Tag: faith

6Mar

Judges 6: It all begins with One

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” -Judges 6:12-14

Just as truth always begins with a minority of one (something we would be well advised to remember in our world of consensus), so the faith of a nation begins with one. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ehud, Deborah and Barak, and now Gideon.
There is, of course, a bit of irony in the Angel of the Lord calling Gideon a “mighty man of valor.” We can just imagine the situation — walking through the foothills of Israel, we see a small puff of dust rising above the ground. To figure out what this dust might be, we walk towards it, finally discovering it is a man standing in a grape press, a pit of sorts, manually thrashing a pile of wheat and throwing it ever so slightly above the rim of the pit to allow the chaff to blow off. The man we discover is a small’ish man, and we know he’s from one of the smaller tribes in Israel.

Would we describe him as a “mighty man of valor?” Undoubtedly not.

Is the Angel looking forward to Gideon’s future glory? Perhaps, but there is something deeper going on here. Look carefully at the words, particularly the pronouns, used in the back and forth conversation between Gideon and the Angel.

“The Lord is with you…”
“If the Lord is with us…”
“Have I not sent you?”

What’s going on with these pronouns? in fact, if you really examine this exchange, the Angel doesn’t answer Gideon’s accusation against God. The unnamed prophet, a few weeks (months or years — the text doesn’t tell us) has already answered Gideon’s accusation. God has gone from “what is the problem,” mode to “let’s fix the problem,” mode, and Gideon didn’t get the memo. That he missed the memo is even more apparent from his moving the solution to someone else — “the other,” as we might say. Gideon sees himself taking a passive role in fixing the problem, while God takes the primary, active role. But the Angel is having none of it. “The Lord is with you…” “Go in this might of yours…” God is saying, in effect, “if you want to solve this problem, you need to start with yourself.”

Just as truth always begins with a minority of one (something we would be well advised to remember in our world of consensus), so the faith of a nation begins with one. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ehud, Deborah and Barak, and now Gideon. God is, perhaps, transferring the problem to Gideon in some sense — not without God’s might, God’s spirit, and God’s action, but God will act through Gideon in some way. Before this is over, God is going to pare Gideon’s army down to the smallest size possible, testing his faith and the faith of Israel — but the solution has to start with one man placing his faith in God and God’s word.

So when we see a situation that looks too big for us to “do anything about,” when it seems like the best thing to do is just thresh our wheat in a grape crushing pit, minimizing our exposure, we should remember Gideon. Certainly there have been many other people who have been crushed by the Midianites — men who are stronger than us, better placed politically and socially, better fighters, even (perhaps) more faithful to God. But none of this absolves us — you and I, really — from doing something about what we see. Of lifting our voices and saying, “I will not sit down, and I will not shut up.”

No, we don’t all have the signs of Gideon, but the words of the Angel should still ring in our ears: “God in this might of yours…” And, further: “But I will be with you…”

27Feb

Judges 6: Faith and Sight

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Judges 6:12-13

To truly “get” the background of these three chapters of Judges, we need to think through precisely what Israel is experiencing at this moment. It’s plain enough that Israel is being raided to the point of poverty — here is Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress, essentially a pit designed to contain the results of crushing grapes for their juice — to prevent the regularly raiding armies from taking it. Israel has been driven to build strongholds in mountain caves, places where they can flee for their very lives as the invading armies cover the land to eat every blade of grass, as it were.

In reaction, Israel believes that God has abandoned them. It’s not that they believe God unable to do anything about the evil surrounding them, it’s that they believe God is unwilling to. Here, in short outline, Israel has answered the problem of evil — God is omnipotent, but he’s not, in some sense, “good.” Gideon, given this, isn’t just asking why God has done this, Gideon is asking why he should have faith in God. “Look around you,” he’s saying, “God isn’t doing anything! Where are his promises? Where are his miracles? Where is his deliverance?”

The answer, from a worldly perspective, has already been given just a few verses before. Through the mouth of an unnamed prophet, God told Israel — “you are supposed to worship me alone, and you haven’t.” But this “tit-for-tat” misses a deeper problem here.

What, precisely, is the nature of faith?

Should Israel — and Gideon specifically — trust in the situation he sees as reality on the ground before him? Or should he trust in the promises and history of Israel with God? Where should Gideon place his faith? The answer is that when we are faced with apparently contradictory piece of information — God’s promises against what we think we see in the future, the past versus the present — we need to learn to trust in God’s Word over and against what we seem to perceive.

This might, in fact, appear to be an “anti-intellectual,” or even “anti-science” stance — or maybe ever “irrational.” The reality, however, is that we are all, always, faced with multiple pieces of contradictory information. We must always choose between what we will accept and won’t. We never, in fact, completely and totally trust our senses of our current experience over and against our past experience. When we’re in the middle of a car accident, we don’t believe that all driving is always dangerous — that would be as deranged as believing that accidents never happen.

God’s answer, though, shows that he doesn’t actually expect us to “just trust,” that faith is an unreasonable leap, or irrational, or even “anti-science.” We’ll start thinking through God’s answer next time.

27May

Judges 3: Faith Verses Action

There is one reaction to a Christian who owns guns that is almost universal: “What, don’t you trust in God?” The implication is that by owning a means of self defense, Christians who own guns are putting their trust in something other than God. A quick quote of Psalm 20:7-8 often follows:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.

That settles, it, right? We should all toss our guns, knives, and sticks out into the woods, and trust in God to defend us. Or maybe not. In judges 3:1-2, we encounter a somewhat strange verse:

Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. 2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.

As is to emphasize the point, the entire section here is a chiasm built around the singular point of teaching Israel war:

A (Judges 2:23) How it came to be that there were nations left with Joshua died
B (Judges 3:1, part 1) The nations God left in the land
C1 (Judges 3:1, part 2) The subjects of the test (those who had not known war)
C2 (Judges 3:2, part 1) The purpose of the test (to teach them war)
C3 (Judges 3:2, part 2) The subjects of the test
B’ (Judges 3:3) The nations God left in the land
A’ (Judges 3:4) Why God left these nations in the land

To teach them war? What point could there in leaving nations in the land to teach Israel war? This seems particularly strange in light of the statement of the Psalmist — that we shouldn’t trust in the weapons of war, but rather in God. How can we reconcile these two apparently contradictory lines of reasoning? The key lies in the first two chapters of Judges. It is in these first two chapters that the relationship between winning a war and faith are so clearly outlined. In the later chapters of Judges, this relationship is cemented ever more firmly: those who have faith win wars. Those who don’t, don’t.

But lest we misunderstand, this faith isn’t just some random faith. It’s not the faith that I’m fighting for what is right in a world gone wrong. It’s not the faith of someone convinced that might makes right, or that God will honor those who are on the right side of history. It’s nothing of the kind, actually. Instead, this is the faith of believing in, and acting on, a specific set of promised made by God. God promised the Israelites this land. If they would have faith, and fight in that faith, then God would fulfill that specific promise through victory on the battlefield.

Faith believes what God has said, and takes action on that belief. It just doesn’t believe, as those who would counsel throwing our guns into the nearest river. It doesn’t just take action, as those who would counsel that now is the time to rise up against injustice, or that any slight should be met with force. Faith takes the promises and principles of God, as they stand in the world, and acts on those promises and principles. While there is no promise of land for Americans, or Britons, or the French, or… There is the principle of human life, of human dignity, and of the freedom to stand in that faith for God against all those who would suppress truth.

God teaches those who follow him war, but it’s a war in faith, rather than a faith in war.

This is the crucial difference.

3Dec

David and the Sword of Goliath

Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. -1 Samuel 17:38-40

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.” -1 Samuel 21:8-9

Within the story of David, this particular pair of verses tell a story all of themselves. Here is David, unafraid, but unable to use the armor of Saul, confronting Goliath. In using the word “test,” in relation to Saul’s armor, David is saying he doesn’t know if he can trust the armor against Saul’s strength. He hasn’t examined the armor for weakness or defect, nor tried it in battle against a lesser foe. He prefers his own sling and smooth stones over the armor of a king.

And yet, when David is fleeing from that same king just a few years later, does he trust in his sling and stones? No, he takes the sword of Goliath. David, in other words, fights with the sword of a man too large and fearful for Saul, the king — and anyone else in Israel — to overcome.

Two things should jump out at us.

First, the symbolism to the Philistines at Gath, when he later comes there, cannot be missed. Here is David, the man who killed the champion of Gath, a champion no-one believed could be defeated in single combat, coming to the city where that champion lived. And with him he carries the sword of the defeated champion itself.

Second, David’s growth is such that he has moved from being unable to support Saul’s armor to being able to use the sword of a man who defeated Saul. He has leapfrogged Saul in his abilities and strength. But we shouldn’t limit this growth to the physical, for there is clearly a spiritual side to it as well. David has moved from the more primitive weapon to the more advanced one. He does not have less faith (no-one says to David, “Why do you need a sword? Don’t you trust God?”), but more. But even with more faith, he still realizes he needs the appropriate tools. This is not single combat, but general warfare; a sling is not the proper tool to have in hand.

18Jul

Devoted to Destruction

So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. -Joshua 6:20-21

How could God DO such a thing?

After all, doesn’t God love each and every person he created? After all, isn’t God in the business of mercy, rather than punishment?

Maybe the God of the Tanach just isn’t the same as the God of the New Testament, right? Would you look Jesus in the eye while he was cleansing the Temple and say, “you’re being hateful today?” Didn’t Jesus call the Pharisees children of the devil, and whited graves? Isn’t the God of the New Testament also the God who called down judgment on Jerusalem in 70AD, using the Roman Army to tear it down stone by stone? No, the modern penchant of seeing the God of the Tanach as some earlier, angrier, God, just won’t work.

Then what are we to do with a God who devotes entire cities to destruction? Down to the last lamb, the last infant, the last dog, the last cat? There are two incidents in this narrative that can explain, if we just take the time to read them.

First, there is Rahab. We often treat the story of Rahab as if it stands alone, as if it doesn’t relate to this destruction of Jericho at all. But clearly Rahab’s family is the one Canaanite family who made it out of Jericho alive.

Second, there is Achan. Again, there is no way to detach the story of Achan from the story of Jericho itself, even though we often associate it with the first battle at Ai. Jericho is where Achan took some of the devoted goods. God explicitly ties the fate of Achan to the fate of Jericho in Joshua 7:12.

Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction…

As Achan is identified with the Canaanites through his taking of devoted things from Jericho, he, himself is devoted to destruction. As Rahab identifies through faith with Israel, and the God of Israel, she becomes a part of Israel, and hence removes herself, and her family, from being devoted to destruction.

You see, the entire narrative of Jericho, and a few of the other Canaanite cities being devoted to destruction, turns on faith. Where you place your faith is what you identify with. Rahab placed her faith in Yahweh, and became a part of Israel.

Achan, on the other hand, looked at the future with uncertainty. He placed his faith in the things of this world, and was devoted to destruction with the things of this world.

Before we accuse God of not doing right, of committing genocide, or some other atrocity, we need to remember that God was merciful in providing a way, through faith, that all the people of Jericho could have been saved. If they would have repented, they would have been saved, like Rahab. Because they would not, they were destroyed, like Achan.

God has, in fact, devoted this entire world to destruction. Where is your faith?

30Mar

On Faith

faith (feɪθ) n 1 strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence -Collins English Disctionary (8th edition, 2006)

This definition of faith undergirds much of our modern worldview —faith is about what you cannot prove, science is about what you can prove. If a scientist says something, it’s a fact. If the Scriptures say something, well… So long as it doesn’t go against what “science says,” it’s probably okay to believe it on faith.

But is this really what faith is? One of the most striking stories of faith in the Scriptures is the Akedah, the binding of Isaac.

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” -Genesis 22:1-2

At first glance, it certainly seems like Abraham is acting on this modern definition of faith. He is doing something for which there is no logical explanation for a being (God) for which he has no proof. But this is only at first glance.

Take a second look.

Is it really true that Abraham has no proof of God’s existence at this point in his life? Hasn’t God spoken to Abraham many times before now? What was Abraham to make of sitting down to dinner with three angels at the Oaks of Mamre?

And what of God’s character? Didn’t God promise Abraham blessings if he would leave his land and his people —and didn’t those blessings come about? Didn’t God promise Abraham a son at a specific time —and wasn’t that son born?

So Abraham knows quite a lot about God by the time God appears and tells him to sacrifice his son on a distant mountain. He knows God is real, and he knows God keeps his promises. Further, Abraham knows that this son —his only son, the son he loves— is to become a nation that will possess the land in which he now lives.

So what can Abraham think? That God does not exist? That God will not keep his promise? Clearly the answer to both questions is no.

Abraham’s faith is not irrational. It is not a strong belief in something that cannot be proven. God’s existence and character have been proven in Abraham’s life. And this tells us something about faith in general. It tells us that the dictionary is wrong, for instance.

Faith is all about believing in someone else, and in their promises. If my wife promises to pick me up after church, I know she’s going to pick me up (unless something out of her control intercedes). This is faith based on a relationship, and a relationship based on past experience. Faith in God works the same way.

Faith is not belief in something for which you have no proof. Faith is not irrational, or unreasonable.

Faith is as real as any scientific experiment —in fact, faith is the foundation of our world, our relationships, and science itself.

29Feb

What are You Learning?

As astounding as it might seem, you can actually learn helplessness. In reality, you can go farther than simply learning helplessness, and end up supporting the cause of those who have created your helpless situation —the Stockholm Syndrome.

Putting this into the context of the political world, we can suddenly see why it’s so important for the state to encourage people to take care of themselves. Giving a man a fish not only fails to teach him to fish, it also teaches him he’s so hopeless at fishing, there’s no point in trying to teach him.

This is what the constant drumbeat of the welfare state tells people. You can’t make it on your own, you can’t survive without the government watching out for you, you can’t ever work your way out of the effect of racism, you can’t ever hope to rise above that economic injustice, you’ll never make it into college on your own —the drumbeat is incessant.

The welfare state doesn’t give people fish, it teaches them they’re not worth teaching how to fish.

But there’s another area where Christians should be wary of this sort of thinking —your spiritual life.

“I can’t ever hope to know enough to really be able to answer an atheist.”
“I can’t ever learn enough about the Scriptures to really understand them on my own.”
“I can’t ever make an impact on the world for Christ.”

These are all examples of learned helplessness.

And they’re all wrong. God doesn’t want helpless little babies strung on his apron strings. He wants men and women who are confident and strong in the Lord. Far too often, we aim too low in the Christian life —and it shows in the state of the modern Church.

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

While the world attacks learned helplessness through confidence drills, God attacks it through faith drills.

Stop learning helplessness, and start learning to trust enough to step out and make a difference.

6Jan

Defining Faith

“I have faith in God.” But what does that mean, exactly? Our modern definition of faith runs something like this:

To have faith is to believe without warrant in things that are not provable and against reason. It is faith to believe in unseen friends, unseen “gods,” and unprovable assertions.

But is this really what faith means? Is believing that little green men come from Mars, no matter what the evidence states, or that the Moon is made of green cheese, really “faith?” Is faith, by definition, irrational?

Let’s turn the question in another direction. Suppose you sit in a chair twice a day for a whole year. The new year passes, and you sit in the chair again. What is it that makes you assume you can sit in that specific chair without it breaking one more time? To broaden the question, what is it that makes you assume you can sit in any chair without fear of the chair breaking and dumping you on the floor?

“Well, if I have sat in a chair before with success, I have learned that chairs will hold my weight, and that I can safely sit in chairs in the future.”

But this assumes, doesn’t it, that nothing has changed since you last sat in a chair? That the universe is based on some sort of “constants,” things that you can count on not to change? That the universe is, in some sense, uniform? Now the crucial question is: can you prove it?

There is experience, but experience only proves what has happened in the past, not what will happen in the future. In fact, there is no logical way to prove the universe is uniform in just this way. What we must fall back on is a trust based on experience —or more properly, faith.

In fact, this is just the definition of faith the Scriptures use; God doesn’t expect us to trust him without proof. He has provided proof that can be reasonably accepted (or reasonably denied, but that is the nature of almost all proofs in the real world). What God asks us to do is to trust the experience of the men who wrote the Scriptures, the experience of those we know who follow God, and our own experience against our current circumstances.

Examine every Biblical “hero,” and you will find this same pattern. Abraham didn’t trust God blindly, he had God’s verbal promise. Joseph didn’t trust God blindly when he was in prison for something he didn’t do; he had Abraham’s life to look back to, as well as Isaac’s and Jacob’s. Joseph, Mary’s husband, didn’t trust blindly, he had the word of an angel.

And we don’t trust blindly. As Peter says, we have the more sure word of the Scriptures —more sure than experiences, dreams, or visions.

Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith. -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

16Dec

Deconstructing Atheism

For anyone who’s been following the comments here, I’ve been having a conversation with an (apparent) atheist for some time. The comments have gone long, so I decided to return the last comment to an actual post. It will be instructive to deconstruct these arguments. So far, I’ve argued that science is held by faith just as much as any belief in God. It’s quite curious that atheist insist that science is evidence based, while belief in God is not —I’ve seen this claim many, many times. When you challenge it, you generally get a response that’s something like this:

…the “God” as displayed in Scripture as an ordinary man, immanent object of our reality. All other reference to “transcendent God” made in the same document are meaningless, because such God could not be demonstrated, only “tagged” with a name in the series of tautologies.

In other words:

God doesn’t exist. You can’t define what doesn’t exist. To prove something exist, you must define it. Since God can’t be defined, you can’t prove he exists.

Or to turn it around another way:

God is only defined in the Scriptures, so you cannot rely on the Scriptures to prove God exists.

If the idea of “god,” only comes from “holy books,” why were the “holy books” written in the first place? The book clearly couldn’t exist before the idea, so the writer’s chain of reasoning falls apart. To turn the writer’s logic on its ear, “God has been defined, thus God must exist.” The writer’s next argument is just as ineffective:

There is no experiment to validate God’s existence, simply because there is no definition of God, like it has been mentioned. In fact, EVERY experiment could be described by using the notion of “God”, which makes it in-falsifiable, or effectively puts it beyond the rational discussion.

There is no experiment you can perform that proves the scientific method “works,” so science itself, cannot be falsified. Since science cannot be falsified, science is not scientific. Any deconstruction games you play on terms you don’t like can be played on the terms you do like.

Returning to the real world, where people actually eat, and breath, and pray, there are a group of documents that claim to define God. Each of these documents is widely available throughout the world in multiple languages. One such book is the Bible, or what I would call the Scriptures, or the Word of God.

This book sets out a fairly detailed description of who God is, a definition that can be tested and falsified. The problem isn’t with the test, the problem is that humans are subjective creatures —humans are, in fact, not honest brokers of the test itself.

The point of having a large number of observers in any given scientific test is to overcome observation bias. If those who want the idea to be true and those who do not want the idea to be true both observe the same results from an experiment, then we can “rely on” the results of the experiment. But this game only works when the results of the experiment can be viewed dispassionately; when the most that is at stake is a reputation, or perhaps less —as we’ve discovered with Climategate, even a reputation is enough to make many people commit observational dishonesty, even to the point of altering the “facts.”

Now imagine that the experiment involves something about which no person alive can be dispassionate. In this experiment, every observer is going to commit observation bias. The problem is not in the experiment, it’s in the observer. This is the situation we find ourselves in when evaluating the truth of a specific set of Scriptures as to the nature of God.

But if you open your mind to it, there is a set of tests you can use to determine the truthfulness of the Scriptures. We can examine the Scriptures against the rules of logic to see if there are any unexplainable contradictions. We can compare the actual state of the world against what we would expect if the Scriptures are true. There is a definition of God —in fact there is a general definition, etched in the human mind, and a set of more specific definitions. These definitions are prepositional statements, and they can be tested.

It is my contention that when compared to all of these things, leaving out the silliness of “desconstruction,” we will find the Tanakh and the New Testament, combined, best describe the realities of history, testimonies, the state of the world, and our own personal state. It’s really that simple.

18Nov

Magic Verses Faith

In a recent discussion with an apparent atheist, I was accused of believing in magic.

Your beliefs ARE magic-based … this is the nature of religion.

.

I know this is a common perception, because it’s not the first time I’ve run into this idea that faith is just belief in magic. But is it a real assessment of the situation, or is it an accusation without substance? There are really two accusations mixed into this one statement.

The first is: I live my life based on reason, you live your life based on beliefs which oppose reason.

In reality, everyone lives their life based on faith. Faith is the simple belief that an action you take will result in a particular result. Those who believe in evolution, for instance, often haven’t examined all the evidence for themselves; they are taking the word of a scientist or journalist, or a friend. In other words, pure reason would tell you that you can’t believe anything anyone tells you, for any reason, unless you can prove it yourself.

So even the most “reasonable” person lives their life based on faith —faith in other people, faith that the future will be like the past, faith that our eyes and ears actually work correctly, faith that we can expect the same result that others get when we do a certain thing.

The second is: Faith is the opposite of reason.

But is this really reasonable? Why do I trust a scientist who says that evolution is the way in which humans came to be? Is because of their degrees? Well, their degree is just a public acknowledgment of trust by the collection of professors and administrators of the college that issues the degree. And why should I trust them? Well… Because other people who have graduated from this college also seem to be smart and well informed.

In other words, the reason I trust the scientist is because I believe the past record of the college in training people how to think and in academic integrity carry forward to the pronouncements of this scientist. In other words, I believe this scientist because I believe past experience will be repeated in the future —so that goes back to the first idea, that we all live by faith in some way or another.

Faith is not the opposite of reason, it is parallel with reason. Without faith reason is reduced to nothing more than radical doubt —trusting nothing until you see it with your own eyes, and then refusing to trust even your eyes. Without reason faith is reduced to a form of magic. Without reason, you cannot live —but without faith, you also cannot live. to pit faith against reason is to pit the house against itself.

Faith is reasonable; reason is faithful.

Of course, the true atheist doesn’t want to hear this; they will claim this is a “redefinition of faith,” but in reality “faith is magic” is the original redefinition of faith. I don’t believe in God without reason.

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