Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Faith and sight

Atheists allege that (Christian) faith is belief without evidence. Faith is blind.

That's simplistic. To play along with the metaphor, humans are generally blind about the future but sighted about the past. In that sense, we can't see what lies ahead but we can see what lies behind. It's as if humans are backing into the future. Walking backwards.

So it's blind in one direction but sighted in another. And the two are related. We extrapolate from past to future. We extrapolate from the known to the unknown.

If, for instance, someone has a track record for honesty, then that's evidence that they are trustworthy. Although we don't have direct evidence for how they will behave in the future, we have indirect evidence based on their character up until now. Direct evidence for the reliability of the source constitutes indirect evidence for what the source says. So faith and sight are interrelated.

Faith isn't blind or sighted. Rather, faith begins with sight, then relies on that as precedent for what it cannot see. That's why the Bible places so much stock in remembering God's redemptive deeds. Ps 77 is a nice example.

That's not unique to Christian faith, but is a general principle by which timebound creatures like ourselves operate.

1 comment:

  1. How many atheists think that the Gospels were written by people who either were inventing Jesus or knew virtually nothing about the "real" Jesus? In my experience, an awful lot of them. So we may say that these people reject Christianity at least partly on the grounds that Jesus is essentially a fictional character. Is that a rational basis for belief? No blind faith required here!

    If you think about it, this kind of intellectual shallowness is really pretty comical.