I Don’t Need Reasons
I can remember a conversation I had with an older friend. Over the course of the conversation, the question of “why do you believe in Christianity” came up. The answer given by my friend was,
“I don’t need reasons, I have faith that it’s true.”
This answer wasn’t surprising, but it certainly was frustrating. This friend was trying to say that if one has faith, they don’t need reasons.
To believe something without good reason is what is often referred to as “blind faith.” Richard Dawkins summarized this view of faith when he said that “faith” is believing in spite of not having evidence. In other words, faith is believing something is true because you emotionally want it to be true, not because you have any reasons.
There is a certain “spiritual pull” to wanting our faith to be blind. Reasons are propositions that validate something in our own minds. Thus, believing without reasons feels as though we are trusting the Word of God without any “extra” external thinking on our own. Those claiming this view might say something like, “God says it, I believe it, that settles it. Nothing could persuade me otherwise and I can’t possibly be wrong.” On this view, having “reasons” might imply that “God’s Word” isn’t good enough.
Does this mean we should avoid having reasons for believing the Faith?
Should Our Faith Be Blind?
1 Peter 3:15 says “…(be) ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks your for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (CSB, emphasis added)
Most English versions use the word reason. Peter is clearly suggesting that we are to have reasons for the hope that is in us.
What does this do to faith, though? Does study and having reasons undermine faith?
Think about this for a moment: When one says, “I don’t need reasons, I have faith…” what does that really mean? Clearly, this person is attempting to say that they trust in the Word of God so strongly it alone is sufficient. The Word says it, so nothing else is cognitively needed. The question for this sufficiency is: why?
Imagine the following conversation:
Mormon: Why do you believe the Bible is the sole word of God?
Christian: Because the Bible says it is. Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God?
Mormon: Well, because the Book of Mormon says it’s the word of God! What does our Muslim friend think?
Muslim: Well, I believe the Qu’ran because it says it’s the word of God.
Christian: But I disagree with both you. Your systems don’t make sense, but mine does.
Mormon: Well of course you’d say that. But I would say the same thing back to you!
Muslim: Don’t forget, the Qu’ran is clearly self-attesting. It proves that it is the word of God by being beautiful and internally coherent.
Christian: Well, I think the Bible is clearly self-attesting while your books aren’t.
We could repeat this, ad nauseam.
What To Do With Reason?
Now, I am not saying that the Bible isn’t sufficient. Rather, I mean that we don’t believe everything we hear just because someone says it. Just because the Bible says its the true word of God does not make it so any more than the Book of Mormon claiming to be the true word makes that so. Case in point: Do you believe everything you hear on every news station? Probably not. Just because a news station said it doesn’t mean the news station was correct.
So, then, how do we determine who’s right? Why should we believe the Bible is actually the word of God and not the Book of Mormon or the Qu’ran? One might say, “Well, I’m not a Mormon or a Muslim because I don’t think their systems make sense. I think the Bible does.”
Great! That’s a reason for belief! What you’re saying here is that you think the Bible corresponds to reality while the other views don’t. If the Bible is the truth it will also demonstrate that truth.
But we can push the issue further: What reasons are unique such that the Bible explains the world better? If the Bible is true, it will always explain the world better than any other religious text. Any false system will require belief, somewhere in the logical chain, without good reasons because any false system cannot and will not completely correspond with reality. In other words, if the Christian story is true, it is the only system that will always have reasons and will never require a blind faith.
I am not saying that the Bible will directly answer any question I can bring to it. Nor am I saying that no one could possibly raise an argument against Christianity. However, as we examine the Scriptures, we will find that it provides the best explanations of the world. As we find more and more reasons to trust the Biblical story in what it says clearly we will also have more and more reason to trust the story in areas that aren’t as clear. As we consider our reasons for believing the simple truths in Scripture, we should (and will) find reasons for believing the complex ones as well.
 This is a paraphrase of the quote found here, Richard Dawkins’ Speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival (April 15, 1992); quoted in “EDITORIAL: A scientist’s case against God”, “The Independent”(London), (p. 17), April 20, 1992.
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist, by Frank Turek
Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh and Sean McDowell