Jumping the Gap

Believe as a Verb

I read some excerpts from an atheist commentator who was interviewed by a Christian journalist. He was answering her questions about the atheist advertisements that had recently come to Toronto’s transit system. She asked him about his choice not to believe in God, to which he responded, in effect:

“[We atheists] wouldn’t say that we have a choice in our beliefs. I’m sure that any honest Christian or Muslim would say that same.”

I do not say the same, and I am sure of my honesty.

I have concluded that I do have a choice. The option of disbelief is left open for me, and there exists no evidence which will force faith upon me. However, I have decided that I do have the option to believe (this statement, which requires a logical underpinning, is another story).

If reason absolutely dictated the correct conclusion about God’s existence, there would be no purpose in his concealing himself, and there would be no use for faith, which is bound up in the conception of God that most of us have. If God exists, belief in his existence cannot be an inevitable consequence of reason. As such, to condition one’s belief on irrefutable evidence is to purposefully choose unbelief.

It is not true that one may choose to believe anything, or that all choices are weighted equally. It is true, however, that not every reasonable conclusion is an inescapable one.

When people complain about the human condition, rant about the lack of evidence for the existence of God, and speak about not having a choice in their beliefs, I do not think they are being entirely honest. I do not think they mean “how can I possibly believe?” but “how can I possibly believe without feeling this way…?”

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One Response to “Jumping the Gap”

  1. “My faith is simply the empty hands by which I accept God’s free gift.” – Schaeffer

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