These are some of my reasons for not viewing faith in a rewarding light. Since I am most familiar with the Christian understanding of faith I make a few explicit references to how a mindset of faith is poorly encouraged within this line of thought. I think it is valuable to pass these insights along because I’m not sure how aware many believers are about the downfalls of believing on poor grounds? This is a call for my believing friends to take a close look at their foundation for understanding truth claims. Does a mindset of faith deeply undervalue evidence? This is for my readers to decide.
- A mindset of faith acts as if it is a valid resting zone. Rather than resting on a surefire case that miracles have happened in history, the reward instead comes from suspending reason and believing in the miracle anyway. This would appear to be a red flag because truth is not being distinguished from myth. Instead one is encouraged to rest within this new mindset. The search for ultimate truth is thought to be over. Questioning any further appears antithetical to one’s decision to believe.
2. A mindset of faith as a natural consequence does not value evidence. The point to having faith is not whether the evidence is strong enough, the point of having faith is to act as if a truth claim made on poor evidence is true. Jesus is thought to be the Savior. Having faith that he rose from the dead is the highest reward anyone could ever receive. It is thought to lead to eternal life. The thinking quickly becomes, “I would be a fool to pass up this offer.” In this scenario, desire trumps evidence.
3. A mindset of faith is in fact acting upon what one doesn’t actually know. People don’t actually know without question that a God exists. The whole point of having faith is to act as if God exists. In what other discipline would it ever be encouraged to act upon what one doesn’t actually know?
4. A mindset of faith sees doubt in a negative light. It is thought that doubt will drive one away from God. In all actuality doubt is moving away from a mindset of faith. There’s a difference. Based upon what anyone can actually know for sure, why should faith be seen as the best avenue for understanding what is true about the God question? If natural doubts are arising with regard to that question, with regard to assurance, this may actually be a very positive thing. It might be a closer way to reflect what is true with regard to the God question. This question may not have an answer. It may not be a question that provides good evidence and assurance to the seeker.
5. A mindset of faith argues that morality is best understood by trusting in the commands of God. It appears antithetical to entertain the notion that God may not be the best foundation for morality. Earlier Philosophers like Plato asked a very important question concerning God’s relationship to what is good. He said, “is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved by the gods?”
This is known as Euthyphro’s Dilemma. A modern way of stating the question would be, “is something morally right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is morally right? If it is right only because God commands it, then this makes God’s commands arbitrary and moral principles are not self-evident. If God commands something because it is morally right, then this would imply that morality is self-evident regardless of whether God is in the picture. In essence, morality without God.
6. A mindset of faith often involves accepting claims about the human condition that could well be inaccurate or false. In example, while many of us can agree that we as people do not always live up to higher standards, that we sometimes act impulsively, and that we sometimes do morally reprehensible things, this does not actually meaningfully demonstrate that people are infected with a sinful nature. A belief in sin and a sinful nature carries with it the assumption that people are cursed and fallen from a prior state of perfection. There is no evidence for this claim. This is totally taken on faith. One can agree that people do morally bad things without accepting the idea of depravity. Are we all guilty of falling short of higher standards, yes. Have we all done things that we highly regret, yes. Does this make us sinners? No. To be a sinner implies that we can confirm that God exists, this doesn’t appear to be possible apart from divine intervention.
7. A mindset of faith often acts as if truth is only ultimately known and experienced by the ingroup. In other words, it is thought that some truthful things about the nature of reality can be hidden from those who do not adhere to the same faith position. This stops the conversation because now it is thought that those who are not in the ingroup are at a disadvantage. It is thought that the rest of the world is deceived. If one does not conform to the standards of the ingroup then this breeds distrust and they walk away feeling confirmed that the world walks in darkness, for only those who believe are in the light. Could this be arrogance? It well could be.