Josh McDowell, a well-known Christian apologist, states on page 3 of his book entitled Evidence That Demands A Verdict,
A rather common accusation sharply aimed at the Christian often goes like this: “You Christians make me sick! All you have is a ‘blind faith.’” This would surely indicate that the accuser seems to think that to become a Christian, one has to commit “intellectual suicide.”
However, the Bible itself suggests that Christians are not expected to have blind faith. First Peter 3:15 says, “[S]anctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” [Note: When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]
On page 112 of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door, a book that was co-authored by Bob Hostetler and himself, Josh McDowell shares his following testimony:
As a young man . . . I thought the Christian faith was a blind faith. I set out to examine it, intending to refute Christianity. However, the more I examined historical, biblical Christianity, the more I realize that it is an intelligent faith, a reasonable faith.
Jesus does not call upon us to commit intellectual suicide in trusting Him as Savior and Lord. He does not expect us to exercise our Christian faith in an intellectual vacuum. The Christian’s faith must be a faith based on the evidence.
To some degree, everyone has to have faith to believe what they believe. (Even an atheist has faith. Since he cannot prove that God does not exist, the atheist has to have faith that his belief is correct.) However, every person needs to be careful about the basis for their faith. Blind acceptance does not result in an intelligent faith. All the doctrines of all religions, and even those of every Christian denomination, cannot be correct, since many of them are in disagreement with others. Regardless of how sincere you are in your belief and how strong your faith is that what you believe is correct, you should accept a doctrine only after considering the available evidence. Ultimately, you are responsible for being sure that the doctrines you believe are valid.
Charles Colson, who became a Christian after being involved in the Watergate scandal, says on pages 31-32 of his book entitled How Now Shall We Live?, “Christian faith is not an irrational leap. . . . [T]he claims of the Bible are rational propositions well supported by reason and evidence.” In other words, the trust that Christians place in Jesus Christ can stand up under the scrutiny of the mind as well as the heart, because Christianity is based upon facts, as well as on faith.
On page 67 of his book entitled Set Forth Your Case, Clark H. Pinnock states, “A religious claim without any way to test it out is as meaningless as a nuclear test-ban treaty without adequate checks.” He goes on to say, “The beauty of the gospel in the avalanche of competing religious claims is precisely the possibility we have of checking it out historically and factually.” Then he states, “The intent of Christian apologetics and evidences is not to coerce people to accept the Christian faith, but to make it possible for them to do so intelligently.” Subsequently, on page 73, Pinnock says, “Faith is a resting of the heart in the sufficiency of the evidences. . . . Faith is not believing what you know to be absurd. It is trusting what on excellent testimony appears to be true.” Nevertheless, there are some Christians who rule out the necessity of reason and evidence in supporting their religious beliefs.
Why Should People Believe in Jesus Christ?
What makes Christian beliefs, especially those pertaining to Jesus Christ, more credible than the beliefs of other people, including not only people who accept the teachings of non-Christian religions, but also those of agnostics and atheists? How do Christians convince non-Christians that (in the words of Ambrose Fleming, one of England’s outstanding scientists), “[T]he Christian Church is not founded on fictions, or nourished on delusions, or, as St. Peter calls them, ‘cunningly devised fables’. . .”?
Henry Morris, a Christian apologist and scientist, asserts on page 1 of his book entitled Many Infallible Proofs, “The entire subject of evidences is almost exclusively the domain of Christian evidences. Other religions depend on subjective experience and blind faith, tradition and opinion.”
On page 41 of their book entitled Fast Facts on Defending Your Faith, John Ankerberg and John Weldon state, “[O]nly Christianity stakes its claim to truthfulness on historical events open to critical investigation.” On page 44 of their book, they add, “Other religions . . . can also be tested by examining their claims and looking critically at the facts – but . . . one finds that they are invalidated by such a procedure.”
Irwin H. Linton, on page 16 of his book entitled A Lawyer Examines the Bible, says that the evidence for Christianity “rests on definite, historical facts and events” and because of the extensive evidence that supports them, should “be regarded as proved under the strictest rules of evidence used in the highest American and English courts.”
And Robert Morey declares on page 38 of his book entitled Introduction to Defending the Faith, “[T]here is more than enough evidence on every hand from every department of human experience and knowledge to demonstrate that Christianity is true.”
Wise people want to know the basis for religious doctrines, to be able to determine if those doctrines are grounded in truth. Ideally, Christians should not only be able to present support for the primary doctrines of Christianity, but should also seek to be knowledgeable about the beliefs of non-Christians and learn the flaws in these beliefs, so they can intelligently discuss such matters.
Pinnock, on page 9 of his book, declares that Christianity “pleases both heart and head. It is a rational and intelligent faith.” Then, on page 85, he says, “An intelligent non-Christian owes it to himself to conduct an investigation into the roots of the Christian message, if only to be sure his unbelief is not itself an unfounded prejudice.”
While faith for a Christian goes beyond reason and evidence, it does not exclude either of them. A Christian can rely not only on his (or her) own experience in their relationship with Jesus Christ, but also on reason and evidence. Nevertheless, a Christian may have unanswered questions or even unresolved doubts about certain aspects of Christianity. In such circumstances, rather than becoming disillusioned or discouraged about his faith, the Christian should earnestly pray for God’s help in finding satisfactory answers.
In Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9, Jesus promised, “[S]eek, and you will find.” Answers may not come immediately, but that does not mean that valid answers do not exist. God rewards perseverance in such matters, although the seeker may not have all of his questions answered or all of his doubts resolved.