Monday, 3 August 2009

Faith and evidence

Both the Tom Wright and Francis Collins stories illustrate an interesting phenomenon. People of faith seem to have remarkably little of it - they are always looking for evidence. You would have thought that they would have the faith the Bible exhorts them to. As Hebrews 11 says:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
And yet, those supposedly of faith are not prepared simply to say "I believe this, and I don't care what the evidence says." Instead, they see how science, by its careful marshalling of evidence, has gained great prestige in the eyes of the people as a way of explaining the world, and they want some of that prestige to rub off on them. So Creationists try to persuade us of the "evidence" of design, and theologians offer arguments to buttress the assertion of God's existence, and religious scientists talk of scientific discoveries making them feel that God's existence is more plausible.

If they were sufficiently secure in their faith they wouldn't need to bother with this. And if they were sufficiently certain, the example of their faith ought (by their own line of reasoning) to be sufficient to attract others to share in it. But they don't. Curious.

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