By popular demand, I'm posing yesterday's question to you, the readers of this blog:
It takes a lot of faith to believe that!!!
It seems like I’ve been hearing this statement a lot lately, especially from religious people talking about atheism and/or evolution. Here are a few recent examples: here, here, here (you have to look around a bit for the relevant quote in a couple of them...)
The interesting thing isn’t what this says about the speaker’s opinion of atheism or evolution. The thing that’s striking is what it says about the speaker’s opinion of faith.
Have you heard people of faith say things like this? “Wow, you must have more faith than I do!” (thinking: because your belief is so much crazier than mine…) And if so, how do you feel about it?
To me, when someone thinks it’s absurd not to believe in God, and then says “It takes as much (or more) faith to believe God isn’t there than to believe He is,” it seems like the speaker is saying the following:
1. Your belief is no better than my belief because (like mine) yours is just faith.
2. Faith is believing in things you want to believe but are absurd and don’t follow from logic or observation. The more ridiculous the belief, the more it must be faith-based.
3. Faith is not at all trustworthy. It leads people to all sorts of wrong conclusions.
I would normally think that people of faith would see faith and/or spiritual witness as a completely different strategy for reaching a conclusion than tackling a question through analyzing objective evidence. I would guess that people who use both of these strategies (either together or to handle different types of questions) would still see them as distinct strategies, and perhaps see faith as the superior one.
On the other hand, maybe I just don’t understand how people of faith think…
Do you think faith is different from belief? Do you think that basing a conclusion on objective evidence or reasoning is different from basing a conclusion on spiritual witness? Am I right to think that that's the difference between faith and belief, or is it something else?