People all the times be saying, “Faith means believing in things which ain’t so.” Or sometimes, “Faith means believing things without, or sometimes in the teeth of evidence.”
And from these quotes, we can learn that some people, despite having been born and raised in the Christian West, have NO IDEA what the Bible says or what the church has taught for 2,000 years.
I personally think 2,000 years would be enough time for everyone to find the time to see what the Bible says before they go off writing books about it, but apparently I am being presumptuous. Thus to help you, my friends, I will show you what the Bible says:
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
In case you need some help, let me point out a few things. First, this is Jesus talking about himself to other people. Jesus is saying to these other people- people he is standing in front of- “Believe in me.”
Now let’s consider the definitions of faith and belief given by the roach clowns above.
Their definitions are asking us to think that Jesus is standing before people and saying,
“I want you to think I am real, even though there is no evidence for me, and maybe even though there is evidence against my existence.”
If you’re capable of reaching this interpretation by reading the Bible, you’re either on some powerful drugs, or maybe you need to be. When you sober up a little you are going to realize that their definitions are a special kind of dumb which obviously did NOT come from actually opening the Bible and looking at the words inside. There is no way Jesus could be asking people to believe things without evidence, because the thing he is asking them to believe is HIMSELF. He is standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.
Go and give this a try. Go pick anyone you like and ask them to believe in your existence. I’ll bet you won’t find a lot of resistance, but then, neither will you find people willing to build a church in your name. That takes a bit more than a face to face.
Jesus suggests that there is more than his mere presence on which to build faith in him:
If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Jesus tells the people around him to not only believe that he is there, but that he is who he says he is. He does not insist they merely take his word for it, but he reminds them that he has shown his power by healing the crippled, the blind, the deaf, and raising the dead. The disciples and apostles follow Jesus in providing evidence for the Christian Faith. From the very first generation of Christians, we were told to consider the evidence and hear the eyewitness testimony. Consider Luke:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
-Luke 1 [emphasis mine]
When people say the Christian Faith is a blind faith without, or against evidence, they are merely telling us that they are unfamiliar with the Bible and the Christian Faith. It is obvious from the Bible that Christians are told to “Believe in” Jesus and “have faith in” Jesus, not because we are expected to blindly accept his existence, or even his message, but we are being told to put our trust in Jesus, as we put our trust in a doctor when we need surgery, or in another person when we choose to marry them.
Jesus clarifies the idea of “Believing in” him when he changes it up and says, “Follow me.”
And he [Jesus] said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus is not asking people to literally just walk in his footsteps (“I’m going to walk southwest for a bit. You guys line up behind me and also walk southwest.”), but asking them to submit to him, believing he would be wise and good and ultimately that he would save their souls.
Think about any good war movie. The guy in charge says, “Follow me, men!” or the men all say, “We’ll follow you anywhere, sir!” No one is implying that, if the guy in charge goes into the bathroom that his whole platoon is piling in there like a dozen circus clowns into a Smart Car. They mean, they trust him to lead them into battle and to make the best decisions, and they are offering their loyalty to him as their commander. This is the kind of faith Jesus is asking for- the kind that leads to loyalty and trust. He was not asking the people looking at him to merely accept that he was there and he is not asking us for that now. Consider what the Bible says about having that kind of faith:
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
-James 2: 19
God does not ask us to merely embrace true statements about Him, but to FOLLOW him, like a soldier follows his commander, or like a woman follows her husband into marriage. Christian faith means following Jesus into war against the gates of hell. The Christian faith is a lot like this:
We even have a lot of people singing about how great it is to follow our leader. Feel free to sing along, and remember #JesusLovesYou