There is so much debate about this topic that I didn’t see the point in doing a long blog post on it because, let’s face it, most of what can be said has been said at some point by someone. That said, I wanted to write a little bit about it and, especially, my own position (which is the only aspect that I am more qualified to talk about than anyone else!). The central issue is, essentially, this: is religion rational?
Naturally, I take issue with people such as Richard Dawkins who argue that faith can never be rational, indeed, I’ve seen a Youtube clip in which this point is utterly shot down in a debate with John Lennox (I know it’s not the whole thing, but it made me smile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NzFr4lM-lc&feature=related). Faith, for me, is having the confidence to believe in something that cannot be proven. When I say something that cannot be proven, I do not mean something that is false, I mean something like, for example, the car that you’re driving will not suddenly lose all power on a motorway. This cannot be proven beyond any doubt, however, if you have understanding about the workings of the car and you know the car’s history, you can have reasonable faith in its reliability.
I apply this principle to my faith in God, or, more specifically, the Christian God. I accept that I cannot prove to someone beyond any doubt that the Christian God exists, however, I personally have enough evidence to give me reasonable faith that he does. I won’t go into the evidence in detail, again, other authors have done that adequately already, though I will mention a few points in brief, to help give you an idea of my ‘reasonable faith’. The most convincing evidence is, for me, the historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth and his resurrection, the lack of a convincing, evidence based explanation for the start of the universe and life on Earth that is better than the so called ‘God hypothesis’ and my own personal experiences, including things I’ve felt and things I’ve seen. Though anyone could argue that none of these prove the existence of the Christian God for whatever reason, they are enough for me to have reasonable faith in that God.
To conclude, anyone who says that faith has to be irrational needs to do some further reading. That sounds blunt, but there is no way to make that claim, indeed, such a claim is not backed up by science and is, therefore, faith without any evidence whatsoever. I have faith because I feel there is enough evidence for the Christian God to convince me that he is real – faith allows me to accept this as true. Just a final point, I’m not saying that whatever you have faith is true is true in an objective sense; I do believe in absolute, objective truth, but that’s a subject for another post.