Any time I’ve talked about Christianity not having enough evidence, I’m told that I’m trying to take faith out of it. Well, I guess I am. That accusation puzzles me a little, because aside from the Bible’s teachings (the thing we’re trying to verify), what makes us think a supreme deity would require faith of us at all? If he wanted a relationship with us, why would it be so taboo for him to speak to us directly? Or even meet face to face? It’s also important to remember that the Bible claims God did speak directly to people like Moses, Abraham, Peter, Paul, and Jesus. People like Moses and Gideon were even allowed to test God in order to make sure he was who he said he was. So did those people no longer have faith?
I think the breakdown comes from the way we use the word “faith”. Even though I’m an atheist, I still think faith is important. For instance, I have faith in my wife. I have faith in my friends. This faith has nothing to do with whether or not they exist, but in their character. I can feel confident about how they would react in certain situations because I know them intimately.
In contrast, when religious people say that too many evidences would jeopardize faith, they’re talking about a simple belief in God, not a relationship. In other words, they’re talking about a being whose existence is still up for debate. How can you have a real relationship with an entity whose existence you aren’t certain about? I know my wife exists — the fact of her existence requires no faith at all. Instead, the faith I have in her is much more real. It’s built on a real relationship with real experiences.
If the god of Christianity actually made himself known to each one of us, we would still need faith. We would need the kind of faith attributed to Jesus — the faith of someone involved in an intimate relationship. Faith that means you can trust what someone says, that you can anticipate what someone will do or say. That kind of faith comes from truly knowing someone, and it’s the kind of faith that is sadly lacking in all religions because at the end of the day, they can’t be certain that the object of their “faith” is even there. It reminds me of the following quote:
The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
— Delos Banning McKown