Atheists and, perhaps, most agnostics believe that religion in general is based upon superstition and cannot be supported by credible evidence. They tend to think that people who are religious tend to be ignorant, especially with regard to scientific evidence that indicates natural forces created the universe, including all forms of life. As a result, their perception of religion, including Christianity, is that it necessitates blind faith (i.e., faith that is not based upon credible evidence).
In addressing this matter, we will first consider what several prominent Christian scholars have to say.
On page 113 of their book entitled Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door, Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler say,
[N]either the resurrection of Christ nor His deity can be proven with 100 percent certainty. But that doesn’t mean that the Christian faith is a blind faith. The evidence for the Christian faith is adequate.
Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician, philosopher, and scientist, said that there is enough evidence for the Christian faith to convince anyone who is not set against it.
Then, on page 117 of the same book, McDowell and Hostetler add,
The problem is that many people think that if you can’t prove something scientifically, it’s untrue or unbelievable.
But that’s a myth.
The scientific method is not the only way to prove something. If it were, you would not be able to prove that Abraham Lincoln had ever been president of the United States, because you can’t repeat that event. It exists only in the past.
There are many impressive testimonies by people who have examined the evidence regarding Jesus Christ and, as a result, made a decision to trust in Him. One such testimony is by Josh McDowell, who says on page 10 of his book entitled Evidence That Demands a Verdict,
For me, Christianity was not a “leap into the dark,” but rather “a step into the light.” I took the evidence that I could gather and put it on the scales. The scales tipped the way of Christ being the Son of God and resurrected from the dead.
I did not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. What I did was investigate the evidence and weigh the pros and cons. The results showed that Christ must be who He claimed to be, and I had to make a decision, which I did. The immediate reaction of many is, “You found what you wanted to find.” That is not the case. I confirmed through investigation what I wanted to refute. I set out to disprove Christianity. I had biases and prejudices not for Christ but contrary to Him.
And, on pages 109-110 of their previously cited book, McDowell and Hostetler state,
Many of the greatest minds in history have belonged to Christians.
Christian conversion does not compromise a person’s intellect. It completes it.
In his autobiography, C.S. Lewis tells how he avoided and violently resisted the gospel as a young man because he considered Christianity an unintellectual system. His resistance broke, however, and he was “surprised by joy.” He found that conversion ignited his imaginative and creative powers.
Lew Wallace set out to refute Christianity with his powerful intellect and creativity. But the power of the gospel made a believer out of the author of the classic, Ben-Hur.
British trial lawyer Frank Morison intended to write a book disproving the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He conducted intensive research, gathered historical evidence, and worked devotedly at his task. Finally, his intellect and work brought him to the unavoidable conclusion that Jesus had risen from the dead! He became a Christian.
Josh McDowell and Don Stewart ask on page 150 of their book entitled Answers to Tough Questions, “If it is mere “blind faith” that the Christian exercises, why are so many learned men and women still becoming believers by way of the exercise of their intellects?”
Also, on page 150 of their book, McDowell and Stewart state,
The choice to become a Christian should be made after proper reflection. It should be considered and evaluated before a commitment is made. A person needs to understand what he is doing before he becomes a Christian. Those who encourage conversion through Jesus Christ, based upon an emotional appeal or through some process of manipulation, are not being biblical.
Faith cannot be proven with perfect and complete answers to every question that a person may have. But, rarely, if ever, is such a level of proof required in any other area of life. Ultimately, as Strobel states on page 255 of The Case for Christ, “Faith is about a choice, a step of the will, a decision to want to know God personally. It’s saying, ‘I believe – please help my unbelief!’ ”
Although the faith of some Christians may seem to be blind, this does not mean that blind faith is necessary for a person to become a Christian. And, even if many Christians are not able to provide credible evidence to support the basic beliefs of their religion, this does not mean that they were not previously taught valid reasons to believe basic Christian doctrines. Christians, like most people, may forget a lot of the information that they were taught, and, as a result, many of them are not readily able to provide credible evidence to support even some of their basic Christian beliefs. However, there are many other Christians who can provide credible evidence as to why they believe as they do.
So, what are some examples of credible evidence that is the basis for the basic beliefs of Christians?
Before we address this question, we want to make it clear that there is considerable credible evidence to support basic Christian beliefs. There are thousands – perhaps, millions – of writings that provide such evidence.
The following are articles that we have written, with a brief synopsis of each, that provide plausible reasons why a person can have confidence that the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ are all worthy of trust. These articles rely heavily on the knowledge and understanding of scholars who have investigated the credibility of what the Bible says. To access these articles, click on their titles.
Belief in the Credibility of the Bible
- “Is the Bible Reliable?” Among the reasons to believe that the Bible is reliable are the following; the integrity of those who wrote it, its internal consistency, its fulfilled prophecies, the proximity of New Testament writings to the time of Jesus Christ’s ministry, validation by ancient biblical manuscripts, validation by other ancient writings, and archaeological evidence.
Belief in God
- “Evidence that God Exists” Those who assert that there is no God base their belief on their assumption that there must be scientific evidence that God does exist. They are unwilling to accept the possibility that God can be proven logically or that He can be proven by many miraculous experiences witnessed and/or personally experienced by multitudes of people throughout the centuries, a number of which are recorded in the Bible.
Belief in Jesus Christ
- “Was Jesus Christ More than a Prophet?” Among the reasons for believing that Jesus Christ was more than a prophet are the following: He made claims of deity about Himself, He was sinless, He performed miracles, He was resurrected from death, and He was regarded as deity by early Christians.
Faith in General
- “Should Faith Be Based on Evidence?” While faith for a Christian goes beyond reason and evidence, it does not exclude either reason or evidence. A Christian can rely not only on his (or her) own experience in their relationship with Jesus Christ, but also on reason and evidence.
In light of the foregoing information, particularly what is discussed in the referenced articles, we believe there is ample credible evidence to support basic Christian beliefs and, therefore, although Christianity necessitates faith, it does not require blind faith. Those who diligently seek to determine for themselves if such evidence is credible will have valid reason to trust the basic Christian doctrines.