As I travel around the country delivering seminars on God’s existence, I am frequently engaged in conversations with people who understand that atheism is founded on many disproven assumptions. In the course of the discussion, the person will often say, “Atheism is founded on so many unproven assumptions. It takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian. I just don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” This sentiment was explicitly expressed by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek in the title of their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist (2004). While I understand and appreciate the motivation behind such a statement, I would like to suggest that it is ill-advised, and would urge Christians to reconsider framing the discussion in such terms. Here is why.
It is unfortunate for Christianity that numerous people misunderstand the basic concept of faith. For many in Christendom, faith is a warm feeling in their hearts when they have failed to find adequate evidence to justify their beliefs. Dictionaries have done much to ingrain this false definition of faith into modern Christianity. For instance, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary states that faith is “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof” (1988). The American Heritage Dictionary gives as a primary definition of faith: “belief that does not rest on logical or material evidence” (2000, p. 636). The idea that faith is a fuzzy, emotional feeling that is divorced from logical thinking and “material evidence” does not coincide with what the Bible actually says about faith (cf. Sztanyo, 1996). As Sztanyo correctly noted: “There is not a single item in Christianity, upon which our souls’ salvation depends, that is only ‘probably’ true. In each case, the evidence supplied is sufficient to establish conclusive proof regarding the truth of the Christian faith” (1996, p. 7).
The false view that faith is “a leap in the dark” without adequate evidence is the concept that Christians have in mind when they say that it takes more faith to be an atheist than to be a Christian. According to a proper definition of biblical faith, however, it is only because of the rational justification and logical evidence available that true Christians hold to their beliefs (see Miller, 2003). What it takes to be an atheist is not biblical faith. To be an atheist, a person must choose to completely deny the concept of biblical faith and adopt an irrational allegiance to that which has been repeatedly disproven….
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