Mark Twain once said: “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” This typifies our cultural view that faith and reason are two entirely separate parts of human experience. As a result, people associate reason with facts and knowledge, and faith with mere belief, often in spite of reason.
The list below illustrates this division:
- Faith / Reason
- Beliefs / Facts
- Feelings / Knowledge
- Irrational / Logical
- Religion / Science
Unfortunately, many Christians have accepted this division between faith and reason. This results in doubt and uncertainty that the gospel message of Jesus can inform “real world” experience, or stand up to scrutiny against the prevailing ideas that dominate our culture.
This guide is designed to help you dismantle this false division between faith and reason, and learn to:
- Recover the biblical view which presents faith in Jesus as coming to “know the truth” rather than a “leap of faith”
- Grow in confidence that faith in Christ can withstand skeptical scrutiny
- Respond to skeptical challenges or objections from any who question your faith
Is belief in God a “leap of faith”?
Before we can answer this question, we need to first identify the main difference between a cultural and biblical view of faith.
How our world views faith
Our culture seems to associate faith with personal convictions, courage to persevere in the face of adversity, or following our “inner voice”. It believes that faith only belongs to religion or spirituality and deals with matters of the heart. Seen this way, faith is exercised using our feelings, guided by our intuition.
The common view today is that faith is a pure act of the will. Like a sheer act of self-generated conviction to believe something is true, regardless (and often in spite of) what facts and reason tell us. In this sense, faith and knowledge are treated like two opposite forces, where faith is based on what we feel, and knowledge on the facts we know.
How the Bible presents faith
The biblical teaching about faith is the exact opposite. It tells us that God has revealed the true facts about himself, the world, and our lives in relationship to both. He has given us a true knowledge of himself and what he’s like in the Scriptures, and ultimately in the person of Jesus, his Son. As Jesus said, “…the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37), and “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Biblical faith, therefore, is always presented as our response to and trust in the true facts that God has revealed to us through Jesus and the Bible.
Conclusion on belief in God as a leap of faith
You now have an understanding of culture’s definition of faith. You also have a working definition of biblical faith that will give you a solid foundation on which to grow your own faith in Jesus Christ.
“Faith…is the art of holding on to things your reason has accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”
—C. S. Lewis
Faith is demonstrated when we consciously bring our lives into living agreement with those facts, regardless of what our feelings or circumstances may lead us to believe. C.S. Lewis says it well:
“Faith…is the art of holding on to things your reason has accepted, in spite of your changing moods” (Mere Christianity, p. 121).
Read more: Why is Living by Faith so Difficult?