Blind faith. The phrase conjures up images of a leap in the dark and a trust in the unknown. At times this kind of faith is praised as a bold step forward by those who believe in themselves. At times this kind of faith is derided as a foolish hope in nothing.
Many people, including Christians, have described belief in the Bible as a blind faith. Those speaking in defense of Biblical faith may describe it as blind because it believes in something which cannot be seen. The more skeptical may be describing belief in God and the truth of the Bible as blind because it believes despite all evidence to the contrary. Some call Christian faith blind because it believes what it cannot see, and others call Christian faith blind because it believes and refuses to see.
Is the Christian faith blind to all opposing evidence? Is Biblical faith an irrational faith that refuses to admit it is wrong even when all the facts say otherwise?
Biblical faith starts with a presupposition: Some truths cannot be discovered by observation and deduction. Some truths can only be known by revelation. Specifically, truths about the origin of everything, the creation of mankind, the purpose of humanity, the destiny of individuals and the end of the universe are only known. The Creator has revealed truth to mankind through the Bible.
Christians are not the only ones who approach evidence with a presupposition. No one is a truly impartial observer with a mind completely open to all possibilities. Everyone examines truth claims based upon a set of fervently held assumptions. Those who reject supernatural revelation have the presupposition that reason, observation, logic and deduction can determine truth. Ultimate truths can be discovered through physical processes. Supernatural revelation is contrary to this presupposition and is ultimately rejected by the individual.
Biblical faith is a response to the revelation of God. The Christian faith accepts the Bible as true and acts according to its direction. Because faith in the Bible includes accepting the Bible’s claims about itself Christian’s also believe the Bible is accurate in everything it discusses. Thus, when the Bible teaches that God created everything, that Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish and was spit up alive three days later, or that Jesus died on a cross and was raised back to life, the Christian believes these things are true. Accepting the Bible’s histories is not automatically an irrational act.
Rational people believe things based upon historical claims. We believe America once fought a war against England to gain its independence from the British crown. None of us were there, but we believe the historical records about the event. We believe a great Carthaginian General led his troops and elephantine calvary over the Alps to attack the city of Rome. None of us were there but we believe the historical documents.
Many of the claims of the Bible are supported by the observations of history and science. In most cases those who reach different conclusions are not observing different evidence, but are interpreting the evidence differently. For example, the fossil record is real. Those who accept the Biblical claim of a relatively recent creation interpret the fossil record as evidence for the flood described in Genesis. Those who accept the Darwinian claim of gradual evolution over billions of years interpret the fossil record as evidence for the slow rise of complex organisms. The evidence is the same, the interpretation is different. A persons presuppositions shape how he views the evidence.
Christianity is not contrary to reason, nor is it blind to evidence. Certainly some Christians are irrational and willfully ignorant, but this is not Biblical faith. Christianity believes what it can see. Christianity sees God’s Word and believes God to be true. Belief in the truth of God’s Word is a reasonable faith. Biblical faith believes the testimony of God over the often wrong opinions of men.