Aron Ra, Christian Anti-Intellectualism, and Pistis

I’ve watched a couple videos (here and here) lately between Eric Hernandez (christian) and Aron Ra (atheist) on the definition of faith.

Eric argues, on the basis of Scripture, that faith is basically trust, which of course is not contrary to evidence and reason.

Aron argues, on the basis of its common usage, faith is blind and contrary to evidence and reason.

Since the two basis points are different (Scripture vs. common usage), there’s a lot of confusion in the dialogue. And for good reason.

What is Faith?

Words are basically instruments. They mean nothing in-and-of-themselves. They represent real world objects or concepts. So, it is possible that one word be used in a variety of contexts, carrying many definitions.

Aron Ra is not wrong that a lot of Christians today think the word faith connotes “blind trust despite there being no evidence, or reason.” If you don’t believe him, they show up in my comment section daily.

Eric Hernandez is correct in his assessment that, until recently, virtually no Christian would have ever agreed to this definition of faith. The reason is because that is not what the Greek word pistis, translated “faith” in the New Testament, means.

As far as common usage today goes, Aron is correct. As far as objective etymology goes, Eric is correct. But it seems they are playing different games to begin with.

Solution

I know a way to satisfy both: Christians need to stop using the word faith to mean “blind belief based on bad evidence.” I really tried to find a synonym for “evidence” that started with a “B”.

In other words, it is the Christians’ fault for the atheist’s confusion. Of course Aron think this is the definition of faith, Christians use it in this sense all the time. They are objectively wrong, yes, but still they use it this way.

In my experience, Christians do this because they think it is virtuous, or pious. “I don’t need reason, I believe on faith.”

What they don’t realize, is that just is a reason. And it is a bad one. They essentially give reasons as to why we shouldn’t give reasons, which is obviously self-defeating.

The moment you interpret a Scripture you are using reason. The moment you reject false doctrine you are using reason. The moment you say “Christ died for your sins, so repent and believe” you are using reason.

It cannot be avoided. But bad reasoning can be avoided.

After all this, I’ll end with some Scriptures that illustrate what I’m getting at:

“This beginning of signs Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” – John 2:11

The disciples believed because they saw with their own eyes Jesus perform a miracle. That’s not blind belief.

Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for, the proof of things not seen. For by this the people of old were approved. By faith we understand the worlds were created by the word of God, in order that what is seen did not come into existence from what is visible.  – Hebrews 11:1-3

People love to quote me verse 1 without verses 2 and 3 which clearly show that this kind of “faith” is not blind.

We believe God created the world based on “what is seen.” That is not blind. This verse is literally referring to something like the cosmological argument.

We can reason from creation to Creator.

 

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Published by Haden Clark

Husband / Dog Dad / B.A. Business Administration / M.A. Theological Studies / M.B.A. Finance

17 thoughts on “Aron Ra, Christian Anti-Intellectualism, and Pistis

    1. It is a claim. The evidence can be debated. I think the most charitable thing to say would be that you don’t think the evidence presented warrants belief. But we do present evidence.

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      1. The Kalam Cosmological argument is not a presentation of evidence in the form of an argument for God? I get that you think it doesn’t succeed, but it seems like you’re saying it doesn’t exist which would be absurd

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      2. It is evidence that you think fails, but still evidence…idk how more clear that could be. To deny that would simply be arrogant. You clearly just want to paint believers in a bad light in which case I’m not interested. Have a good day!

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      3. It is merely conjecture,as it cannot be supported and is thus not evidence,
        2 examples.
        We have geological evidence (among others) to demonstrate the Flood narrative in the bible is nonsense. There is no evidence for it.
        The resurrection claim for the character Jesus of Nazareth is merely a claim. It is unsubstantiated and has no supporting evidence.

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      4. The Resurrection hypothesis is supported by at least 5 facts that almost every historian agrees on, no matter their religious background. You are dismissing arguments and saying “See, no evidence.” Again, that is nothing but arrogance. Its one thing to say “I’m not convinced by the evidence.” And another thing to say “There is no evidence.” The first is rational, the latter, again, is just arrogant. I have to stop now, but nice talking to you.

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      5. An argument is not evidence.
        The resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth has no supporting evidence at all.
        However, as you feel so strongly, please present your evidence.

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  1. I actually agree with you, here. When someone uses the word “faith,” that particular person intends a specific meaning by its use. If I am in conversation with someone who says “faith” intending to convey “trust,” then it would be a fallacy of equivocation for me to simply pretend that they meant “faith” to convey blind belief.

    I’ve upbraided several other atheists on this issue in the past. We cannot simply insist that one definition for a particular word supercedes the intent of the person using it– especially since we very often complain about that exact same thing when Christians try to insist on a particular definition of “atheism!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since engaging with Christians over usage of this word I have since tried never to use it in conversation – for the very reason you mention – but rather use the word trust, which is more appropriate, as it is generally basd on evidence.

      .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have no issue with using the word “faith” to represent the sense of trust that one has in something. It is, quite honestly, the etymological meaning of the word and the vernacular usage for “blind belief” only came about after a corruption of use wherein the phrase “you just need to have faith” (which originally was intended to mean “trust God and your fellow Christians”) became so overused as to lose its early connotations and was instead understood to mean “just believe for the sake of believing.” Furthermore, back when I was still a Christian, I intended the word “faith” to imply my trust rather than to mean “blind belief,” so it would be entirely disingenuous of me to now pretend that it meant something else.

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      2. I intended the word “faith” to imply my trust rather than to mean “blind belief,”

        I understand, but you would have put your trust in the bible, for example: nonsense such as the resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth.
        In reality this trust is unfounded as there is no evidence for it.

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  2. Faith is upholding an idea for which there is no evidence or rationality to support it. Trust is the acceptance of an idea based on an authority like the Pope of a book like the Koran.
    Of course people can uphold an idea for which the only support is the word of an authority. That would be authoritative Faith.

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