Scrupuli

blunt essays with sharp points

Faith Is Not A Renunciation Of Evidence

by Scrvpvlvs
Dec 2, 2010 5:43 PM–It is not right to say that Christians make absence of evidence into a virtue and call it faith.

Courage, not irrationality, is the virtue of faith. The Bible defines faith as staying firm in your hope despite your fears, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy. And the Bible goes on to offer evidence that God exists and is trustworthy. So faith is defended by the Bible on evidence. Far from renouncing evidence, over and over, the Bible points to evidence as the basis for believing things.

Consequently, most Christians are quick to point to all kinds of evidence underlying their faith. A small minority renounce evidence, but they are not doing it right.

When Christians resist challenges to their beliefs, it can seem like they are renouncing evidence. But what is really operating is confirmation bias. That is not a religious virtue. Persisting in discredited beliefs is a human tendency at work in everybody. (It is one reason why the scientific method is so important: it guards us against our normal human tendency to fool ourselves.)

When you put the inconvenient facts in front of a person having false beliefs, you cannot expect them to quickly and easily embrace them. But in time and with repetition from various sources it often happens that they do eventually. This point of view helps me to be patient, and to be hopeful that I am making a difference even when it is not immediately apparent.

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