Evolution is True and Christianity, and All Religions, Are Not
IS FAITH A VIRTUE?
6. Is Faith a Virtue?
First, what is faith? Let’s turn to the Bible itself and see what it considers faith. Hebrews 11:1 - “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Note that faith is used when a person hopes for evidence that is not there, and is confident that the evidence is there even when it can’t be seen or detected. We do not employ faith when we have sufficient evidence. The rest of Hebrews 11 then lists many examples of success people supposedly had by holding to their faith. But those are just mythologies like the Exodus and Abraham, etc.
“You don’t see faith healers working in hospitals for same reason
you don’t see psychics winning the lottery every week”
- Ricky Gervais
Faith is not to be prized over evidence, but that’s exactly what religion does. Have faith if biblical claims don’t make sense it is implored. Choose your faith over scientific facts. This leads to absurd thinking. For example, Kurt Patrick Wise who studied for his PhD in Geology at Harvard under Stephen Gould, and yet holds to Young Earth Creationism stated: “If all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism,… I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.” In addition, Joel Osteen tweeted on November 26, 2014, "The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts". Where does one even start to show how absurd that statement is?
Another is Pastor Peter LaRuffa who stated in an HBO special, “Somewhere in the Bible if I were to find a passage that said 2+2=5, I wouldn’t question what I was reading in the Bible, I would believe it. I would accept it as true and then do my best to work it out and understand it.”
"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence
of the improbable.”~ Henry Louis Mencken
Faith is not inherently virtuous. Often it allows people to believe all kinds of errors and absurdities and keeps minds from being curious and skeptical where needed. It is the enemy of reason and critical thinking. No wonder St. Augustine and Luther railed against reason. No wonder that the Bible holds faith above evidence, for example supposedly when Thomas asked Jesus to touch his hands to confirm the nail scars (by faith we take that false narrative as historical).
“Then Jesus told him [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those that have not seen, yet have believed”.
~ John 20:29
People constantly put faith above skepticism, which is not the same as cynicism. Healthy skepticism should be honored; faith should be diminished as a desirable trait because of the damage it produces and that it is not proper evidence. Religions are ultimately based on faith since believers can’t supply real and adequate evidence for their claims.
"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
~ Bertrand Russell
According to William Lane Craig, he knows Christianity is true because he has something better than evidence, the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart which is "self-authenticating" and supersedes evidence that may show it as untrue.
It's why a huge apologetic industry exists. Recall that apologetics is the defense of the faith, not the defense of the truth. Its primary function is to keep believers from doubting too hard. Why there is even a need for a PhD in apologetics should speak volumes to believers.
"The moment that you say that the Bible needs to be "interpreted" you have lost the debate.
Is there an ultimate authority here on Earth telling you how to interpret the Bible? NO.
This means that what the Bible says depends
on the whims of the person interpreting the Bible" ~ Atheist Faction