A lot of people try to make a distinction between what is based on faith and what is not based on faith – which is fine if your distinctions are correct. But that is not always the case. For instance, I have had more than one very well educated person (even PhD level people) try to make the case that Naturalistic evolution is based on factual science while Christian beliefs are based on faith. In making their arguments, they bring up all kinds of explanations of data to make their point. This includes such things as arguments based on natural selection, DNA, fossil evidence, and the list goes on.
In making their assertions, however, they fail to make a distinction between the data and the interpretation of data. They interpret their data in ways which depend on Naturalistic presuppositions. Now, that is all well and good if the presuppositions are objectively true. But herein lies the problem. The presuppositions are not empirically provable. They are faith assumptions. If the assumptions are not true, then the interpretation of the data is also not true.
Many examples could be given of this problem, but I will mention just one to illustrate the point. Naturalists insist that the theory of evolution is true and base their confidence on the concept of natural selection. Natural selection is the principle that living organisms are able to generate internal changes which allow them to adapt to their environment (within limits) in order to more easily survive. This is easily observable in nature, and farmers and ranchers even use this knowledge to create hybrid crops and animals. Christians and non-Christians alike can acknowledge this principle.
But the problem lies in the fact that this adaptation does have limits. There is a certain point beyond which the adaptation will not move any further. What Naturalists do, though, is assert that natural selection does not have any limits. Their belief is that natural selection is the principle that accounts for the existence of every species of plant and animal on earth. They believe that one kind of life form can evolve into another kind through natural selection.
The data that is scientifically provable is that natural selection does operate in the world. But Naturalists step beyond the science and make a faith pronouncement that evolution is capable of transforming old kinds into new kinds. There simply is no science to show that this is even possible. That is why the theory of evolution is still a theory. Data, itself, is truly a set of facts. But the interpretation of the data is always based on faith.
The truth is, in an ultimate sense (carried to a worldview level), every point of view is based on faith. There is no empirical way to answer the seven worldview questions.
So, now we get down to looking at “The Last Word on Faith.” The question we are dealing with when talking about worldview is not: Is it faith? Rather, the question is: What is the nature of the faith?
In dealing with the nature of any particular faith position, the real bottom line question becomes: Is it true? Just because we must ultimately accept a faith position does not mean that it is not objectively true. There is some way that reality actually exists and there is some point of view that corresponds with reality. The fact that we have no empirical means to figure that out does not change the fact. All it means is that we must also use non-empirical evidence (logic and human experience) as we try to discover the Truth. All three lines of evidence must work together. This is not, by any means, meant to play down empirical evidence. If something is scientifically shown to be not true, that must certainly be a part of the evidence on display. It is just that empirical evidence alone will not give us the answer.
Many people try to make a separation between faith and fact. That is a false dichotomy. Facts will always align with truth, and getting at truth requires exploration based on faith (answers to the seven worldview questions). There is some faith position that correspond with all the facts. The real separation is between fact and fiction, not fact and faith. When we understand that difference, we put ourselves in a position to truly understand the nature of faith.
© 2011 Freddy Davis