The popular view defines faith as a personal, subjective, religious commitment which has nothing to do with the domain of truth. In the Biblical view, faith is only as valid as the object of that faith. If you believe something that isn’t true, the Bible does not commend you for it, but rather says that your faith is in vain and foolish.

D.A. Carson (my paraphrase)

Scott Smith

Posts Facebook

Scott Smith is a lifelong Christian and an active member of his church. He enjoys blogging and teaching on Christian theology and defense as well as engaging skeptics in debate regarding Christian truth claims. Scott is a co-founder of Etcetera as well as TC Apologetics, and in his spare time he runs his own 3D design company.
  • Ignostic

    It is often not just about rational vs. irrational thought (we see your loaded first sentence btw). It is also about the premise we begin with. Entirely rational arguments can be made from a flawed premise, leading us to flawed conclusions. There is also the issue of what we consider to be ‘proof’. I find most ‘believers’ require very a very low burden of proof when making their argument. Do the faithful alter their belief when presented with new evidence? Almost never. This is the primary difference between those who live on faith vs. those who live on reason.

    • Scott Smith

      You make some good points Ignostic, but you also generalize. Also, you pose an invalid dichotomy that is very common today: faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. Beliefs without basis are foolishness; facts without action are inconsequential. Wisdom is found in placing trust in those things which are true. This, I think, is a very reasonable faith.

      • Ignostic

        It was a short comment and yes, I generalized. However I did not state that faith and reason are mutually exclusive, merely that reason, when reasoning from a false premise, can ‘logically’ reach false conclusions. It’s not just about the quality of our reasoning but in the assumptions we base our arguments on.

        • Scott Smith

          I agree. That’s where this quote is coming from.  (e.g., “the object of  faith must be valid”, and “what you believe must be true”)

    • Anthonyweber

         Ignostic, I don’t think my first sentence was loaded.  If you read the article from which the quote was excerpted, I was actually being kind:  the examples I gave in my article were meant to show that some atheists are irrational; my conclusion was meant to clarify that I was not singling out atheist in contrast to Christians. I was merely focusing on them because they laid claim to reason with the Reason Rally.
         We are both in agreement then when people are presented proof that their arguments are wrong, they should alter their beliefs if they want to be intellectually honest (assuming the new proofs are true).  You say people of faith almost never do, but that’s not true. People of faith “lose their religion” a lot.  I don’t think your claim necessarily holds true.
         Here’s a question: Is there a reason I can’t make the exact same critique about non-religious people?  That perhaps they are the “faithful” who won’t alter their belief when presented with evidence?  I could just as easily add that non-religious people almost never alter their beliefs.  Does that automatically make them dishonest and close-minded?  
         Maybe Antony Flew was honest about the facts and his fellow atheists weren’t – who is to adjudicate? I think that is the deeper question.  

      • Ignostic

        Good points Anthony. I would tend to agree that many non-religious will not alter their beliefs either, even in light of new, compelling evidence. Is that human nature then? And I would not necessarily conclude they are dishonest or close-minded (well, perhaps a little close-minded ;-). It has been my experience that those who hold on to their faith do so with little to no regard to what the scientific (or legal) world holds as evidence. That’s fine and I do not judge. But to my view when one begins with a premise as ‘fact’ without question, all the reasoning in the world will not get them anywhere. This is simply where faith deviates from reason.

        Of course it is dangerous to lump all believers and non-believers into the same boxes together.

        • Anthonyweber

          Well said, Ignostic.   You said, “But to my view when one begins with a premise as ‘fact’ without question, all the reasoning in the world will not get them anywhere.”  Agreed.  I think every worldview has some foundational premise of this nature. Perhaps a future post here will explore that more :)