Faith Paradox

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”.-John 20:29 ESV

This verse, and many other verses that seem to exemplify blind faith, create a paradox for me. It seems that that faith is viewed as a virtue, but faith can reach a level of being unreasonable and thus unrighteous. Let me give you an example.

Christianity seems to be okay with casting doubt on instances of faith with a weak foundation. The parable of the seeds and various soils is often used as an example of this in modern Evangelical churches. But how does this help poor Thomas, who is being spoken to by Jesus in the above passage, since it seems like Thomas just wanted a rich and enduring soil to have the seed of knowledge planted on? This is where faith can get confusing. If I promise you apples but I don’t seem to be able to provide apples, because you have no evidence that I can provide apples, then you will not have faith in my ability to give you apples. This is where evidence can bolster faith. And, it would in fact, seem like the most devoted of followers are those who truly have evidence for what they believe. But at the same time it seems like the most faithful are those who do not need any evidence.

Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Faith Paradox

  1. Ian says:

    Let’s back up a bit and look at the context of that verse. The disciples all saw Jesus except Thomas, and when he came back, they all told him what had happened. Now Thomas could have gone and looked at the empty tomb, and remembered when Jesus told him and the twelve that He would rise from the dead. He still said he’d only believe it if he could touch the risen Jesus. Now this is going beyond the level of being a critical thinker, this is being stubborn. Thomas had plenty of evidence. Then Jesus rebukes Thomas.

    Now as you say, there are plenty of places in the NT where critical thinking is encouraged (e.g. Acts 17:11). Read the whole of Hebrews 11 (not just the first verse). People that had no reason to doubt God are role models for faith. This is because faith means just “trusting God”. Thus, a faithful person gives their life to Jesus, trusting that God will make it worth it in the end.

    • Trevor Adams says:

      Yes, I can see what you have to say about Thomas specifically, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the paradox. Let’s say you believe something for 5 solid reasons. Does the person with 4 reasons have more faith than you? At what amount of reasons are you the most faithful without being misguided? It seems that if you believe for no reason at all you have the most faith. At the same time, if you believe for no reason at all, you seem to be doing something unwise and maybe even wrong.

  2. Anguspure says:

    It seems to me that there is a little bit of misunderstanding here about the nature of faith in a belief, or more to the point: faith in a person …. and the nature of relationship.
    Jesus’ chiding of Thomas should be seen in the context of an existing relationship whereby it could be expected that Thomas could simply trust his friends to be telling the truth, with or without evidence.
    For example: I am more likely to believe that a good friend is telling me the truth about an extraordinary event than some stranger because I know that my friend will be unlikely to tell me a deliberate lie, whereas I do not know this of a stranger.
    Clearly Thomas did not see things this way and so Jesus took pity on him in his lack of relationship and gave him the evidence he needed to reestablish his trust in his friends.
    For me to not be able to trust my friends to tell the truth is a sad state of affairs, and in fact betrays how I feel about those whom I am in relationship with.
    In this way it can be seen that in the context of a relationship it is more blessed to be in a relational situation where less evidence is needed in order to be congident of the truth.

Leave a Reply to Ian Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>