Lots of non-religious folks regard faith, spirituality, or religion to be evidence of abstraction from reasoning. So far as they are concerned, faith implies mysticism, superstition, belief in a non-visible spiritual world.
It is the case, however, that reason or activity of reasoning cannot be construed to be the same as evidence or provision of evidence. Take for example, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. It took all of eight years for the theory to receive any empirical validation or application. Throughout all of those eight years, the consensus — the theory was well reasoned, both mathematically and scientifically. Absence of evidence could not be deemed to invalidate reasonableness of the theory.
In the realm of Finance, the theory propounded in Merton (1973), which led to a Nobel prize remained unverified until 2005. Yet for all of those years the consensus — the theory remained mathematically and economically sound. Merton, he won the Nobel in 1990 ever before the theory was fully verified. Why? Absence of evidence had to be interpreted to mean people had yet to discover paths required for verification of the well reasoned theory.
Theories never are judged by existence of evidence. All truly original theories precede any evidence proferred in their favor. All theories are judged by their reasonableness, not by pre-existence of validating evidence.
In light of dichotomy between reason and evidence, faith (a theory of spirituality) cannot be invalidated by absence of evidence, meaning faith must transcend evidence. Faith, however, never can be required to transcend reason. Faith must be conceptually sound, consistent with already evident eternal principles, must be rational, internally consistent, well reasoned.
Take for example the fact that the orbit of the earth remains the same every day, has remained so for thousands of years. Add the fact that day always follows night. This eternal principle implies reasoned faith must have a stable core, a stable core which remains the same every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year.
Take for example sowing and reaping. Reaping always requires sowing. Sowing oranges never produces apples. Farmers choose what to sow, have choices. This eternal principle implies reasoned faith must believe in choices and consequences.
Take for example the fact that while Einstein’s theory enables us measure the speed of light, origin of light remains a mystery. So while faith need not understand all of the origins implicit in faith (e.g. how God came into existence), effects of those origins must be measurable (a visible creation means either of existence of God or some cosmic chance occurrence, hence is consistent with existence of God). So then if faith believes in violence for its propagation, the extent to which faith is well reasoned must be a function of outcomes of the faith. If God creates and only destroys sin, can it ever be well reasoned for faith to destroy God’s creation merely for the sake of inducement of other people — also all believed to be created by God — to believe in the Creator?
Take existence of water. There does not exist any substance like water, no substitute on earth. Presence of water is a necessary condition for availability of another planetary home within the universe. This principle of our existence implies reasoned faith must have a non-duplicable unique core that is source of its power, that gives life to such faith.
If faith is real, it must have power independent of people who wield the faith. If there wasn’t any life on earth, water still would be unique, not have any substitute. If faith (a theory of spirituality) is real, it would have power even if nobody believed because it is rooted in principles set in motion by God. Activation of power in faith requires, however, at the very least one believing person. Sometimes one person who truly believes can be better for actualization of power inherent in faith than thousands who assent but do not believe.
The Christian faith is one of the most misunderstood of all religious faiths, or as I prefer to characterize it, theories of spirituality organized into religions. The fact of the matter is, Christianity believes in reasonableness of faith, and importance of reasonableness for outcomes of faith.
Take Isaiah 1:18, which states:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Consider that the Christian’s God declares that a spiritual change can be outcome of engagement in reasoning based discourse. No demagoguery with this God who is willing to proffer reasons as to why He should be acknowledged. In exchange for willingness to engage in discourse, He promises good spiritual change, change much needed in today’s society. We have then that any accusations of ‘demand for worship not rooted in reason’ against the Christian’s God are rooted in mischaracterizations by others.
In Job 38:1–3, the Christian’s God declares (words in brackets mine):
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that darkens (weakens, renders ambiguous) counsel (advice, recommendations) with words without knowledge (words that are not well reasoned)? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me (brace yourself for a reasoning challenge).”
So then at the end of it all, it is clear that faith reasons and must be well reasoned. While Christians have at times deviated from the path, the belief that the Christian’s God only destroys sin and whatever chooses to hold onto sin, and the fact that the Christian’s God makes clear only He has authority for exercise of such actions, means Christians never can justify violence for propagation of their faith. Without ever lifting a sword for forcing of anyone to convert, it took about 300 years from about 27 AD to 325 AD for the Christian faith to become the faith of the Roman Empire.
In so far as power of Christian faith is concerned, at various times one man’s faith — Jesus Christ’s (a man for a period of 33 years only), Elijah’s, Elisha’s, Moses’, Samson the Nazirite’s, Paul the Apostle’s — have achieved what thousands of mere assenters regarded to be impossible. The unique replicable yet not duplicable core of the Christian faith — Jesus Christ. The power of the Christian faith, power which exists independent of how many people believe — the Holy Spirit.
Faith reposed in the name of Jesus Christ, who Himself is origin of the Christian faith is well reasoned faith, faith open to reason.