Faith and Reason
Increasingly in the media I have heard people who do not believe in God, oppose the whole idea of faith by saying it is opposed to logic and reason. Is this a fair assessment?My Oxford dictionary has 5 entries defining the meaning of "Faith."
Here are 2 of them :-
 "a firm belief" esp. without logical proof.
 spiritual apprehension of divine truth apart from proof.
There are other definitions, but I have noticed that these 2 are the ones which have been taken on board by those who oppose the whole idea of faith. The reasoning is straightforward; Science is logical, and faith is illogical. To think scientifically is reasonable, to think by faith is unreasonable, unscientific, medieval, fundamentalist, and superstitious. The definition of Christianity is "a firm belief, without logical proof." Ouch! Is that true?
Those definitions are of course valid in allsorts of situations, but are they adequate for the Christian faith?
There are no instances of Jesus asking people to have, what some would describe as, "blind faith." When Jesus asked people to believe in him, he pointed to logical reasons as to why they should. For instance in John chapter 14 verse 11 he says:-
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
Jesus apparently saw his miracles as "evidence." The apostle John takes the same view, because after recording a number of Jesus' miracles in his gospel, he says towards the end of his book in John chapter 20 verse 30:-
"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. "
Jesus did not ask people to believe in him "apart from proof". He said his miracles were evidence that what he taught was true. One sign that he would give would be indisputable evidence. He taught that he would come back from the dead, and his disciples who were sceptics before the event, testified that they had seen the resurrected Christ. Surely we can safely say that as far as the disciples were concerned they could not have asked for any more proof! It was their certainty of a proven fact, "the resurrection" that enabled them to proclaim "Christ is risen" even though for most of them it would ultimately cost them their lives.
This is not to say faith is not necessary. The bible insists it is "by faith we are saved", meaning we are to trust Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. A person cannot be persuaded to believe in Jesus through evidence alone, because he needs faith to believe. But that is not to say that faith has no evidence to rest on.
The disciples had their proof, but we who have never seen the risen Jesus still have the written testimony of those who were eye witnesses, and the evidence is still compelling. So compelling that the bible teaches it is not lack of evidence at all that prevents people from believing in Jesus, but a natural bias against God and a refusal to acknowledge God and therefore be answerable to him.
Some would have you believe you need to leave your brain behind if you are to become a Christian. A glance at some of the massive intellects of those who have believed in Christ is enough to dispel that idea.