Even the Faithful Have Given Up on Faith

Over at The Way of the Mister, Brian Dalton makes an important point:

I’ve often heard the argument that “I don’t have enough faith to believe in {evolution/the Big Bang/atheism}”, and maybe you have, too. Hell, it’s the title of a book by apologist heavyweights Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.

“I don’t have enough faith” is usually presented with a good dose of sneering at the fools who believe in such obvious fairy tales as evolution. But saying “I don’t have enough faith to believe in something so utterly ridiculous” implies that faith is something that you use to believe utterly ridiculous things, something you resort to when you don’t have evidence or reason.

I expect someone will say “Ah, but we’re talking about two different types of faith, here. One is a vulgar, colloquial form, closer to naïveté or even gullibility, than to the pure, sublime sort of faith that allows contact with God.” I don’t buy it, because it’s always presented as “I don’t have enough faith”, never “I don’t have the kind of faith that would allow me to believe in evolution”.

Consider, too, that religious institutions — high, low, and everything in between — love the idea of physical evidence for religious claims, especially things like miraculous cures of diseases, but also glossolalia (speaking in tongues), demonic possession, and other forms of supernatural intervention. No one ever seems to exalt those of Jesus’ disciples who, unlike Thomas, didn’t ask for evidence: “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

People pay faith a lot of lip service, but that’s all it is. In every area where we can see the results, we’ve figured out that evidence and reason are far more reliable pathways to knowledge than faith is. If you were considering lending me money, and I suggested that you take it on faith that I’ll repay the loan, rather than running a credit check, you’d laugh me out of the room.

Faith has failed. It failed a long time ago. It’s just that people don’t want to admit it, because it allows them to believe in gods and miracles.