Atheists often criticize Christians for relying on “blind faith.” But the Bible actually commands that we should use reason and evidence.
Peter, Paul, Isaiah, Jude and Jesus himself are among those who command us to have reasons for our beliefs (1 Pet 3:15, 2 Cor. 10:5, Is. 1:18, Jude 3, Matt. 22:37). Paul even declares that Christianity is false unless the resurrection of Christ actually occurred (1 Cor. 15:14).
But merely knowing that Jesus is the Savior isn’t enough to save you from judgment. James says even the demons believe that God exists, but they “shudder” (James 2:19). They believe that Jesus is the Savior, but they don’t trust in Him. Belief that (head knowledge) doesn’t save, but belief in does.
The apostle John puts those two kinds of faith into one amazing sentence. After Jesus provides the evidence of His bodily resurrection to Thomas, John says, “These [signs] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The signs provide the evidence for belief that, so you have the intellectual confidence to trust in Jesus for eternal life. Thus, biblical faith is trusting in what you have good reason to believe is true.
We all recognize this distinction between belief that and belief in as we make life decisions. For example, before I asked Stephanie to marry me, I got evidence that she would be a good wife. But evidence didn’t make her my wife. I had to take a step of faith (trust) in her to ask her to be my wife (and in a momentary lapse of judgment, she said “yes!”).
God is not interested in you merely believing that He exists any more than a girlfriend in love is interested in merely being told that she’d make a great wife. God seeks a love relationship with us and won’t force Himself on us. That’s why if you refuse to trust in Jesus, He will respect your choice to remain separated from Him in eternity.
Ironically, while blind faith isn’t the Christian way, it is the principal vice of atheism—the worldview that believes, despite massive counterevidence, that only material things exist and the entire created order has no ultimate cause. I don’t have enough faith to believe that. (See Chapter 8 of Stealing from God)
Copyright 2007 Fellowship for the Performing Arts