The Bible says if you don’t have love, you’re nothing, and it says one of the characteristics of love is to always trust. It says when you pray, you should trust absolutely that God will give you what you ask for. Otherwise, you’re an uncertain, unreliable person, and your prayer won’t do you any good. Jesus thought his disciples were foolish for not fully trusting everything the prophets said.
This all goes along with the principle of faith, since one aspect of faith is complete trust. And the Bible generally presents faith as a good thing. Yet there are also quite a few passages that say it’s not always good to trust…
Continue reading Should people always trust? →
If someone claims to believe in Jesus, ask them if they ever get hungry or thirsty. If they answer yes, that means they don’t actually believe in Jesus. If they answer no, you still need a little more evidence before you can conclude that they’re a believer.
Ask the alleged Christian if they obey everything Jesus commanded. Do they always give people whatever they ask for? Have they sold everything they owned and given the money away to the poor? Do they hate their families? Do they let criminals mistreat them as much as they want without resisting? Do they mutilate their bodies every time they do something wrong? Have they demonstrated their love for their friends by killing themselves? Anyone who claims to know Jesus but doesn’t do what he commands is a liar.
Next, ask them to show you some miracles like Jesus did. Jesus says everyone who believes in him can do all the same things he did, and more! So have them start off with some of the miracles that Jesus did, like mind reading, turning water into wine, turning a little food into a lot of food, walking on water, flying, disappearing, controlling the weather, curing every disease, and raising the dead.
Continue reading How to tell if someone really believes in Jesus →
Ten generations after Noah, God promised a man named Abraham that he would have countless descendants through Isaac, the son of Abraham and his sister Sarah. But before Isaac could grow up and have children, the all-good God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. So Abraham lied to his servants and his son about what he was planning to do, so they wouldn’t interfere. Then he tied up his son, put him on an altar, and picked up a knife…
Continue reading The Story of Abraham’s Sacrifice—
Isaac and his Murderous Psycho Father →
Faith is commonly regarded as a virtue. But is it really a good thing? What exactly is faith, anyway? Let’s look as some definitions.
Faith: Complete trust or confidence in something. Believing something without question. Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Faith can also mean an obligation of loyalty, and if we’re still talking about beliefs, that would mean being devoted to sticking to a particular belief (which goes along with believing something firmly and without question).
“Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking.” —Bill Maher
So then, faith means you decide to believe a particular idea even though there’s no evidence for it, and then you completely refuse to ever question it or consider changing your mind about it, disregarding all evidence to the contrary. Faith means being gullible regarding some ideas, and closed-minded to others. Faith means abandoning reason, willfully ignoring the evidence, breaking the connection between your beliefs and reality.
“There is no virtue in accepting something on faith, since it may very well be false, and it is clearly not virtuous to believe the false.” —Charlotte Schnook
Clearly this is an unbelievably bad way to form your beliefs. Considering what faith actually is, I don’t see how anyone could possibly think it was a good thing. There’s absolutely nothing good or reasonable about it. Having faith is just like having a delusion, except you’re doing it on purpose. If you want to have true beliefs and avoid having false beliefs, having faith is probably the most counterproductive thing you could possibly do.
Unlike reason and evidence, faith provides no way to determine which things you should believe. Any belief can be “justified” by faith just as well as any other. If you have faith in one religion, why not have faith in another religion? Why not believe that you are a six-legged zebra from the planet Japan? Why not accept on faith that you should give me all your money right now?
You can probably think of some reasons not to accept those things, but why do you suddenly think you need to have reasons for what you believe? If I tell you that Ahura Mazda is the real God, or that you are a six-legged zebra from the planet Japan, or that you need to give me all your money, why do you question it? You don’t need a reason to believe; you just need to have faith, right?
“If something can be used as a justification for everything, then it shouldn’t be used as a justification for anything.” —Matt Dillahunty
When the inherent irrationality of faith is pointed out, religious people will sometimes protest that their faith is based on evidence. Well, if you’re trying to base your beliefs on reason and evidence, that’s great. You’re more reasonable than some religious people. But letting evidence shape your beliefs is not what faith is, and it’s not what the Bible tells you to do. The unreasonable way of thinking I described above is exactly the kind of thinking that the Bible encourages, and describes as faith.
The Bible on faith
The Bible says faith means confidently believing in something you hope is true, but that you don’t actually see any evidence for. To live by faith is to live blindly.
Continue reading Faith is not reasonable →