Atheists Change the Meaning of Faith.
By Jon Kauffman
Several atheists have tried to convince me that atheism is true. Most atheists are not evangelical atheists and most of my atheist friends do not try to convert me. I have been asked by several atheists why I am not an atheist. I am answering that question.
I am thankful for outspoken atheists. As a result, many Christians have gone to great lengths to explore the validity of the Christian faith. Biblical scholars have used textual criticism to demonstrate the Bible to be extremely reliable compared to early manuscripts of other manuscripts. Many apologists have developed the historical evidence available to demonstrate evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Christian scientists have written many books demonstrating that science and the Christianity are compatible.
Definition of Faith
How do atheists define faith: Peter Singer says, “And what is faith? It is just believing in something for which you have neither rational arguments nor good evidence.”
How does the dictionary define faith: 2. a. 1: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. 2: Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion. Meriam Webster.
Also: The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition or statement for which there is not complete evidence; belief in general. The Century Dictionary.
How I define faith: I agree that faith is a belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Belief in God is based on the evidence. Faith comes when evidence ends and gives us confidence to reasonably believe what is logically based on that evidence. But faith is more. Whenever we believe something that is a logical extension to the evidence, we are practicing faith. Almost everything we believe is based faith
Example: A paleontologist may find a jaw bone and tell us many things about that animal. If we follow the evidence, more bones found later may prove some of his theories incorrect and change our view of that jaw bone. We can have faith that the conclusions reached by the paleontologist correspond to truth about that animal.
If we follow the evidence, we can have faith that Jesus rose from the dead. The evidence is strong enough that we can easily believe that beyond a reasonable doubt the resurrection occurred. Millions have believed. Based on the fact of the resurrection, we can by faith follow the teachings of Jesus in the way we live. Because we are human our knowledge of the truth about God is very limited.
Everyone has faith. Each of us has a worldview. Our worldview is what we think is really true about our world, ourselves and about God. That worldview is determined by our experiences, the culture in which we live, the evidence we see in theology, philosophy, and science. As our knowledge increases our world view may change.
We are very small human beings, on a tiny planet earth, on a small galaxy that is one of billions. From a scientific perspective we know almost nothing. From a spiritual perspective we know almost nothing. Almost everything we think we know is based on faith.
Atheists pretend the evidence does not exist.
Atheists pretend that the New Testament is not reliable. “How Badly Was the New Testament Corrupted?”, Dan Wallace at SDSU.
They pretend evidence of Israel in Egypt at the time of the Exodus does not exist.
They pretend evidence for reality beyond the material world does not exist.
They pretend scientists who disagree with them are liars.
They pretend evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus does not exist.
They claim that changes Christian’s experience are only psychological. They do not understand. We cannot understand until we have experienced it.
By blind faith atheists believe the blind watchmaker can create the universe and life and fill in the gaps.
When atheists begin looking for truth, they find God.
We know that atheists such as C. S. Lewis, Alistar McGrath, Jane Fonda, Lee Strobel, David Wood and Michael Guillen and many other atheists became Christian due to the evidence.
The historical evidence strongly suggests that Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus became Christian before their deaths.
Anthony Flew became a deist.
When we become Christian, the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Many people experience drastic changes in their lives and in their behaviors. As we develop a relationship with Jesus our personal experience provides more evidence.
Great archeological finds.
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
In this world of unbelief, the mountains and hills are breaking forth into singing and giving us evidence. The boyhood home of Jesus has been found in Nazareth. The site of Sodom has been found. A great deal of evidence for Israel in Egypt dated from 1850 BC to 1450 BC has been found. More evidence demonstrating the reliability of the Bible as a historically accurate document is being found by archeologists every year.
The New Testament often refers to the Evidence.
Writers of the New Testament thought we can only believe if we have evidence. They often referred to the evidence.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete. 1 John 1: 1-4.
Only by the evidence can we figure this out.
“There is evidence that God exists and that the Christian faith is true.” John Lennox
If we want to believe in Jesus and follow Jesus, we can see by the evidence that we can believe and follow Jesus.
If we do not want to believe and follow Jesus, we can easily come up with one more excuse explaining why we should not believe.
If we pretend evidence does not exist and do not include that evidence in forming our world view, how is it possible to have a faith or a world view that corresponds to reality?
There is evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. If we pretend that evidence does not exist, then we cannot even evaluate the validity of that evidence.
And why do atheists pretend the evidence does not exist?
German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg suggested a reason to Ron Sider, ‘The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: first, it is a very unusual event; and second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live.’”
If Jesus is not risen from the dead than our faith is useless.
8 “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:6-11
Referenced in this post:
“Is Atheism Dead?” by Eric Metaxas.
“Believing is Seeing: A physicist Explains how Science Shattered his Atheism and Revealed the Necessity of Faith” by Michael Guillen, PhD.
“Against the Tide, Finding God in an Age of Science” John Lennox, Kevin Sorbo.
“The Universe Next Door, A Worldview Catalog” by James W. Sire.
“How Badly Was the New Testament Corrupted?”, Dan Wallace at SDSU.
Copyright © 2022 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.
6 thoughts on “Why I am Not an Atheist, Part 3”
clubschadenfruede said: “Well, since there is no evidence for the resurrection, all you have is faith that it happened,.”
The evidence is real. After reviewing the evidence I came to the conclusion based on the historical evidence that the resurrection can be considered fact beyond a reasonable doubt. My conclusion is faith based and my faith is evidence based. Hitchens, Dawkins and Peter Atkins have all said the evidence does not exist. I have not heard them give reason for claiming this evidence does not exist.
Pretend that I think the earth is flat. You could say you have evidence to show that the earth is spherical. Then like Dawkins or Atkins I could say that the evidence does not exist. Would my pretending the evidence that the world is spherical does not exist make that evidence go away? Doesn’t a scientist or a historian need to follow the evidence where it leads to find the truth?
Your conclusion is that evidence for the resurrection does not exist. How did you reach that conclusion?
clubschedenfruede said, “what would change my mind about atheism? Evidence for these silly gods. How about a chatty burning bush? When I was a chrisitan I prayed for help not losing my faith and gee, your god was no where to be found. So much for its promises per the bible.”
Are you saying if you saw miracles similar to what Moses claims he saw, you would believe. But you have not seen such miracles?
You felt God could not be found even when you searched diligently? Was there more?
What specifically caused you to lose your faith?
Most likely neither of us can convince the other, but I find our conversation very interesting.
clubschadenfruede: “trust requires evidence. faith, as by a theist, does not. I can question my trust.
Can you question your faith?”
I have questioned my faith. When I was young I believed in Jesus because my parents told me about Jesus and I trusted them and for me their belief was all the evidence I needed.
When I began to look at the evidence for myself I began to doubt my faith. When I began to doubt I began planning to write a book about why I could not believe the resurrection occurred. The book did not happen. The evidence convinced me otherwise.
Today I believe because I have read about the evidence for the resurrection. I find the evidence for the resurrection very compelling. I understand how that evidence points to the resurrection and I am convinced that I can trust many of the authors I have read. I can trust the evidence. I think the evidence supports believing in the resurrection beyond a reasonable doubt. That faith has changed my life.
I have talked to many people whose lives have been changed by Jesus. I trust many of these people to be telling the truth.
I agree with you that believing the evidence is about trust.
Perhaps you have read about the evidence for the resurrection and have not found it convincing. Why do you not find the evidence about the resurrection convincing?
Faith in scientific discoveries is often similar. We can see the evidence that scientists are showing us and believe there is a high probability that theory represents reality. We trust the scientists and have faith in their findings in their investigations.
We know quantum mechanics has a problem because it appears a particle or a planet can be in two places at once because of the theory. The theory works in the real world in many areas, so we can have faith in it to describe many things about our world. I think we need more evidence before we can believe that 2 particles can be in the same place at the same time. My faith in quantum mechanics is limited.
Why do you think faith in God does not require evidence?
trust requires evidence. faith, as by a theist, does not. I can question my trust.
Can you question your faith?
clubshadenfreude said: “trust requires evidence. faith, as by a theist, does not. I can question my trust.
Can you question your faith?”
I think you comment and question lead into this question: What would cause me to loose my faith? I think two things.
1. If someone would come up with a better explanation of the evidence for the resurrection and demonstrate that the resurrection did not occur. If I could be convinced the resurrection did not occur I would loose my faith immediately.
2. If something totally catastrophic occurred and a persecution of me for my faith or I felt totally abandoned by God, would I be able to remain firm in my faith to the end? I pray that if anything like this happens, I do remain faithful to the end. I find the evidence for Christianity so convincing that I hope my knowledge of the evidence and God’s ability to show himself to me will help me keep my faith.
Is there anything that you think might cause you to change your mind about atheism?
I have no faith as a theist defines it. So your question is moot.
Well, since there is no evidence for the resurrection, all you have is faith that it happened,.
Yep, you might be faithful to the end, lots of stupid Muslims are. That doesn’t show your religion to be true.
what would change my mind about atheism? Evidence for these silly gods. How about a chatty burning bush? When I was a chrisitan I prayed for help not losing my faith and gee, your god was no where to be found. So much for its promises per the bible.
Unsurprisingly not one theist has any at all. They all use the same poor “logic” to lcaim their god must exist, and can’t show any one noticing those events their gods supposedly caused.
as I have said before, no exodus for any of the essential events is enough reason to doubt the claims that there is a god that supposed caused that which did not happen.
I know you’ll fuss that I simply don’t accept your nonsens as evidence. That is not the case. You have nothing but claims and claims cannot be used as evidence for themselves. It is nothing new that no one noticed your jesus wandering around with a literal roman legion’s worth of guys following him, that no one noticed the exodus, that no one noticed a certain day where the day sky got dark, there was a major earthquake and dead Jews wandered around Roman-occupied Jerusalem around a Passover. Funny how no one though to tell Caiaphas of that, eh?