A friend of mine recently share with me: “I can’t allow the emotional/faith side of my head talk to the logical side of my head because they will kill each other. How do these two sides peacefully co-exist in your head?”
I think that people often assume that the scientific method is the basis of “logic” in a faith discussion. While the scientific method is a valid and logical method of discovery, it does not apply well to the process of evaluating issues of faith.
In my head, logic and faith collide in something that closely resembles a courtroom. The two sides square off against one another and I play the role of the jury. In my head, I pick the side that presents the better case. I am not absent of emotion, but I chose to give logic and reason the upper hand. I am not trying to make one side win…I try to be as objective as possible to listen to both sides before I decide.
However, I do not require judgement to be based upon the idea of “beyond a shadow of a doubt” as would be needed for a criminal case. Issues of faith cannot be decided with that high a degree of proof. Issues of faith have to be settled by a “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, I require just enough evidence to make it more likely (than not) that the case for faith outweighs the case for atheism (or whichever case you compare against).
Therefore – at the end of the day – I only have to be able to claim that it is more reasonable to believe than to not believe. After this is settled and I chose what to believe, only then are the emotions allowed to participate in my head. If the emotions start to drag me into doubting my faith, then I return to the courtroom and re-examine the evidence. Then I re-affirm my decision and return to “normal life.”
Here are some arguments that play out in the courtroom in my head, and some references to research materials:
- The theory of intelligent design (the watch and watchmaker)
- The lack of evidence for evolution
- The reliability of Scripture (Josh McDowell has hours and hours of material)
- Some claim that Jesus was a historical figure, but not the son of God. That is illogical. CS Lewis brilliantly argues in Mere Christianity that Jesus was either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic.
And, everything rises and falls on the fact (or fiction) of Jesus’ resurrection. I struggle to believe that the fear-filled idiot/goofballs called disciples who scattered and ran for their lives at the trial and crucifixion would somehow embolden themselves afterwards to steal his body…hide it…and then give their lives lying about a resurrection. And if they did, no one would believe them. Not unless hundreds of people actually saw Jesus alive and well over the 40 days following his crucifixion.
How do you justify your faith? That is how I justify mine.
Thanks for listening.