How can smart educated people faith believe?

Please help; I am having a difficult time with this question. Thoughtful answers only please…

“Faith” can be defined as a belief in something for which there is no evidence. So my question is: how can a smart, educated, thoughtful person believe in something for which there is no evidence? Now I know what most theists will say. They will say that there is plenty of evidence but that I just don’t recognize this evidence as legitimate.

I have asked a similar question a few days ago. Here is a summary of the “legitimate evidence” for the existence of God that was provided by people who answered the question:

A. “The Bible is substantiated by archaeological proof.” – Well, that’s only partially true. Archeology proves that a Great Temple once stood in Jerusalem, but there is no evidence, archaeological or otherwise, that proves that Jesus drove the money changers out of that Temple. The person making this bold claim, of course, neglected to name even a single archaeological discovery that proves that his God exists. And no, that the Great Temple once stood doesn’t prove that Jesus lived. If this logic worked, then the existence of Manhattan proves that Spiderman exists.

B. “Well science gets things wrong all the time.” – True. There is no discovery, no observation, no scientific theory, and no law in science that is beyond correction. But, when a scientific theory gets tweaked, or tossed, it is because our understanding of what is observed gets better, not because of some divine intervention. It doesn’t follow that if science gets something wrong, then that proves God must exist. When science gets tweaked, this only proves that the scientific method is the best means for understanding how the world works. When we finally accepted Plate Tectonics, it was because of better observation of the natural world, not because God told us. And just because there are some answers that science hasn’t answered yet (or may never answer,) doesn’t mean that it is smart or reasonable to fill in those gaps with “God must have done it.”

C. “Even a scientist has faith in … science.” Wrong. Science is nothing more than a collection of publically verifiable evidence. Earth orbits the sun – publically verifiable. Bacterium, viruses, and other pathogen cause disease – publically verifiable. Objects with mass attract one another (gravity) – publically verifiable. If something is verifiable, then one does not need faith to believe; there’s evidence! Of course, one can not be an expert in all fields. Our current body of knowledge is so large that one person can not know everything. Sometimes we must trust experts, but the point is that science can be verified.

D. “The Bible is proof that God exists.” – This is a horrible argument, and I can’t believe that so many “thoughtful” people make it. Basically this is a circular argument. [There is a God because the Bible says so. I know this because the Bible is the inspired word of God.] How can a thoughtful person not see the fallacy in such circular reasoning? Also, if one is going to assume that the Bible proves their God, then logically they must also assume that the Koran proves Allah, Bhagavad-Gita proves the Hindu Gods, and the Book of the Dead proves that the afterlife occurs in an underworld realm, etc… This argument also ignores our current understanding of who, when, where, and why the various books of the Bible were written.

E. “Pascal’s Wager” [Even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because they will have everything to gain, and nothing to lose.] – I don’t have room to get into Pascal’s Wager, but basically the wager is ripe with reason and logic fallacies.

F. “I have a personal relationship with God.” – Sure. However, how can one not understand that it is possible to feel the presence of God without Him even existing? Our brains are extremely capable of producing simulations for our conscious mind to experience. For example, I work as a nurse in a hospital; almost every night, we have delusional and demented patients that are challenged with experiences that aren’t consistent with reality. People who make the above statement should take an Intro to Psychology class and challenge themselves to learning more about how the mind works.

G. “The Bible describes faith this way: ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ Hebrews 11:1” At least this person was honest -- Faith is nothing more than wishful thinking. But he fails to answer my question: How can a thoughtful, intelligent person believe that wishing hard enough for a God will make Him real.

Update:

I know that some believers lazy, some are scared of God and Hell. Some people don’t care about how illogical and unreasonable their arguments are. I once had a pastor of a mega-church tell me that he couldn’t be bothered with considering the fact that people of other religions had a personal relationship with their own God(s) that was just as deep as his personal relationship was with his God; that is incredibly intellectually lazy. One of my best friends clearly states that she cannot even admit to the possibility of being wrong because she is so afraid of what God will do if she “thinks” the wrong thing.

Again, my question is: How can a smart, educated, thoughtful person believe in something for which there is no evidence (without simply making up their own evidence)?

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    Where is the evidence that religious faith is not based on evidence? Now, admittedly, there are people professing faith in God who take an overly anti-scientific and obscurantist viewpoint. Their attitude brings faith in God into disrepute and is to be deplored. Perhaps you have had the misfortune to meet disproportionately many of them. But that does not alter the fact that mainstream Christianity will insist that faith and evidence are inseparable. Indeed, faith is the response to the evidence, not rejoicing in the absence of evidence. The Christian apostle John writes in his biography of Jesus: "These things are written that you might believe." That is, he understands that what he is writing is to be regarded as part of the evidence on which faith is based. The apostle Paul says what many pioneers of modern science believed, namely, that nature itself is part of the evidence for the existence of God: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Reread Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is... the evidence of things not seen." It is no part of the biblical view that things should be believed where there is no evidence. Just as in science, faith, reason and evidence belong together. Your definition of what may be called 'blind faith' turns out, therefore, to be the exact opposite of the biblical one.

    Theoretical physicist Paul Davies tells us that, if the ratio of the nuclear strong force to the electromagnetic force had been different by one part in 10^16, no stars could have formed. The ratio of the electromagnetic force-constant to gravitational force-constant must be equally delicately balanced. Increase it by only 1 part in 10^40 and only small stars can exist; decrease it by the same amount and there will only be large stars. You must have both large and small stars in the universe: The large ones produce elements in their thermonuclear furnaces; and it is only the small ones that burn long enough to sustain a planet with life.

    To use Davies' illustration, that is the kind of accuracy a marksman would need to hit a coin at the far side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away. If we find that difficult to imagine, a further illustration suggested by astrophysicists Hugh Ross may help: Cover America with coins in a column reaching to the moon (236,000 miles away), then so the same thing for a billion other continents of the same size. Paint one coin red and put it somewhere in one of the billion piles. Blindfold a friend and ask her to pick it out. The odds are about 1 in 10^40 that she will.

    Although we are now in realms of precision far beyond anything achievable by instrumentation designed by humans, the cosmos still has more stunning surprises in store. It is argued that an alteration in the ratio of the expansion and contraction forces by as little as 1 part in 10^55 at the Plank time, just 10^-43 seconds after the origin of the universe, would had led either to too rapid an expansion of the universe with no galaxies forming or too slow an expansion with consequent rapid collapse.

    We should note that the preceding arguments are not 'God of the Gaps' arguments; it is advance in science, not ignorance of science, that has revealed this fine-tuning to us. In that sense there is no 'gap' in the science. The question is rather: How should we interpret the science? In what direction is it pointing?

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  • 9 years ago

    Faith does not mean that one simply is to jump off a cliff. The actual meaning of faith is persuasion. Once one is persuaded that something is true then that one follows it. Like coming upon two paths. One path you know pretty much where it leads to because you can see for some distance, because it is a well used path, and you have a good idea of the outcome up until the end of that path. It is tangible until the end. The other path is more obscure, because it is not a tangible, linear choice. It has signs, concepts, analogies, metaphors, and euphemisms that one must use mind, heart and the depth of essence (Spirit) in order to grasp the truth or revelation of the mystery. For instance: as one grows up from childhood we find that certain things are not able to be physically bound or handled, such as, learning what the term love is or hatred, and defining these things, as well as, integrity, fortitude, long suffering, kindness, truth, etc. These things must be realized, and experienced in order to grasp them with our minds eye. Even the so called doctrines of belief are suspect, because one has to actually come to a realization within oneself, before the truth can occur or be made apparent. Once truth has been manifested to the individual then faith occurs. After this happens no doctrine on Earth will ever tie that individual down in fear. It is like lightening. You can not see the invisible path which leads from the ground to the cloud, but if you were to follow that path (via the signs) you would find out soon enough when the lightening strikes and faith is born, because a truth has been discovered. How is it that mankind survives to procreate by following the faith of heart when it comes to finding a mate. Something within keeps us motivated to discover the answers. Then one day we have an experience of a lifetime; feelings and emotions we do not want to let go of. Eventually we carry on the name of our forefathers and pass along our genes and wisdom in...faith. Peace.

    ****You certainly are not smart, nor do you reason, and you haven't a clue about anything you have written. Your thinking is backward. There is another side to all of your ranting, as well. There are those people who just do not want to believe anything except that which will sooth their own ego. No amount of proof will ever change their thinking.

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  • andrew
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Doesn't this sort of cynicism inevitably lead you to question your own senses? Eventually, the problem of the lack of objective knowledge means you could be being tricked by the same God you deride. You could be trapped in a false reality with all of your evidence and sensory data as just a projection. How do you know your not? Or do you just have faith that you experience a "true reality"? Surely, as a "smart, educated person" you must know that sound exists that you don't hear (low frequency) and that light exists that you can't see (ultraviolet, infrared) and yet you are so sure of your own perception that you would argue against believing in something that, for others, fills the gaps of knowledge that nobody would be fool hearty enough to deny. For most of us, being open-minded is a virtue.

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  • 9 years ago

    That is it. You have no evidence. If you had evidence then it wouldn't be by faith. The bible says, some mens wisdom will be a stumbling block. Blessed are those who believe and have never seen God. It is a mind frame we have to step off the ledge and trust that there will be a step there. We have to walk by faith and not by sight. What we see is what we tend to believe. In this case, we have just put limits on what is there for us that we cant see. We will never know unless we step out on faith and change our whole manner of thinking for we are a new creation.

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  • 9 years ago

    The same way some people believe that polonium halos are God's signature and not the predictable result of the decay of the polonium daughter of diffusing radon. These halophiles, if I can so call them, must be smart, because you need to be really smart to come up with anything so silly.

    BTW, since you mention it, if you and I are wrong and there is a God, Pascal's wager is a blasphemous insult to him.

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  • Skippy
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Wow, big question. Smart people believe dumb things all the time. The only thing you need to know is this: for most people emotion trumps reason.

    They believe because they are emotionally attached to their faith. That's all there is to it.

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  • 9 years ago

    It just proves that the ability to Study for an education doesn't automatically mean you're smart.

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  • 9 years ago

    Here grapple with these truths - it will require a studious spirit !!! Are you up to the challenge !!!

    The proof of God's true existance is His willingness to tell us what He will do centuries before He does it !!! As a case in point He put the dates of messianic events written in the skies at creation !!! Those events include His conception, His birth and death !!! You have to have a little information about astronomy, Feasts of Israel, the stars and their positions in the sky, and your willingness to go and discover information that may change your thinking and maybe your life !!!

    http://www.bethlehemstar.net/

    http://www.bethlehemstar.net/dance/dance.htm

    http://www.bethlehemstar.net/day/day.htm

    Jesus claimed to be God - John 8:24; 8:56-59 (see Exodus 3:14); John 10:30-33

    Jesus is called God - John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8

    Jesus is the image of the invisible God - Heb. 1:3

    Jesus abides forever - Heb. 7:24

    Jesus created all things - John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17

    Jesus is before all things - John 1:1-3; Col. 1:17;

    Jesus is eternal - John 1:1,14; 8:58; Micah 5:1-2

    Jesus is honored the same as the Father - John 5:23

    Jesus is prayed to - Acts 7:55-60; 1 Cor. 1:2 with Psalm 116:41; (John 14:14)

    Jesus is worshipped - Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6

    Jesus is omnipresent - Matt. 18:20; 28:20

    Jesus is with us always - Matt. 28:20

    Jesus is our only mediator between God and ourselves - 1 Tim. 2:5

    Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant - Heb. 7:22; 8:6

    Jesus said, "I AM the Bread of Life" - John 6:35,41,48,51

    Jesus said, "I AM the Door" - John 10:7,9

    Jesus said, "I AM the Good Shepherd" - John 10:11,14

    Jesus said, "I AM the Way the Truth and The Life" - John 14:6

    Jesus said, "I AM the Light of the world" - John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Luke 2:32

    Jesus said, "I AM the True Vine" - John 15:1,5

    Jesus said, "I AM the Resurrection and the Life" - John 11:25

    Jesus said, "I AM the First and the Last" - Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13

    Jesus always lives to make intercession for us - Heb. 7:25

    Jesus cleanses from sin - 1 John 1:9

    Jesus cleanses us from our sins by His blood - Rev. 1:5; Rom. 5:9

    Jesus forgives sins - Matt. 9:1-7; Luke 5:20; 7:48

    Jesus saves forever - Matt. 18:11; John 10:28; Heb. 7:25

    Muslims say that Jesus never said He was God, well here is proof that He said that He was !!!

    Mark 14:60-65 (New International Version)

    60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 61But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

    Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ,[a] the Son of the Blessed One?"

    62"I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

    63The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. 64"You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?"

    They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.

    There are those who as He never existed, so here is the proof that He did !!!

    http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/histo…

    There are those who say there is no proof of heaven or hell, so here is proof that there is !!!

    http://www.spiritlessons.com/Documents/R…

    Did you know that the earth was created instantly and God wrote it in stone !!!

    http://www.halos.com/

    Heavenly Father,

    I want to know You as the true and living God. I ask you to forgive me and cleanse me from everything I’ve done wrong. Change my heart, and give me a new life. I turn from false gods and submit my life to your Son Jesus Christ as my only Savior and Lord. Fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit.

    Thank You, Lord Jesus, for paying the penalty for my sins and giving me a relationship of friendship with God as my Heavenly Father !!!

    P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzqTFNfeD

    Youtube thumbnail

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  • Nevvo
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    I have no faith in any religion. You are wrong though, everyone in this planet has faith in something for which there is no proof, even us smart, educated people.

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  • Ross
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Simple explanation is that since you do not have evidence to prove otherwise I think believing in God is rational.

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