Are you following your religion blindly? Do you divorced your logic and reason from your religious convictions? Certain people seem to do that and teach others the same : that there is a dichotomy between faith and reason. The fundamentalists and certain atheists are wrong about this. It is so outdated and such a caricature of faith that is frustrating to explain it. But because it comes up again and again, we need to address it, again and again. Tertullian famously asked “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Or what has reason or logic to do with faith or religion?
It is easy to pick apart random non-thinking masses who are religious and assume that the entire edifice of religion is mindless as well. We can pick out mindless atheists and assume all atheists are like them. That is not fair. It is a false generalization and a logical fallacy.
There are many schools of thought on the issue of faith and reason.
Not all embrace a dichotomy of one over the other as many atheists like Dr. Peter Boghossian, Philosophy Instructor at Portland State University (author of A Manual for Creating Atheists) believes. Boghossian writes,
“faith is pretending to know what you don’t know.”
Trent Horn is right in his critique. He wrote that Boghossian is mischaracterizing faith. “The use of the word “pretending” is inaccurate because it assumes the religious person knows deep down that his beliefs are not justified and he is engaging in a kind of malicious charade. This stands in contrast to the person who thinks he knows what he knows but is actually mistaken.”
What about false religious beliefs? Yes, these are possible! See here. Even cult members and the vast overwhelming majority of world religious religious would have “mistaken beliefs” instead of “pretending to know what he knows.” Most of these people would be sincerely wrong according to atheism, not pretending to know what they don’t. Boghossian builds he whole case on this straw man argument. And he begins to demolish this belief, which believers in God (especially theistic ones) do not even hold to!
GK Chesterton wrote that
“theology is simply that part of religion that requires brains.”
Let’s be clear here. Faith, as understood by the Biblical texts, is not unwarranted or unjustified or blind belief. That is a caricature of faith.
What is the difference between Reasonable Faith vs Blind Faith?
Blind faith is believing without evidence without reason and without any critique. It is foolish as buying a house without seeing it or know what the exact price or location will be. True, some believers have this kind of faith–but it is not a mature faith.
Biblical faith, even if you disagree with it, is a faith based on evidence. Its a belief in rather than a belief that. A great blog on this is here.
The Biblical word for faith is Pistis in Greek (used 228 times in the New Testament) Emunah in Hebrew (occurs 49 times in the Old Testament) is best understood as trust or confidence in someone.
Hebrews 11:1 :
“ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Greek words behind assurance (hypostasis) and conviction (elenchos) are multivalent.
Many scholars have attempted word studies of these many-faceted words, with varying results. I won’t attempt to here. But I can say that faith is a confidence (assurance) and conviction by which people act without seeing immediate results—it is a form of trust. Trust in a person. This trust or faith does not necessarily involve cognitive or demonstrable certainty. Rather, it causes Christians to act in ways that are inexplicable to those without that trust. [See Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, ed. Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997).]
If one is interested in pursuing the truth about this idea, rather than ideology and perpetual misunderstandings, consider the work of Reasons to Believe. They have this wonderful article on the issue showing that faith, the Biblical kind, does require reason.
What do you think? Is it ever reasonable to believe blindly?