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Do I Have to Lose my Mind to be a Christian?

"Christian faith is based upon reasonable evidence. In this respect Christian faith acts in much the same way as other disciplines. As people acting on reasonable evidence encounter God, they find that experiment confirms their conclusions. Simple assumptions such as ‘science and religion are incompatible’, are not obvious to many who are experts in those fields."

Do you have to leave your brain outside the room if you go to church?

Christian faith is often today portrayed as if this were so. Faith is spoken of as irrational, and sometimes called ‘blind faith’. Some say that “there are academic and scientific disciplines that demand evidence, and then there is faith”. In practice it is not like this and never has been.

Christian faith is based upon reasonable evidence, and then extrapolates beyond that, or if you like, looks in the direction the evidence points, to draw conclusions about what we cannot yet see, and acts in the light of reasonable probability. In this respect Christian faith acts in much the same way as other disciplines. Reasonable probability then tends to be strengthened as God acts in the light of his character and promises in the Bible to strengthen faith, or, to put it another way, as people acting on reasonable evidence encounter God, they find that experiment confirms their conclusions.

Anthony Flew, a renowned philosopher and long term outspoken atheist who spent his career debunking the idea of God, can fairly be described as a forerunner of the so called new atheists. Only, he changed his mind. In 2007 he published ‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’. In it he makes a philosophical defence of a belief in God because that was where the evidence and the logic led him. He was not yet ready to declare himself a Christian, simply to say that he now found his atheistic ideas intellectually untenable.

It is not difficult to find outstanding philosophers, scientists, and historians who are Christians. This does not prove that Christianity is true, but it does mean that simple assumptions such as ‘science and religion are incompatible’, are not obvious to many who are experts in those fields.

Here are a few books to take you further if you are interested.

‘There is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’ by Anthony Flew (HarperOne 2007)

On Science and Christian Faith try:
‘God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God’ by John Lennox (Lion 2009)

On the arguments of the ‘new-atheists’ try:
‘Gunning for God: Why The New Atheists Are Missing The Target’ by John Lennox (Lion 2011)

John Lennox (Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University) has a series of interesting talks, articles and videos at johnlennox.org/resources

The website ‘God: New Evidence’ at www.focus.org.uk contains a series of short videos, and written articles on various questions concerning evidence for faith.