Saturday, January 24, 2015

What is Biblical Faith?

So John Loftus claims that Christians don't get to define the word "faith" for atheists.  According to Loftus, atheists get to define the word however they want.  However it appears here that American Atheists get to dictate how atheism is defined.  The question that immediately follows from this is, "Why do atheists get to define atheism, but theists don't get to define what faith means?" Especially when one considers that the current popular definition of atheism[atheists simply "lack belief in a god"] contradicts the manner in which the word has been used historically!  That seems like a double-standard to me.  I don't suppose I should look forward to Loftus chastising his fellow atheists for insisting that the word atheism have only one meaning.  After all Mr. Loftus, "isn't how we define the word 'atheism'...part of the debate itself?"

Authors like Richard Dawkins have popularized the belief that "faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." [1]

Perhaps if Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Loftus were to actually investigate the matter they would discover that "the Greek word for "faith" in the NT is pistis.  As a noun, pistis is a word that was used as a technical rhetorical term for forensic proof." [2]   One example of this can be found in the NT in Acts 17:31:

"Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."

The Biblical concept of faith is that it is reasonable and rational. Biblical faith is and should be grounded in reality. It is open to discussion, objective inquiry, and critique.

For more on biblical faith, see J. Warner Wallace's excellent article "Is the Christian Faith Evidentially Reasonable?"

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Richard Dawkins, Lecture from 'The Nullifidian' (Dec 94),
2. J. P. Holding, What is Faith?

1 comment:

Brian Detzel said...

It seems as though as soon as we mention faith, the atheist assumes it is some kind of mystical blind faith which is not the case at all.