Actively Thinking

Outspoken atheist and critic of all things to do with religion and faith in God, Richard Dawkins, "describes faith as belief without evidence; a process of active non-thinking." ("Is Science A Religion," The Humanist, Jan-Feb 1997.) Dawkins is not alone is his belief [without evidence, ironically] that all Christians must suspend rational, logical thinking in order to believe anything the Bible teaches. Years ago, Dawkins sought to remove God altogether from any description of him and other disbelievers, rejecting the term 'atheist' because its base word is about God; he chose a term coined by a Chicago biology teacher, Paul Geisert, to describe disbelievers as 'Brights" [Dawkins favors this term because he purposefully implies that believers are their opposites: "dim," or unintelligent]. To make this point, Dawkins uses a clearly derogatory term to describe those who believe the world was created by God, or as it is known in scientific circles, 'Intelligent Design': IDiots. [Isn't he so clever?]

      Rather than stoop to Dawkins' childish level, let us demonstrate the foolishness of Dawkins' claim with proof from God's word, the Bible, that even God expects His people to think and use logic and reason to come to certain undeniable conclusions that comprise true faith. I expect those who read this will likewise use logic and reason to understand what God's word says, and the arguments I will be presenting. I expect no one to merely take my word for it because even God did not do that.

      Let's begin with one of the most basic beliefs of those who profess to be Christians: the belief that Jesus is the Christ and Son of God. Without this belief, there is no such thing as Christianity. But what evidence do we have? [Dawkins would deny there is any.]

      Well, we have eyewitnesses of Jesus, His teachings, His miracles, and His life overall. One of those eyewitnesses, the apostle John, noted in his letter to the early disciples, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you” (1 John 1:1-3). In other words, he was one who walked with Jesus, saw Him with his eyes, heard Him with his ears, and had literally touched Him.

      Paul would note, regarding the resurrection of Jesus after His crucifixion [which is not, as some clever atheists like to say, "cruci-fiction"], that first Peter saw Him, and then the other apostles and then “He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once,” and then by James the apostle and, much later, by Paul himself (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Now, if you were sitting as a juror and a man was on trial for a crime and the prosecutor paraded 500+ eyewitnesses before you that testified that they each saw the man commit the crime, could you honestly say there is no evidence? And since these are all eyewitnesses, could you honestly say their testimony is not credible? Yet, that is what is being said! It seems that those who have a predisposition to disbelieve will continue in their disbelief, despite the overwhelming evidence. Now, who is it that isn't thinking?

      When the apostle Paul was sent out into the world to teach the very message we believe, as Christians — the gospel story of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection — it is said he entered into Thessalonica and, “as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2); when he went to Athens, “he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17); when he went to Corinth, “he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18:4). When he stood before King Agrippa and Festus essentially called him crazy for talking about Jesus coming to him on the road to Damascus and sending him to the Gentiles to preach the gospel, Paul replied, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason (Acts 26:24, 25).

      In the occasions where Paul “reasoned” with others from the Scriptures, the term used in those cases is the Greek word dialegomai, from which we get our English word dialogue, and means "to think different things with one’s self, mingle thought with thought" [Thayer's]. In these cases, he was presenting arguments to those who heard, and they all discussed the points logically and reasonably, and probably presented counter arguments; to do this requires thought! The term used when Paul answered Festus is the Greek word sophrosune, and means "soundness of mind" [Thayer's]; Paul was not crazy for believing what he believed, or doing what he did!

      Finally, consider that all disciples are admonished to “sanctify 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” (1 Pet. 3:15). The word used here is the Greek logos, and has meaning of "the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating," and, "account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment" [Thayer's]. In this case, we must be able to give a reasonable explanation for what we believe. This requires thinking!

           Now, of course, there are multiple examples today of those who profess to believe but who, indeed, do so without evidence. Many 'believe' in Jesus, but really don't know much about Him! Some who claim to believe in Him deny His virgin birth, deny He was bodily resurrected, or say that He sinned while on earth; while such demonstrates ignorance of the Scriptures, it does not destroy the truth. In spite of the fact many professing believers base their 'faith' on their feelings and not evidence God provided, the one with true faith does, indeed, use logic and reason and thinks rationally when weighing the evidence. After all, John said, the evidence God provided through the miracles Jesus did were “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:30, 31); in other words, God expects us to weigh the evidence, think, and come to a logical conclusion.          — Steven Harper