In a recent online discussion, an atheist commented on the title of my new book (“7 Reasons to Believe: Compelling Evidence for the Existence of God”) and posed this question:
“If you have compelling evidence, does that mean you do not have faith since it is no longer required?”
I thought it might be helpful to copy my response to him here:
You seem to have a strange definition of faith. Faith does not infer that there is no evidence for the object of one’s faith. To believe in something without any substantiating evidence at all is mere wishful thinking. Worse, to believe in something despite clear evidence to the contrary is simply delusional. God does not require Christians to kiss their brains goodbye in order to believe in him.
On the other hand, no amount of evidence can unequivocally prove God’s existence to the point where faith is no longer required. Evidence can only bring us to a point where are able to conclude that it is reasonable to place one’s faith in something. This is why Jesus said to those who were questioning him at one point, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the EVIDENCE of the miracles themselves” (John 14:11).
Jesus does not ask us to exercise blind, unreasonable faith – but faith that is grounded in clear evidence. In the case of the people in Jesus’ day, his miracles and his eventual resurrection provided the evidence upon which people made their decision to either place their faith in him or not.
Today, there is a variety of evidence that points us to the existence of God. But, as in the case of the people of Jesus’ day, the evidence can only get us to the point where we may conclude that it is REASONABLE to believe in God and in the truth of the Christian faith. At that point a step of faith is needed.
The short answer to your question is that the Christian faith is not baseless and without corroborating evidence, as non-believers often try to claim. In fact, there is an abundance of compelling evidence (scientific, philosophical and existential) which overwhelmingly points to the existence of a supernatural Creator-God. The purpose of my book is simply to point people to that evidence.”
Apart from my dialogue with that sceptic (above), the recent launch of my latest book has also prompted a whole swathe of hostile and even belligerent comments from aggressive atheists who are apparently annoyed with the claim of the book’s subtitle; “Compelling Evidence for the Existence of God”. I have subsequently fielded a barrage of attacks and have sought to respond to them graciously and clearly. Here is another of my responses:
“Hi Brian. Firstly, I don’t demand that you agree with my belief. I don’t expect you to agree with it. It’s about respecting the person and their right to have that belief. Your derisory comments show that you have not understood the distinction.
Secondly, the only “preaching” I do online is on my blog and Facebook page which people have to sign up for or go actively looking for. If you stumble across my posts and don’t agree with my opinions, just move on to another blog that you do agree with. I am not going “door to door”. By reading my posts on my “Reflections on Faith and Life” page, (which is where you posted your criticism of my “preaching”) you have stumbled through MY door, not the other way around. You can’t jump onto my blog and then accuse me of somehow invading your privacy!
Thirdly, you have made various comments such as “no evidence of anything supernatural”, and “Until you have evidence to show another explanation you have nothing but an empty narrative”. I have published a 200-page book of evidence, resulting from 4 decades of research, (plus eleven other previously published books during that time). On what basis can you possibly claim that I don’t have any evidence, when you clearly have no desire to read my evidence?
Fourthly, your comment that “You are totally delusional. I will not waste my time arguing with someone who is totally ignorant of credible science and over whelming evidence” reveals an outdated view of the so-called credible science and the growing movement of PhD scientists around the world who, based upon the most recent scientific discoveries in cosmology, genetics and biochemistry, are moving away from the theory of evolution towards a theistic view of the origin of life. If you took the time to read the current evidence for yourself, summarised by many authors such as myself, you would see that today’s “credible science” is revealing the huge flaws in the evolutionary / atheistic worldview.”
I thank God for the opportunity to be a witness for God and for the truth of the Christian faith. What a privilege it is to be engaged at the ‘coalface’ of unbelief and scepticism. But it certainly requires bucket loads of patience and grace! I pray that you, too, will be ever-mindful of your calling to be Christ’s witness wherever he has placed you. May you know God’s wisdom, strength and patience as you engage with a world that is increasingly hostile to the truth.
Kevin Simington (B.Th. Dip. Min.) is a theologian, apologist and social commentator. He is the author of 12 books, and his latest, “7 Reasons to Believe”, is now available. Connect with Kevin on Facebook or his SmartFaith Blog.