The Value of Faith

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Faith is what bridges the gap between evidence and belief for many people. It allows people to believe in that which they cannot prove is out there. It is the chosen vehicle, according to the Bible, for salvation. So how valuable does that make faith compared to evidence? If we were capable of presenting empirical evidence that God exists and has a plan for us, would faith be necessary? Would belief based on evidence save us the same as belief based on faith? If belief must be based on faith and not evidence, then faith is infinitely more valuable than empirical evidence.

What if you have faith in Islam? What if you have faith in astrology? What if you have faith that a spacecraft behind the Hale Bopp Comet is coming to pick you up? What is the value of faith then? Christians would say that faith must be placed only in Jesus Christ. Those who place their faith elsewhere will be rewarded with hell rather than heaven. So what is the value of misplaced faith?

For faith to have any value it must be placed in a proposition that is TRUE. Therein lies the problem with faith. How do you know you are placing your faith in a proposition that is true if the evidence for this proposition is not compelling?

Almost ninety percent of Americans believe in the existence of God. Of course they have to take this on faith because there is no empirical evidence to support this belief. Most consider their faith a good thing. But what if there is no God? What if there is a god, but it’s not the one you have put your faith in? Has your faith paid off in either case? A babies religion can be predicted with a high probability of accuracy based on geography alone. This fact implies that most people’s faith is a product of their environment, not careful consideration of available evidence.

Faith in a false proposition is worthless. You would think an adult who continues to believe in Santa Clause a fool for continuing to have faith. So how do you know you are not a fool for believing in the object of your faith? The only way to know whether a proposition is true or false is to consider the evidence for that proposition. For that reason, placing faith in any un-provable assertion is folly.

How do you choose between believing in Jesus, Bigfoot, leprechauns, witchcraft, Islam, alien abductions, the Tooth Fairy, gold at the end of the rainbow or the myriad other assertions that people have made over the course of human history? Try using your brain to evaluate some evidence. Yes, it requires more work than blind faith, but the results are less like rolling the dice and hoping you have placed your faith in a true proposition.

However, if you are still inclined to place faith in an un-provable assertion, I am God, send me money.

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