In his book, A Manual for Creating Atheist, famous atheist Peter Boghossian defines faith by stating, “The word “faith” is a very slippery pig. We need to get our hands on it, pin it to the ground, and wrap a blanket around it so we can have something to latch onto before we finally and permanently subdue it…faith… belief without evidence…pretending to know things you don’t know.” Has Boghossian correctly defined the word “faith”? If he has, the Christian worldview is in dire straits! However, what if Boghossian, the father of Street Epistemology, is wrong? How could Christians prove it?

In my opinion, Boghossian sets up a straw man[1] when talking about faith. He seems to believe that faith is merely a blind, uninquisitive leap made by religious people; while this may be the definition that some give, from a Christian perspective it is inaccurate. First, the biblical text indicates that faith is more than just a “blind leap.” Jesus states in John 10:37-38 to those doubting him, “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Jesus doesn’t say, “even if you don’t believe me, follow me blindly.” Jesus provides evidence for why those in attendance should believe the words that he says.

Second, the definition of faith in the New Testament does not convey the idea of Boghossian’s definition. Faith, (pistis in Greek) understood rightly, is a strong trust based on a reliable source.[2] The biblical definition does not convey the notion of “pretending to know things you don’t know” it is just the opposite! It isn’t a blind trust, but confidence placed in a reliable source. Therefore, if Christianity is true, then we have a reliable source in God and therefore, should put our faith in him.

Boghossian adjusts the meaning of faith to attack it. However, a poll done by Justin Brierley of the podcast show, Unbelievable, concluded that most Christians do not ascribe to Boghossian’s definition of faith. [3] In the end, I don’t have enough faith to believe in Boghossian’s definition of faith…moreover, neither should you.

 

Footnotes

[1] A straw man is an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.

[2] Kenneth Samples. A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007), 82.

[3] https://twitter.com/unbelievablejb/status/475226668718895105