Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is "Blind Faith" Biblical?

I want to bring up a couple verses that many Christians use to promote "blind faith" as the key concept in accepting Christianity.

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'" (Luke 18:16-17)

"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

If you read each of these verses, even quickly, you'll notice that Jesus makes no reference specifically to what it is about the children that the adults need to have to enter the kingdom of God.

(In reference to my post Why Apologetics) If the definition of pistis (translated "faith" in the New Testament) is actually a "belief based on facts" and not "a belief based on a 'feeling' or without facts", and if we insist on holding that Jesus was talking about a "blind faith" in these passages. we have a contradiction within the Bible to deal with.

Since this contradiction has been identified, we need to re-interpret the original words of Christ. I believe that we can't know with 100% certainty what attribute of children Jesus was talking about, but we can rule out "blind faith."

What I would offer, just from a surface reading, is that Christ was talking about children's enthusiasm for or 100% commitment to the things they are involved in or believe. Keep in mind that the behavior has nothing to do with the foundation of those beliefs.

As a Christian, there is nothing wrong with wanting a firm foundation for your beliefs. The same follows for non-Christians who are considering giving their lives to Christ. Let no one ever lead you to believe that "blind faith" is more "Christian" than asking the tough questions and further investigating. On the contrary, doing this allows us to move from theological "milk" to "solid food" (Heb 5:11-14)

Now, I want to clear up a couple possible objections to this that just popped into my head. I am NOT saying that facts are all that is needed to be a Christian. If that was the case, it would be the same as knowing of and about someone versus personally knowing that person. You can know of and about Jim Carrey, but that is not the same as personally knowing him.

I also am NOT saying that God demands ONLY a fact-based faith. If that were the case, then everyone would be excluded. No one can know everything exhaustively with 100% certainty. It is possible to know something truly without knowing it exhaustively*. Also not everything the Bible claims can be tested. But enough can be tested and verified to accept those things that can't be tested.

Many people have different needs when it comes to "what will it take for you to give your life to Christ?". Some people require lots of evidence before they will take that final "leap of faith" into God's arms, and others require very little. The end result is still the same. The means by which you got there make no difference at this point. God does not care the reasons for which you came to Him; He's just glad that you did.

God does not elevate one reason for coming to Him over another. Neither should His followers. As Christians we need to recognize that we will meet many challenges in our lives that will emotionally and intellectually test our trust in Christ. Some of these challenges will come from experiences. Having a faith with a solid foundation (not blind) that can be defended will help provide us with a deeper understanding of and commitment to Christ. We will also receive challenges from those we evangelize. Having a faith that is not blind, will help us to articulate our reasons for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15) and address arguments against the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor 10:5)

Check out these great articles on this topic:
The Problem of Blind Faith
Is Reason Really an Enemy of Faith?
The Nicene Council - The Blind Faith of Atheism


Dr. Fazale Rana from Reasons to Believe was directly challenged on this issue. Watch his response:



Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason offers this alternative to the word "faith" because of the secular world's insistence of adding "blind" to the front of it:






*(thanks to Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason for articulating this important distinction)

2 comments:

  1. Yeah I completely agree the best definition of Pistis is clearly trust based on proof.

    It's why God throughout the entire OT is always reminding the Israelites to remember what he had done for them/demonstrated..IE rescuing them from slavery out of Egypt and the like. God demonstrates to us that he is someone who can be trusted.

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  2. For the Jews it was the evidence of God's power and outstretched hand raised against Egypt to bring them out.

    For the first Christians it was the evidence of their own eyes, that God raised Jesus from the dead.

    For us it is their testimony to this, which of course leads us to apologetics and the defence of the Gospels as reliable sources of historical evidence.

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