I saw this graphic, and I just had to post a bit of a rant about it — so, bear with me please 🙂 It’s a rather silly graphic, really — though I find it instructive because it shows a misunderstanding I consistently encounter when it comes to what faith is.
As a theist, I have before been accused of imposing my faith upon reality, rather than letting observations of reality inform my worldview. Regardless of how you feel about the soundness of my worldview itself, this accusation (when it comes to my method, as well as those of many other theists) is patently false, for my faith is based on evidence rather than conjecture, whim or desire. Contrary to what some would have us believe, faith is not an assertion in spite of evidence, but rather a belief based upon incomplete evidence. An archeologistcould claim no better.
Does this mean that my reasoning is entirely infallible and airtight? No way, I have no delusions that my mind is the paramount of rational thought. Does it mean that I believe I have had the opportunity to gather and comprehend all the evidences available and thus make an impeccably well-informed decision? Not in the slightest — I can only do the best with what I have so far. What it does mean is that I believe the evidences that I have found support Christianity being true more than they do any competing theory. It is evidence that brought me to my faith, and it is a consistent increase in evidence that has kept me there.
You may disagree with my reasoning, you may reject my conclusions, you may poke holes in my logic and you may take issue with my analysis of the evidence — but make no mistake: Christianity, no matter how you slice it, is an evidence-based faith. If you think that Christians like me believe in God “just because,” then you misunderstand us completely, and you have settled for a straw-man Christianity. True, there are some a priori deductions included in my comprehensive faith for a Creator, but they can only get me as far as deism; my choice to follow Christianity in particular was a posteriori — it involved evidence.
So there, I said it — let the disagreements fly! Personally, I don’t understand why some people seem to feel the necessity to discredit Christianity to the point where it’s just an arbitrary decision to believe in something — there are plenty of reasonable tactics that one may employ if one wishes to build a decent case against Christianity, ones that I feel are way more relevant and thought-out than the flippant (and convenient) charge that faith has absolutely no basis in reality. What kind of people must they think Christians are, that we would center our entire lives off something as arbitrarily assumed as what we put on to wear in the morning? Are all Christians really that imbecilic and sophomoric in their assessment? More to the point, if that’s truly their opinion of the kind of person they’re dealing with in a theist, why would they waste their time in talking to us? If we’re really that daft, no evidence or reasoning they provide would make an ounce of difference.
So, when it comes to people who try to do this with Christianity (i.e. make it equivalent to wishful thinking or blatant superstition), it seems to me that their primary motivation in simply to discrediting others’ testimony and experience out of hand must be to protect themselves from having to do the hard work of actually analyzing the evidence we bring to the table; it’s the only explanation that makes sense to me — though if anyone else has any other ideas, please share them by all means! It sure it easier, though, to write someone off as delusional than it is to actually open up your mind to what they are saying, isn’t it? If one can stereotype theists as a flock of sheep, mindlessly following philosophies without an ounce of critical thought… well, it makes it easy to dismiss (perhaps even dehumanize) them, doesn’t it?
Personally, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t at least have a few valid reasons for believing what they do. And a big part of forming this blog was because I wanted to get to know what those reasons are. Everyone has a story, everyone has a point of view — and very few people, I’ve found, set out to ruin their lives by knowingly adopting arbitrary and unreasonable philosophies. To those of you who have graced this blog with your presence and have added to its legitimacy with your thoughts, I give sincere and profuse thanks — I’m honored to share this truth-journey with you!