Eric argues, on the basis of Scripture, that faith is basically trust, which of course is not contrary to evidence and reason.
Aron argues, on the basis of its common usage, faith is blind and contrary to evidence and reason.
Since the two basis points are different (Scripture vs. common usage), there’s a lot of confusion in the dialogue. And for good reason.
What is Faith?
Words are basically instruments. They mean nothing in-and-of-themselves. They represent real world objects or concepts. So, it is possible that one word be used in a variety of contexts, carrying many definitions.
Aron Ra is not wrong that a lot of Christians today think the word faith connotes “blind trust despite there being no evidence, or reason.” If you don’t believe him, they show up in my comment section daily.
Eric Hernandez is correct in his assessment that, until recently, virtually no Christian would have ever agreed to this definition of faith. The reason is because that is not what the Greek word pistis, translated “faith” in the New Testament, means.
As far as common usage today goes, Aron is correct. As far as objective etymology goes, Eric is correct. But it seems they are playing different games to begin with.
I know a way to satisfy both: Christians need to stop using the word faith to mean “blind belief based on bad evidence.” I really tried to find a synonym for “evidence” that started with a “B”.
In other words, it is the Christians’ fault for the atheist’s confusion. Of course Aron think this is the definition of faith, Christians use it in this sense all the time. They are objectively wrong, yes, but still they use it this way.
In my experience, Christians do this because they think it is virtuous, or pious. “I don’t need reason, I believe on faith.”
What they don’t realize, is that just is a reason. And it is a bad one. They essentially give reasons as to why we shouldn’t give reasons, which is obviously self-defeating.
The moment you interpret a Scripture you are using reason. The moment you reject false doctrine you are using reason. The moment you say “Christ died for your sins, so repent and believe” you are using reason.
It cannot be avoided. But bad reasoning can be avoided.
After all this, I’ll end with some Scriptures that illustrate what I’m getting at:
“This beginning of signs Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” – John 2:11
The disciples believed because they saw with their own eyes Jesus perform a miracle. That’s not blind belief.
Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for, the proof of things not seen. 2 For by this the people of old were approved. 3 By faith we understand the worlds were created by the word of God, in order that what is seen did not come into existence from what is visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3
People love to quote me verse 1 without verses 2 and 3 which clearly show that this kind of “faith” is not blind.
We believe God created the world based on “what is seen.” That is not blind. This verse is literally referring to something like the cosmological argument.
We can reason from creation to Creator.