Is Faith a Rational Choice?

It is assumed by some that those who believe could not possibly have reached their position rationally. Since faith is partly based on things that cannot be seen, and making a rational choice is dependent on evidence, this seems proof to them that faith is not a rational choice. However, how many of our day-to-day beliefs are based on things we have not seen for ourselves: things we have heard on the radio, or books we have read, or things friends have told us.

The definition of rational is “exercising one’s reason in a proper manner”. One cannot reject belief simply because it doesn’t seem rational to oneself. There has to be an acknowledgement that people who take positions that are different from our own are capable of reason.

The choice that we make, however, can profoundly affect our lives.

If I choose to believe that this whole world is only here because a series of unlikely events brought it into being and then a continual stream of fortunate happenings also brought about life in many different forms, and the ultimate thinking and doing creature — human beings — also came about by undirected events, I can marvel at how far we have come and wonder how much further we will go. However, the obvious consequence to blind chance is that death is death, and so this life is all we will have.

On the other hand, if I choose to believe that this world is a product of careful design, that there is an incredible, intelligent being who created everything, that this life is not all… the focus shifts slightly. There is now a sense of responsibility to the One who created me. If I choose to believe that there is a hope of life beyond this life we have now, then there is no more hurry to do everything and see everything and have everything now. I can take what is given and accept it and still hope for better things one day.

If we are here by chance, it is clear that down through the ages there has always been a desire for an afterlife of some kind and a higher being or beings of some sort to give life some sort of purpose and direction. Science can be a god — if we can find out all knowledge, we can create life, we can extend life, we can create a new world if need be… and although many inventions of science have done a lot of good, at the same time many have been destructive: chemical pollution in food, water; huge stores of nuclear waste; air pollution; global warming… It’s hard to feel confident in man’s wisdom.

On the other hand, belief in a God who created all and continues to sustain it, gives one hope for the future. Hope is a very potent force in one’s life. If you have hope, then you can get through today no matter what it throws at you. It doesn’t absolve a believer from doing what they can to be gentle with this planet we live on. It may give us more reason to make environmentally conscious choices because we were specifically put here to care for the earth and its creatures. We have a responsibility to fulfill.

So, perhaps the choice comes down to what you are really open to. Neither option is ultimately provable. The unbeliever can find many reasons to reject the idea of a God; the believer can find many reasons to accept the idea of a God. We make this choice.

Article by Julie.

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