Is Our Faith Unreasonable?

Have you ever read a book that deeply challenged your faith?

Last year I read not one, but two, books that did just that. The first was Why Evolution Is True, by Jerry Coyne. The second was The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, by Richard Dawkins.

These books were challenging to me because I, like many of you, grew up as a young earth creationist. I believed the Bible’s creation account was literally true. I assumed the evidence for evolution (specifically, macroevolution—the idea that species evolved into entirely different species) was dubious. I thought Darwin’s theory was far-fetched, unconvincing, and slightly laughable.

But then I read those two books, and I was stunned. Coyne’s and Dawkins’s logic was not far-fetched or unreasonable at all. Rather, their arguments were extremely compelling. Their interpretations of the scientific evidence seemed abundantly reasonable.

Wait a minute, I thought.
Could evolution be true after all?

As that uncomfortable thought began to sink in, I didn’t know what to do. Questions and doubts swirled through my mind. If evolution explains where we came from, then is God really necessary? Is Christianity a farce? Is our faith unreasonable?

The next several months were difficult. Every day I wrestled with those questions, but no matter what I read or who I talked to, the doubts only seemed to get worse. The more I thought about it, the more confused and frustrated I became.

Then, one day, as I was struggling with all that, I read this verse:

Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom. | 1 Corinthians 1:22

And the next verse:

But we preach Christ crucified. | 1 Corinthians 1:23

Jews demand signs.
Greeks seek wisdom.
But we preach Christ crucified.

Paul wrote those words nearly 2,000 years ago, but they jumped right off the page and hit me in a fresh way. They made me realize: I was trying to figure God out. I was wanting to 100% prove that what I believed was true. I was attempting to make reason and logic and intellect the foundation of my faith, but it just wasn’t working, no matter how hard I tried.

Jews demand signs.

Greeks seek wisdom. (The Greek word for wisdom is σοφία = sophia. It’s where we get our word philosophy = philosophia = “love of wisdom.”)

But we preach Christ crucified.

To a Western, philosophical, Greek-influenced mind, that is foolishness. How could a crucified person possibly save us? How could a man on a cross deliver us from anything? It makes no sense.

We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. | 1 Corinthians 1:23

Like many Christians today, I was approaching my faith from a very Western, philosophical, Greek-influenced mindset. A mindset that prioritized proof and reason and arguments more than anything else. A mindset that assumed science could either prove or disprove my beliefs.

But in my frantic search to figure everything out, I forgot that reason could only get me so far.

Ultimately, according to the Bible, it’s not just about what you think—it’s about what you believe.

Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. | Hebrews 11:6

Proof, reason, arguments—those are all good things. We should not be afraid to ask hard questions and look for rational explanations. We should of course use the brains God has given us to ponder difficult subjects, including creation, evolution, and scientific ideas. (See here and here for excellent posts on these subjects by Come Awake’s very own Joel Sam.)

But let’s always remember that if we are leaving faith out of the picture, then we are missing the point.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. | Hebrews 11:1

I still struggle with doubts and tough unanswered questions. Maybe you do too. But for me, that aha moment from 1 Corinthians helped take the pressure off a little bit. I realized I will never be able to come up with an airtight argument that proves my beliefs are true. Because if my faith could be completely backed up by a litany of verified, testable, agreed-upon sources, then it would no longer be faith.

Is our faith unreasonable? That’s an important question to consider.

But, at the end of the day, this one is even more important:

Do we believe?

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