Cross Sunset

Answer by John Mackay

Do you realise this is how most people including many who go to church think about faith? It’s something you believe because you want it to be true, or in order to make it true, but it has nothing to do with what’s real. It’s not related to fact. Dawkins the atheist perceives faith to be whatever you make up and decide to believe regardless of the facts. Faith is something you don’t need evidence for. Attenborough and Gillard (Australian Prime Minister) hope they can get away with believing there is no god, but not because of the evidence. Atheists have no evidence. That’s what their faith is all about. It gives them nothing except what they can invent themselves. Such belief truly fits the description “blind faith” – based on nothing and about nobody.

Christian faith is about no body! As the Apostle Paul said; “…” if Christ is not risen, then is our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) i.e. if it is not a fact that Christ is risen from the grave, and there really was no body left in it, then Christians are deluded. They are pitiable. Tragic fools. Yet rather than being based on wishful thinking or mythical tales, Christian faith depends on real history. For this reason the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts both start in a similar fashion: “…many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us”….”here are the eyewitness accounts” … , “that you might know the certainty of those things” …. “There was in the days of Herod….” (Luke 1:1-5 ) Never forget that when the Greek convert and medical doctor Luke wrote his account, most of the people mentioned were still alive so you could check. Now you can check the existence of Pilate etc via the excavated tablets from Roman times onwards that verify what the Biblical account says and even name the Biblical characters. Such a need for an evidential basis for Christianity means you ought not be surprised when you see that most attacks on the Christian faith begin with attempts to undermine the evidence – for Christ, for creation, Noah’s flood or for any real and historic event God’s Word records.

Even the naming of sections of the Bible as New or Old Testament tells you why. A Testament is a legal document about an inheritance that is the property of one person, who declares it will be a gift to another upon the owner’s death. As such it must historically, factually and legally accurate or the inheritance is null and void. In this case what you inherit is the real and present continuing presence of Gods Holy Spirit as well as the yet to come promised inheritance property – eternal life in a new heavens and a new earth face to face with the living God. Now that is why the writer of Hebrew declares: “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) The faith of the Christian goes beyond simply a human based intellectual acceptance of facts past, or of present experience in this life.

I was asked by a young Christian how do I deal with such savage attacks when I am debating or online? I replied; “I force myself to remember that just as the real Jesus has been tolerant and patient with an idiot like me, then I can be patient and persevering with fools such as Dawkins et al.” You see I wasn’t saved by my intellectual prowess. I became a Christian because there is one other aspect of Christian faith you must keep in mind.

The unbeliever who says; “It’s alright for you – you’ve got faith but I don’t,” is missing one vital fact that even many Christians forget. The faith that saves you is actually a gift you can ask for. It’s not the result of your guru genius but the consequence of Gods generosity. Saul who was renamed Paul, was not on his way to an evangelical meeting when he met Jesus – he was on his way to kill Christians. He didn’t deserve saving from sin, he wasn’t looking for it, but he sure needed it. Here’s what he writes about faith: “… by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) No Christian can brag about such faith. It is exclusively God given so you can pray for and be patient with any who don’t have it as you also warn them they have no excuse. Firstly the evidence is overwhelming and secondly they can humble themselves and ask for the same saving faith. It is a gift from the one whose last will and Testament it is, i.e. Jesus.

When you put both these aspects of the Christian faith together you are forced to conclude that God doesn’t save us because of our brains, but He doesn’t save us without them either. Christianity is a fact based faith – not a blind faith. You believe it because it is true and the evidence is there, and you are foolish if you don’t believe it. If you are not yet a Christian and you need the faith that saves and gives eternal life, then humble yourself, admit you are the sinner that Jesus died for (FACT ) and ask him to save you by His Faith (GIFT), and to make real to you the evidence of things yet unseen. If you are saved and you want the empowering faith that makes your life what it ought to be and enables God to use you mightily, then likewise humble yourself and ask. Just make sure you boast of His greatness in all you do.

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