Christians: Are you defining faith the same way Richard Dawkins does or the way Jesus does?

There’s this really annoying thing that I see many atheists do. Not to overgeneralize, but I’ve heard it far too often. And it’s that they will persist in defining faith as belief without evidence.

Here are some notable examples:

There’s also this thing annoying thing I see Christians do. And it’s that they’ll basically agree with the atheist.

The famous reformer Martin Luther is noted for saying:

That guy sure had a way with words. You’ll see similar sentiments echoed these days, even on church signs.

Blind faith or biblical faith?

Here’s the problem: This notion of faith just ain’t biblical. Faith isn’t believing without evidence. Faith is accepting the evidence you have as true and living accordingly.

Now you might say “Wait a second. Didn’t Jesus say “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed?” (John 20:29)

Yes, he did. But never read a bible verse in isolation to its context. Think about it for a second.

Thomas already had ample evidence. He saw water turned to wine. (John 2) He saw the lame healed. (John 5) He was there when Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. (John 6) He witnessed the blind see. (John 9) He was present when Lazarus come out of the grave. (John 11)

And he also already heard Jesus predict his own death and resurrection. (John 2:17–19) Or so John tells us.

Furthermore, he heard about the empty tomb from people he knew very well. His friends had already reported that they had seen the risen Jesus. Jesus wasn’t saying we’re blessed if we have blind faith. Jesus was chiding his stubborn refusal to believe the evidence he already had.

Let’s look at the next verse:

This is also the same gospel that Jesus refers to his miracles as proof of his divine claims.

Jesus didn’t demand blind faith

Jesus wasn’t asking anyone to just believe blindly. He didn’t say that faith was a leap in the dark.

He was saying have faith in the evidence he was providing through the miracles. He just expected Thomas to believe the testimony of others. Because there was a good reason to do so. There still is good evidence today. It’s what this site outside the blog is all about.

The same John who wrote the gospel penned a letter to a local church. He wrote:

Seen with our eyes. Looked at. Handled with our own two hands. Does this sound like “believing what you know ain’t so?” Can we please lay to rest this silly strawman?

The witnesses still speak today. We have the records that contain their testimony. God isn’t asking us to check our brains at the church door. Christianity teaches us to “prove all things, hold close to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Defining faith the way you wish is an easy way to take a cheap shot. It might score some rhetorical points. Christians have all too often accepted the definition their opponents have given. But faith is not a choice made in spite of the evidence but in response to it.

Don’t let someone knows nothing about faith tell you what faith is for you. Jesus and John didn’t define faith this way. Neither should anyone else.



I am the Reasonable Faith Chapter Director in Cedar Rapids and the writer for I’m interested in the intersection of Christianity and history.

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Erik Manning

I am the Reasonable Faith Chapter Director in Cedar Rapids and the writer for I’m interested in the intersection of Christianity and history.