Chess, Coffee, and God: Conversations with an Atheist (Part 4, Faith)
Welcome back to Chess, Coffee, and God: Conversations with an Atheist. This is the fourth in a series of articles recounting conversations I had with an atheist friend of mine while playing chess and drinking coffee. While I have tried to remember the specifics of our conversations, the goal is not literal accuracy, but rather a general recounting of the topics we covered. I have fond memories of my friend and our conversations, so it is my hope that I paint him in a favorable light.
An issue that my friend and I actually shared was the use of the phrase ‘blind faith.’ His complaint was that many Christians blindly believed in God without any kind of evidence or reasoning. His argument, which actually has a great deal of merit, is that many Christians are only Christians because they were raised that way, and not as a result of any real, discernible reason.
The mistake my friend made was to equate ‘blind faith’ with all faith. Even as a Christian, I have never been a fan of ‘blind faith.’ It tends to imply that I should believe in God for no reason, which is not something I believe the Bible teaches. After all, God showed Himself to Abraham, God spoke with Moses, and Jesus walked the earth. Abraham, Moses, and the disciples certainly didn’t believe in God for no reason. Faith is not about blind, irrational belief. Faith is about trusting in God even when life doesn’t make sense.
Back to my friend. He believed that science has replaced scripture, that we should all have trust that science will eventually be able to explain everything. This is not as irrational as it first sounds, since science has certainly been able to explain a great deal of things that religion was used to explain in the past. In his mind, any time a Christian used faith to explain why he continued to believe in God despite evidence to the contrary, the Christian was exhibiting irrational ‘blind faith.’
What made faith make sense to my friend was to simply change the word to trust. Christians trust God, the same way my friend trusts science. Science, eventually, has been able to answer a whole host of questions about the universe. As a result, my friend has a trust in science based upon its track record of finding answers, even though sometimes science doesn't have the answer. He trusts (has faith in) science. Similarly, God has a track record for all of us. We trust (have faith in) God.
For me, God’s track record is both spiritual and physical. God has shown up in my marriage, in my family, in my personal life. And then there's scripture. Time and time again we find physical evidence for what is contained in scripture (such as Hezekiah’s tunnel, link below). But the final blow, for myself, is that I firmly believe in the resurrection (more resources below). As Paul said:
"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." — 1 Corinthians 5:14
I’m not trying to argue that my reasons for putting my trust and faith in God are the reasons everyone should. Instead, I’m trying to show that most Christians do not blindly believe in God, even when we use the phrase ‘blind faith.’ We believe in a God who has proven Himself far more times than we deserve, a God who sent his son to live and die and live again. Our faith need not be blind.
How has God shown up in your life? On what does your faith stand? Please comment below to share your thoughts.
For an introduction to this series, click here ---> Introduction
For more on Hezekiah’s Tunnel, click here ---> National Geographic
For a book on the resurrection of Jesus, click here ---> The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Robert Habermas