Blog Archives

Faith in Quotes V

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

— Khalil Gibran

Faith in Quotes IV

Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them.

— Mahalia Jackson

Faith in Quotes III

All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

— Martin Luther

Faith in Quotes II

A man of courage is also full of faith.

— Cicero

Faith in Quotes I

A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing.

— Victor Hugo

Atheist: Faith is NOT “Belief Without Evidence”

Finally, an atheist is as irritated as I am over the consistent use of faith to mean, as Dawkins uses it, “belief in the absence of (or in the teeth of) evidence.”  Or, as Mark Twain famously put it, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t true.”

Dr. Simon Kolstoe wrote to the editors of Philosophy Now accusing them of using the pejorative definition of faith forwarded by Dawkins et. al. to make fun of religious believers.  Dr. Kolstoe points out that even the wildest conspiracy theory rests at least on bad evidence.  We may not always agree to where the evidence points, he reasons, but let’s agree at least that there is some.

[Faith] is taking the leap from tentatively believing a theory, to using that theory as a working principle. It is not belief in the absence of logic or evidence; it is a belief based upon ‘good enough’ evidence. Such a definition seems far more useful than the impossible definition of ‘ a belief without evidence’, or the rhetorical use as ‘a belief I do not agree with’.

Read the entire letter

What is biblical faith?  Loyalty and trust based on past performance.

Questions Theists Can’t Answer: 2 Wise Observations

Belief is, by definition, the consideration of something unsupported by evidence. Because of this, it is inherently unfounded on truth.

Depends on what sort of belief is under consideration. Some beliefs are logical deductions based on other beliefs. These are founded on the truth of the beliefs that come before them. Others are grounding beliefs that have no evidence to support them one way or the other.

The problem with this statement is that it applies to atheists as well. Everyone, whether theist or atheist, starts somewhere in their structure of beliefs. Those presuppositions upon which a worldview is based are really the crux of the debate between atheism and theism. The theist starts with God, while the theist starts with nature.

I’ve also noticed that one atheist commented that one way they can tell that theists are full of “bullshit” is that we can answer every question. The scientist, it is reasoned, admits his limitation and is happy to say, “I don’t know” when he doesn’t know the answer. Theists, on the other hand, answer every question that the atheist proposes. Since we never seem to admit that we don’t know the answer, that means that we’re full of it.

So, basically, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.  Let me illustrate why.

The existence of a list such as this indicates that the atheist believes that we can’t answer every question proposed. That might be true. A few months after I started my main blog, I was forced to admit that I didn’t know the answer to the proposed dilemma:

So which is stronger, manfluence or Godfluence? Well, Hasic posits that man put the belief about God in the heads of children, and that the kids are responding to that belief, not to God. But this overlooks the fact that God determined the situation in which these kids were placed, not man. If they grow up Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim, He wanted that to happen for a reason known only to Him and that increases His glory somehow.

I don’t know why and there isn’t any way to find out (Job 37:5). (source, emphasis added)

There really are somethings that humans don’t know the answers to, and I’ve tried to be forthright about that. Now, usually when I do, the atheist in the argument immediately claims victory: “Ha! I found a question you don’t know the answer to! I win!”

Can’t have it both ways, guys. Either you want me to answer everything, or you want me to admit that I occasionally don’t have an answer. But you can’t claim victory when I have all of the answers, and also claim victory if I don’t have all the answers. We call that “stacking the deck.”

Questions Theists Can’t Answer, the Bible

Another question from that old Reddit thread that has questions designed to stump theists:

If the Bible is the word from God, and the word from God is perfect, why does it need interpretations? Why don’t you stone adulters or avoid wearing clothes made from mixed fibers as stated in the Bible? Why don’t you sacrifice animals to your God? 

This is really two questions. First, Why does the word of God need to be interpreted? And second, Why don’t Christians adhere to the Old Testament Laws? Read the rest of this entry

I So Meant to Post this on Sunday

This song, an old hymn, really spoke to me this past Sunday.  I meant to post it then, but I forgot.  Ooops.  So, here it is now:

Read the history behind this song carefully.  Horatio Spafford suffered immense loss, first with the Great Chicago Fire and then the shipwreck of all four of his daughters.  Despite this, he didn’t waver in his faith (as far as I know).  He certainly would have been justified had he done so.  He and his wife then became missionaries to Jerusalem.  It would have been at his lowest point, passing the watery graves of his daughters, that he wrote “It is Well with my Soul.”

Contrast that with this:

I received a letter a month or so later telling me that they could not recommend me for ordination at this time. They did however, outline a process I should work through in order to clear up the issues in my life and with my theology. They provided a long list of books I should read and asked that I meet with Doughboy on a monthly basis for further counseling.
So let me vent for a moment.

I’m living in a town 10 miles from the church I once pastored and they want me to attend the sister church of that congregation because my choice to attend a Baptist church shows that I have unresolved theological questions. I drink wine on rare occasions and smoke a good cigar on a quarterly basis so I am obviously morally bankrupt. I can go out and spend $19.95 online to get ordained but these wind bags have decided I don’t meet their criteria.

Have I told you that I hate Christians. . . ?

I don’t really think it would have mattered what I said to them because what small minds these folks possessed were already made up before I arrived.

This is one of the episodes that cemented my position as highly critical and pessimistic about the Church. (source)

So, petty in-fighting and stupid inter-denominational bickering causes this guy, going by Slow Break, to lose his faith and resign his pastorate (elsewhere in the article, he’s clear about not being a Christian anymore). On the other hand, Horatio Spafford loses all his material goods followed closely by 2/3 of his family, but remains firm.

Obviously, Spafford had it rougher.

Though, in the interest of full disclosure, Slow Break is having a difficult time making a living since resigning his pastorate.  He’s currently working in a crime-ridden part of town as a car salesman but can’t make any sales and so lacks two pennies to rub together.  He admits this is a low point for him.

Some may fail to see the difference between Spafford and Slow Break, but there is a huge difference. The fix Slow Break finds himself in is his choice. He voluntarily resigned, and so far as I gather from the article, could have taken another church but refused. Spafford’s circumstances were a matter of events beyond his control, seeming to conspire against him.

What happened to the ex-pastor was his own doing.  He chose to leave his post.  He chose not to accept an alternative one.  Spafford did not set the Chicago Fire. He did not pilot the opposing vessel which sank his daughters’ transport.  God, however, was always in control of those things.  Knowing this, Spafford muscled on and did not blame God for his troubles.  He remained faithful to God, and God mightily used him in missionary work.

I wonder if Slow Break blames God for all his trouble?

Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, part 6

Former Christian turned atheist DaGoodS (DGS) has compiled a list of eleven questions that he doesn’t think Christians can answer. I’ve decided to take him on, since I’m a sucker for questions that Christians supposedly can’t answer. Hopefully, DGS and I can learn something from each other.

Question #6, the most foolishly misguided question, is:

If God lied, how would you know?

For some reason, atheists treat faith as a foul word that rivals the f-bomb for words that shouldn’t be used in civil conversation. This is because they are seriously misguided as to what it means.

Here are some skeptical examples representative of how they typically define the concept of faith:

  • Voltaire: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”
  • Nietzsche: “Faith: not wanting to know what is true.”
  • Henry Ward Beecher: “Faith is spiritualized imagination.”
  • George Seaton: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
  • Even Ben Franklin had issues with faith! He said, “To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly;” and “The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.”
  • Mason Cooley deserves the last word here: “Ultimately, blind faith is the only kind.”

These quotes show us that the atheist believes faith is belief without evidence, or despite all the evidence. That’s not true! D. Elton Trueblood has the real definition of faith: “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” J.P. Holding develops the idea of faith as trust in this must-read article.

Once you realize that faith isn’t a blind step in the dark, taken for no rhyme or reason, then you can understand that the answer to this question is a matter of faith. Faith is trust placed in one who deserves that trust.

As Christians, we have faith in God, and we have faith in the Bible since the Bible is an accurate revelation of God’s character and mission. Indeed, they are one-in-the-same revelation. The Scriptures affirm that God cannot (will not?) lie (Num 23:19; Tts 1:2; Heb 6:18; 1 Jn 1:5).

Having faith in God means having faith that the inspiration of the Scriptures is accurate, and what is in the Scriptures is an accurate representation of the character of God. The Scriptures are clear that God doesn’t lie.

What this means is that there’s no need to consider how to know if God has lied or not. He’s not going to. It’s a moot point.