This post is largely inspired by my reading of A Faith Brief: A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt by Patrick M Garry, although I am unlikely to use quotes from the book for this. I was reading through it and adding commentary a bit over a year ago, but I stopped bothering with the commentary about halfway through when the author revealed that he is a creationist. Apparently evolution is worthy of doubt, but the Bible is not.
Essentially, the book claims that faith is superior to doubt, that doubt blinds us and faith opens our eyes. Faith is better, as it is a gift from God.
The most immediate problem is that god has denied some of us that gift. Some of us are quite incapable of believing without a certain burden of proof being met, and god has certainly refused to offer that proof.
If you would argue, as does the author of that book, that faith is the default position, not doubt, I must ask: What is your justification for doubting Allah, Thor, Zeus, Horus, Marduk, Shiva, Zoroaster, Pangu, Buddha, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster? You must have a justification for doubting the existence and/or teachings of each and every deity and/or guru ever, if doubt is not the default position. You also have to have justification for doubting the prophets of the future who disagree with your faith, as well as the deity myths that will be thought up by future generations, if any. Otherwise, doubt IS the default position, and the burden of proof is on you to make the case for why we should not doubt.
This is why faith is not valuable: it does not reliably lead to conclusions. If your only reason for believing something is “I have faith”, what prevents you from accepting that eating poison ivy cures cancer based on faith? What right do you have to say anyone else is wrong when they say “but I have faith”, if you believe anything on faith? What if two people believe contradictory things, both based on faith? How can anyone possibly just between them?
By contrast, consider what happens when two people with conclusions based on evidence and reason disagree: they each present their evidence and reasons. Sometimes, they will even do their best to point out flaws in the reasoning of the other person. You can see which side has stronger evidence, which side has reasoning with fewer flaws. You can look for fallacies. You might even be able to repeat experiments they have performed.
Faith just has nothing in comparison. It is worthless as a method for discovering truth.
Indeed, it is worse than useless, because it encourages gullibility. If you don’t rely on empirical evidence but only on faith, you may end up wasting thousands of dollars on a cure for cancer and dying in greater pain sooner than if you had sought out the proven medical treatments.
2 thoughts on “Faith vs Doubt”
THE MAJORITY RULES OR DO THEY? BY STEVE FINNELL
There are five billion on the earth today who reject Jesus as the Messiah. Does that prove that Jesus is not the Christ? No, it does not. The majority does not rule.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
Yes, you must obey the gospel. How do men obey the gospel? 1. You must believe (John 3:16.) 2 You must repent (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19.) 3. You must confess (Romans 10:9.) 4. You must be immersed in water Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16.)
There are millions who deny that water baptism is essential in order to be saved. Does that view invalidate God’s word? No, it does not.
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord who has believed our report?” (NKJV)
Yes, the gospel has to be obeyed.
Millions believe that men are saved by grace alone or faith only. Does that render obeying the gospel null and void? No, it does not.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgement to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (NKJV)
Yes, the gospel has to be obeyed. The apostle Peter preached the gospel on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-41) Peter preached Jesus as a miracle worker, as being resurrected from the dead, and as both Lord and Christ. When the three thousand believe Peter, he told them to repent and be baptized so they could have their sins forgiven and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Most people reject the sermon that Peter preached. Does that mean that what the apostle Peter preached was wrong? No, it does not.
Acts 5:32 “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (NKJV)
God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey the gospel of Christ.
Matthew 7:13-14 :Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (NKJV)
Heaven will not be crowded.
The majority does not rule on earth or in heaven. God rules.
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“There are five billion on the earth today who reject Jesus as the Messiah. Does that prove that Jesus is not the Christ? No, it does not.”
You are absolutely correct. Luckily, I have nowhere made this argument.
Instead, my argument is that we have insufficient evidence that Christianity is true, starting with the fact that the Bible is not a trustworthy historical document. Therefore, quoting Bible verses at me accomplishes nothing; I do not recognize it as anything but a book of mythology.
Feel free to follow this blog for more.