Many religious people trust in their spiritual authority for their religious beliefs. They don’t study the religious text for themselves. They don’t understand how their authorities came by their tenets, so theirs is a personal faith without proof. “All I know is that when I die, I go to heaven, right?”
Many people trust in science authorities for their findings. They don’t study science textbooks for themselves. They don’t understand the complex findings by which their authorities arrived at their conclusions, so theirs is also a personal faith without proof. “All I know is that we came from a warm pond and are descended from monkeys, right?”
Conclusion: believing without proof is not a religious issue, but an ignorance issue. Many secular and religious people jump to conclusions – which is another example of faith without proof. It’s just easier to believe in the conclusions without doing all the studying ourselves. It’s a human being issue.
The problem comes in when the conclusions are false. In the first two paragraphs, the conclusions don’t reflect the authority; both are wrong stances to take, especially the first paragraph, which is conditional. And that leads to problems when the wrong information gets out and others rely on it. Of course, there are plenty of strange religious ideas out there, and it seems that secular people have more due diligence than religious people to ferret out the truth. “Where is the evidence, Christian? Can you prove that?” is perfectly valid; in the face of so many contradictory views in religion, I can’t blame them for asking these questions.
Yet if the authority is correct, then the faith is valid. I may not understand all the ins and outs of healthy eating, but when I followed the nutritionist’s directions and switched to certain foods in certain combinations, then I lost 10.5 pounds over 12 weeks. Faith without proof is not a handicap; following the wrong authority is.
Certain secular leaders mock those who have a faith that’s without proof, not realizing that many people who follow them lack their own training and experience, and their followers are merely trusting in them and their conclusions. They are as clueless as some religious followers are; when we ask them for proof, they are equally silent. Do these leaders have a problem with that? After all, some of their followers cannot explain why they believe what they do. Their trust is in the authority being right, not in their own knowledge of the subject matter.
“God says it and I believe it,” doesn’t cut it anymore to those who want answers nowadays – people want a reason for the religious beliefs. “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear,” Christians are told in 1 Peter 3:15b. Fortunately, more than ever before, Christians in a broad range of sciences, political fields, archaeology, psychology, law, and more have applied their faith to their discipline and have emerged stronger than ever, and are eager to share their solid foundation with others. Skeptics applying their research and writing skills to point out the lie of Christianity have come away believing. Books about their faith journeys abound.
Faith with evidence backing it up is easier and easier to come by – but it is still the trust in Jesus itself that brings pleasure to God (Hebrews 11:6), not the evidence. If you simply believe God, you do well: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” Jesus said to the doubting Thomas. Which person pleases God most, the one who read His Word and acts on it as though it were authoritative, or the one who is constantly looking for more evidence to bolster his faith, but never really feels sure enough to believe?