This post was written for the God Or Not Carnival.

The largest objections I’ve seen to the concept of faith revolve around these three issues.

First, that faith is somehow inherently unwarranted – that it flies in the face of logic.

Second, that faith, warranted or no, is inherently unbelievable – that it is not trustworthy.

Third, that faith, warranted, believable, or not, is even comprehensible – that we can’t know anything about it.

I’ll start with some statements that say this, and go on from there.


Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.
– Dan Barker, “Losing Faith in Faith”, 1992

“Faith is surprisingly difficult to define, but in a religious context, I think we can agree that it refers to one’s confidence in a belief for which their is no evidence. Thus, when someone refers to his or her faith, we generally interpret this as reflecting a body of religious dogma in which the speaker believes without empirical basis.”
– vjack, Atheist Revolution

“I reject this sort of faith as a destructive departure from reason that has dire consequences for humanity (see Sam Harris’ The End of Faith). To suspend reason by embracing superstition is to delude oneself into a blissful but counterfeit state of idiocy, one which history has taught us repeatedly leads to bloodshed.”
– vjack, Atheist Revolution

“All religions have flaws. They all can be argued to the point where logic forces the proponent to claim “well, you just have to have faith”.”
– Dave Silverman, NoGodBlog

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not out to bash these folks. I just selected a few quotes, to give an example of the general opinion towards faith from the skeptical community. I am, however, going to answer them. See, the general consensus is that faith, because of it’s second dictionary definition: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence is some sort of belief made out of whole cloth – a faith which simply rests on nothing.

While that definition does, indeed, exist, there is more than one definition of it. #4, if you’ll notice, says this: “The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.” This, when you interact with a Christian, is what is meant by faith – in one sense. In another sense, it is dictionary definitions 5 and 6. “The body of dogma of a religion“, and “A set of principles or beliefs.”

You’ll see some confused Christians say that they really have no reason to believe what they do – but, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, they really don’t. They don’t even know what they believe, in many instances. Part of faith is knowledge of the object of your faith. If you know the object of your faith, there is sufficient justification for that belief.

Spurgeon says, as I’ve mentioned previously, “What is faith? It is made up of three things—knowledge, belief, and trust.” The first component is what addresses this. This portion is addressed by theology – the study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions. This portion is addressed by philosophy – the critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs. This portion is addressed by a host of other systematic studies – which all delve into the nature, the object, and the veracity of knowledge.

Christianity has a 2,000-year history of studying these subjects, and the wealth of that study is incalculable. It is not embarked upon lightly, should not be considered lightly, and is undertaken with trepidation. The subject matter of faith is God – who tells us we should rightly fear Him. The same sort of fear which strikes awe into our very soul, which blinds us with it’s brightness, and forces us to our knees in reverent wonder. The study of God is no academic matter. It is a matter of grave importance. This study is what we are called to do, as Christians, and Theists – or, even skeptics. If your God is unknowable, your faith is worthless, because you have no basis for it. The very bedrock of Christianity is that God is knowable, and that He wants us to know Him.

The study of knowledge, the study of Creation, the study of mathematics, the study of… anything; they are all the basis for a Faith which is grounded not in “blind” acceptance – but in reasoned, knowledgeable, and studied acceptance of something (someone) proven trustworthy. I believe, because I “know Whom I have believèd, And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.” – as the old hymn goes.


Uhhhhhhhhhh . . . isn’t Passover about the slaughter of innocent children? Didn’t God use all sorts of horrible plagues just to tease the virtuous Job? It wasn’t just blasphemous deposing rebels who felt God’s wrath. For Chrisstake, He killed Himself and his perfectly innocent own Son. So He’s used that “technique” over and over; but even if it were only “once” I don’t see why any spiritually sensitive person would trust Him.
The Raving Atheist

This is the sticky one. Trust is something experientially determined. It can be given, without prior experience, but it’s veracity is determined by experience. So, the question remains, how can we trust God? Well, the answer lies in knowledge. Theology, as we’ve already discussed, is the knowledge of God. If you’ve studied theology, you learn what God is, and what He isn’t. God is good, but he is not evil, and etc. This, perhaps, is something I may have to get into later. I may use this for a topic when it’s my turn to host. I’d like to explore it more. For me? I trust God because I know Him, and I’ve learned about Him. I’ve studied Him, I’ve experienced Him, and I’ve read what He has to say about life. I trust His judgement. This is not a trust based on “hey, why don’t I just trust God” – although, in it’s defense, I’ll say that this is acceptable. God is, by definition, trustworthy. At least a inherently good God would be. My God is.


One good reason to not believe that God exists is that the concept of God is incoherent. The concept of God is like a round square or the largest number.
Michael Martin

“Is Christianity absurd in the dictionary sense of being ridiculously incongruous and unreasonable? It seems to me that the answer is “yes.” Given standard criticisms of Christianity and certain plausible interpretations of it, Christianity is filled with ridiculous incongruities and unreasonable beliefs and practices.”
Michael Martin

As Michael Martin, the premier “Christianity is incoherent/absurd/incongruous” debater exemplifies, there is a point where the objection is not that there can be no knowledge of, or trust in, Christianity (or Theism), but that the very concept makes no sense. There is a laundry lista mile long of the supposed “incoherencies” he’s listed, but, it essence, it’s a very old objection. Our brains aren’t functioning right, or we’re being deceived.

Plantinga has a comment on rationality to answer this: “What you properly take to be rational, at least in the sense of warranted depends on what sort of religious and metaphysical stance you adopt. It depends on what kinds of beings you think human beings are, what sorts of belief you think their noetic faculties will produce when they are functioning properly, and which of their faculties or cognitive mechanisms are aimed at truth.”

Basically, there’s a subtle truth that you learn when studying theology. God’s ways are not our ways. By this, I mean that what seem incongruous to us, may not necessarily be so, to God. We just might be wrong about our sense of coherence. God’s plan doesn’t involve our input, frankly. A lot of theological concepts only “work” when you look at them from a certain perspective. Things like Atonement, Sin, and Sacrifice only make sense when you grasp the concept of Holiness. Coherence, as shown above, depends on what you’re aimed at.

Faith requires knowledge of the object of faith – it requires trust in the object of faith, and it requires the object of faith to be understandable, to a certain point. No human knows everything with certainty – few know more than a few things with certainty. What we need to know, we need to know well enough to consider that belief warranted. What we need to trust, we need to trust well enough to make that trust warranted. What we need to understand, we need to understand well enough to make our belief that we understand it warranted.

So, let’s put it all together. Faith is warranted, because faith is based on knowledge. Faith is trustworthy if the object of that faith is trustworthy. Faith is comprehensible because you cannot have faith in something you do not understand enough to justify your faith in it. Faith without justification is simply that blind faith we’re accused of having. That sort of faith, however, is not the faith we have.

Faith, as a noun, means something else – and can be used in this instance as well. allegiance or loyalty to a duty or a person

A Christian must have faith in His God – that faith involves allegiance, it involves loyalty, and it involves duty. Christians are citizens of heaven, first and foremost. Our allegiance is to God, and only then to others. We must be loyal to what God is, and what we are asked by Him to be. We have to be loyal followers. We have a duty to do what He has told us, and to do things His way.

The first important issue, however, is truth. If a thing is true, it is therefore worthy of our faith in it. That’s the meat of the issue. So many times, we simply say “that doesn’t make sense” – and assume that this means something isn’t true. This isn’t the case, in many instances. Truth is the major determining factor in determining whether or not something should be believed.

If you say you have no faith in anything – you’re not being very truthful. You have faith that you if you step out in the crosswalk, a truck won’t come barreling in and run you over. You have faith in the good intentions and skills of the drivers on the road, whenever you drive. You can say you don’t have faith in God – but if you don’t know Him, how could you? Well, you don’t know the drivers around you. By that standard, you’d have no reason to trust them, either.

I can say this: Until you know God, you cannot have faith in Him. After knowledge comes understanding. If you lack the knowledge, you will ever lack understanding of the concept, in my view.

What it boils down to, to rephrase it, is whether the knowledge that faith claims to have is justified. Be it a priori or a posteriori, knowledge comes from somewhere. However, the important questions are, is that belief true, is it justified? Of course, I’m a foundationalist, so that would make perfect sense to me 😀

If something is justified, the core issue is “what justifies it?” As I’ve already said, in so many words, I believe that the nature of God, the knowledge of God, and the coherence of the whole “enchilada” do so. Inductively, along with my own personal (emotive and spiritual) experiential relationship with God, I can say that my belief in God is a justified, true belief.

That’s what you need to have faith. A belief, a justifier. That’s it. If you’d like to discuss exactly what those would be, and advance defeaters for my justification, you’re welcome to do so. I’d love the chance to talk with you.

I’m not going to list all of the components which undergird my faith in this post. If you’d really like to know, comment. Then, we’ll talk. Discussion is much better for unearthing things anyway. It makes the topic more lively. So, feel free.