Is Faith Blind?

By Emmanuel Oluwatoba | Niger, Nigeria


Faith is very essential to Christianity, and many assume the Christian faith to be blind.  This assumption is not only propounded by atheists (who seek to discredit the faith on that ground) but also by some professing Christians who believe that “true faith” is believing something despite the evidence against it or believing something when there is no evidence to support it.

Is faith blind? Does it necessitate the surrender of reason? Let us go back to the scriptures to find the answer to these questions.

Biblical Faith

What does the Bible mean by faith? Hebrews 11 vs 1 reads “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Some people read the biblical definition of faith and place emphasis on “hoped for” and “not seen” and conclude that it agrees with the idea that faith is having assurance without evidence and reason to support it. However, such a conclusion is not only hasty but also wrong. Let us look at the three words critical to understanding the biblical definition of faith.

Faith: the original Greek word ‘pistis’ means “firm persuasion” or “strong conviction”, this means what is being referred to is far from irrational belief, rather it is the result of reaching a logical conclusion.

Substance: the original Greek word ‘hupostatis’ refers to that “which has foundation” or “which has actual existence”. This means that there is something substantial that supports one’s faith.

Evidence: the original Greek word ‘elegchos’ means “proof.” This refers to facts that leads to personal conviction.

The two phrases “hoped for” and “not seen” only highlights the immaterial nature of the Christian expectations and does not in any way mean that the Christian faith is blind. From examining the three words (faith, substance, and evidence), we find that the biblical understanding of faith is totally different from what people assume; it is a personal conviction based on solid evidence.

Christian Faith

The Christian faith is evidential. Neither Jesus nor His apostles advocated for a faith that is without evidence, let us examine the following points:

Jesus’ miraculous works are evidence for faith: Jesus presented his works as evidence to those who questioned him, even when they were His followers, He did not require blind faith from them, we read of Philip’s encounter with Jesus in John 14 vs 8-12, in verse 11 Jesus says “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me; or else believe because of the works themselves.” John wrote 21 chapters about the works of Jesus and he explains the reason for doing so in John 20 vs 31, “But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name”.

Jesus presented himself as a proof for faith: After the resurrection of Jesus, He presented himself to as many people as Luke writes in Acts 1 vs 3 “To these he shows Himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God’s kingdom”. Jesus also presented Himself to one of His disciples who doubted His resurrection, “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and observe my hands. Reach out your hand, and put it into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20 vs 27).

The resurrection of Jesus is evidence for faith: In Acts 2 vs 1-36, Peter appealed to the knowledge of his audience who had seen the miracles of Jesus and offered it as evidence “Men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus the Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know,” (vs. 22). Peter also makes mention of witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection “This Jesus God raised up, to which we are all witnesses” (vs. 32). Based on these two important pieces of evidence, Peter concludes that those listening to him can be confident that Jesus is Christ “Let all the house of Israel know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (vs. 36).

Christians are to examine their beliefs: Christians are expected to be critical and thoughtful, as the Bible teaches in 1 Thess. 5:21 “but test all things; hold firmly to that which is good”, also we are to emulate the noble Bereans: “Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the scripture daily to see whether those things were so. (Acts 17 vs 11).

Christians are expected to defend their faith: Christians are called to share the evidence of their faith at every point in time, this is because our faith is defendable “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3 vs 15). 

Conclusion The Bible defines faith in a totally different way from the way most people understood it; biblical faith is a decision to believe something about God based on evidence. Christians are not to believe that we are expected to have blind faith; instead, we should be always ready to examine our beliefs, come to a conclusion based on the evidences, and be ready to present the evidences as a reason for the hope that we have.

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