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Nobody knows – The Basis of Faith

It has to be the most fiercely contested debate since man took his first steps on Earth. Why are we here today? And how did it all begin? The world is awash with different views and opinions; each person taking a different stance from the next, resulting in conflict and compassion occurring in equal measure.

I’ve always thought that the best way to form an argument has to be by using evidence. Everyone can have their own opinion, but can they justify it? You could argue that an opinion is nothing if you have no evidence to back up your claims.

So how does this relate to the religion debate? For ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’ the key ingredient for a successful argument is evidence. However that is exactly what makes this debate so prominent in today’s society. With so little rock-solid evidence available to both groups, the debate becomes virtually un-winnable because it is so difficult to prove if there is or isn’t a god/God (which ever way you look at it).

To be honest, being a Christian is difficult enough when the symbol of your religion talks of how somebody was able to feed 5000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, turn water into wine and finally rise from the dead among other miracles. These aren’t supposed to be illusions; Jesus is portrayed as the ‘real deal’ and this forms the basis of the Christian faith because believing in his miracles is a lot more challenging than simply believing that he existed.

Some Christians believe entirely in what the Bible says. For example, Creationists believe that the world was created in 4004BC. Unlike many aspects of the Bible, there is significant evidence to prove this false, one being the fact that rocks among other geographical objects can be dated to a time millions of years ago, well before 4004BC.

But how can Atheists prove Jesus’s miracles false? Yes they can prove that parts of the Bible are wrong but there may be a reason for it. Today’s scientists are lucky enough to use the benefits of technological development to accurately predict and calculate different aspects of our world. However the writers of the Bible weren’t so fortunate. Therefore in hindsight, it’s a little too easy to say that scientists 2000 years ago were wrong.

Faith is a word that is probably overused today but I consider it to be the most important aspect of Christianity and religion in general. If Atheists can prove that there is no god/God, then the Christian faith is dismantled; how can you believe in something when it has been disproved? The same is true of Atheists. If Christians prove that there is an external, heavenly being, then Atheists will have to lay down their weapons and give up the fight. However, in both situations faith will cease to exist because it relates to believing in something which hasn’t been scientifically proven.

Therefore, until someone can discover ground-breaking evidence, the debate over religion shall continue. In some ways it keeps it all nicely balanced: many Christians will maintain their faith while Atheists continue their multiple investigations. But without evidence nobody knows; nobody can claim the victory in an argument that will surely continue long into the future.



7 thoughts on “Nobody knows – The Basis of Faith

  1. I’m not sure what you’re saying here – the main thrust of the article appears to be asserting that since there isn’t any significant evidence either way, no one can come to a satisfying conclusion, hence the perpetual religious debates.

    However you then mention that the Atheists can disprove parts of the Bible – evidence against Religion – and the Christians have the records of Jesus’ miracles – evidence for Religion. I may be wrong, but this appears to somewhat undermine your assumption that there is “so little rock-solid evidence” available.

    Perhaps then the fundamental issue that prevents a universal conclusion becoming available is that there is evidence for either sides of the argument, but they still conflict. The Bible is often labelled as the most historically accurate book ever written, with thousands of near-autograph copies, and for some this gives it enough validity. However for others it is not trustworthy and here is where there is subjective conflict of opinion.

    Atheists choose not to believe on a purely empirical basis – they feel God’s existence cannot be proven sufficiently. Religionists however believe not only that their religious text is valid, and (with Christians) that the account of Christ’s resurrection is genuine, but also that there is a God on spiritual grounds. This is what ‘faith’ is – religion fortified by a ‘feeling’ of God. Few people give of religion because they aren’t ‘feeling it’, however many convert due to what you might call epiphanies, St Paul being a prime example.

    That’s only my opinion on the matter, but I think that the crux is that it is not a lack fo evidence, but a conflict of it.

    Posted by JRW | June 9, 2011, 6:37 PM
  2. “But how can Atheists prove Jesus’s miracles false?” Apart from starting a sentence with “but” you’ve made a very serious philosophical mistake. It’s not Atheists job to disprove something, belief isn’t a default position. This is called the burden of proof, its fairly basic. Oh and you’ve entirely misunderstood the role of miracles within the Bible, have a chat with TJEF or anyone who has done RS A level.

    Posted by Gus Carter | June 9, 2011, 7:36 PM
  3. Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of doing RS for A Level but this article isn’t coming from someone who has read extensively on the subject. This is simple overview of my opinion on faith/religion and I don’t want to delve into more complicated matters such as the role of miracles in the Bible.

    Posted by Hugh Wolton | June 9, 2011, 7:50 PM
  4. Great article, Hugh. Well balanced and thoughtful on so many counts.

    I wonder, do you not think that the way we decide what we believe about *anything* is determined by ‘faith’? Faith in the predictability of the universe; faith in the reliability of my eyes; faith in the latest scientific developments; faith in best historical sources ; faith in a partner’s trustworthiness. None of these things are certain. We might argue about which ones are more certain than others, we might say some are certain enough and others aren’t, but in the end every decision is made on things like the balance of probabilities, hedged bets, or that elusive concept called ‘common sense’, none of them is unquestionable.

    Will my scooter brakes fail on the way into Oxford tomorrow? I don’t think so. I’ve got reason to have confidence in them – they’re Italian (oh no wait, perhaps that doesn’t work), I certainly hope they won’t – they haven’t so far (but then that is presumably true of every scooter brake that fails – by definition when a brake fails it hadn’t failed so far). The point is, I’m confident enough to take the scooter into uni tomorrow. And that will just have to do.

    This is how we make all our decisions.
    We may differ about where on the scale of certainty we place each one, but in the end, they’re all on the same scale….

    What do you think?

    btw – keep writing – it’ makes for good reading.

    Posted by John Adams | June 9, 2011, 9:10 PM
  5. wonderful article, just a few comments

    the whole thing on god’s existance is true, but christianity’s validity as a belief system has already been “dismantled” to at least some extent (alongside most other religions). indeed the world is not 6000 years ago, evolution and natural selection are proven scientific phenomena , and many of the values it stands for – homophobia, for example – have been widely discredited in advanced socities for decades.i think the whole point of religion is not whether god exists, we can’t answer that yet, and not whether your specific deity is the one of truth and legitimiacy, but what in turn, the respective scripture causes you to do. with the qu’ran for example, there are sections that speak of peace and acceptance…unfortunately there are other parts that invoke violence and jihadism. the case is much the same for the bible and the torah.
    basically.. whether god exists or not, his only worth in this world is to provide a moral code with which we can live our lives
    and often, it doesn’t
    (but sometimes it does)

    Posted by legend | June 10, 2011, 7:06 PM
  6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/student-media-awards-2011
    I think you should have a go, even if I don’t like some of the stuff you write I’m sure a lot of other people will. Keep writing.

    Posted by Gus Carter | June 11, 2011, 7:36 AM

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