How can smart educated people faith believe?
“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.
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)?