEEN” (Hebrews 11:1, NASB, emphasis added). It is important to know that the phrase, “things hoped for,” does not mean anything we wish. Biblical hope is never based on the wishes of men, but on the promises of God (Hebrews 6:17-20; 7:18-19). This text is saying that we can KNOW the things we have not seen (God, the creation, the miracles of Jesus, etc.), and anxiously expect God’s promises to be carried out.
But how can we have a conviction of things we have not experienced? How can we be certain of a reality that we haven’t seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched? The same way a murderer is convicted by a jury – by the evidence left behind. Nature, history, the Bible, archaeology, un-biased science, the universe, our consciousness, all “testify” to the fact that God is very real. The question is, do we WANT it to be real? In other words, do we avoid the evidence or the answers because we find it easier to say we don’t believe in God rather than saying that we believe but we choose not to live for Him?
The evidence of God is not the issue. The issue lies in the heart of man. Whether we choose not to believe or choose not to take God’s Word seriously in our lives and rely on blind faith, we must know that ignorance is not a loophole into heaven (Romans 1:18-32). There is simply no excuse for not having real biblical faith founded on the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Let’s put ourselves to the test. Is our character and conduct in alignment with the Word of God? If it isn’t, then why not? Is it because we don’t feel it important to do so? If we don’t feel it important to take God’s Word seriously in our lives, where did we get this idea from? Is this from God, from others, or from our own opinion? Do we find ourselves picking apart the Word of God to suit our lifestyles, taking out the bad and controversial but leaving the good and widely accepted? Where did we get the idea that it was okay to do this?
We often don’t like evaluating ourselves because we’re afraid of what we might find. Too often, we find that our faith is not founded on the reality of who God actually is, but what we want Him to be. We find that the way we conduct ourselves is not based on the reality of God’s unchanging Truth, but on what we want truth to be. In other words, we have become our own Gods.
True faith in God is not hard to come by, yet it’s not easy to acquire if our worldly desires are not denied (Luke 9:23). It’s our own vulnerable heart that gets in the way of real faith (Proverbs 14:12). The good news is that God gave us the way out of uncertainty, unknowing, religious confusion, burden, and sin by the singularity of the Word which He spoke. His Word, the Bible, is the only truth that tells us about life eternal (John 17:3, 17). Faith in the things that He has said, His truth, is the only thing that truly sets us free (John 8:32).
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)