6. BASIS OF CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
Are Christians supposed to think about the basis for their beliefs? This question can be answered "yes" with certainty. Christian beliefs are generally products of:
Which are acceptable; which are not?
If the dentist informs you that one of your fillings is cracked and you allow him to replace it even though you don't have a toothache, then your belief in his truthfulness is based on blind faith in a learned person. In our complex technological society, we must base some decisions on blind faith because we can't become experts on everything. However, we don't generally use blind faith as a basis for our beliefs if a mistake could be life threatening or financially ruinous. When a false belief can have grave consequences for ourselves or our loved ones, we may consult available experts or "learned persons" but, ultimately, we weigh the evidence ourselves and personally make a decision about what is true or what represents the best course of action. Consider, for a moment, the interesting possibility that you, as a person, may continue to exist after the death of your physical body. Consider the additional possibility that this existence may be either meaningful or meaningless depending on what's in your heart when you die. Given these premises, a false belief about what should be in your heart will have grave consequences. If you deal with this possibility like you deal with other important issues, you will not blindly accept the opinion of a learned person. You might consult a parent, teacher, pastor, priest, rabbi, mulla or guru but, ultimately, you will personally weigh the evidence and personally make a decision. Blind faith in a learned person is not an acceptable basis for any religious belief because the stakes are too high.
Hegelian synthesis based on feelings, intuition and emotions is equally unacceptable as a basis for Christian beliefs because a very basic Christian belief is that the human heart is too deceitful to be trusted (Gen 6:5; Ps 14:1; Prov 12:15, 14:12, 20:9; Isa 32:6; Jer 17:9; Mat 15:19; Mark 7:21; John 5:42; Acts 28:27). The Bible never encourages us to trust the human heart.
What about classical logic based on the evidence of Scripture, tradition and personal experience? Some believe the Bible teaches us to replace reason with blind faith. In truth, the Bible encourages us, from cover to cover, to analyze the evidence using classical logic! The following examples will illustrate this point:
Deuteronomy 18:21-22We are encouraged to use classical logic to distinguish between a false prophet and a prophet of God. "If a prophet makes one mistake then the prophet is not getting his or her information from God" or, what is the same thing, "If a prophet is of God then the prophet always speaks the truth."Isaiah 1:18