Distinguishing Faith from Foolishness

In the book Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias says something I took to be very profound.  At the start of his chapter "The Anatomy of Faith and the Quest for Reason", he offered the following thoughts:

"The noted atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell was once asked, 'If you meet God after you die, what will you say to Him to justify your unbelief?'

"'I will tell Him that He did not give me enough evidence,' Russell snapped.

"Bertrand Russell may have been an unusually hostile voice against all religious belief, and Christianity in particular, but his thirst for evidence or his demand for proof is not unique.

"For my part, I confess that I wonder more about those who seek no such support for the things they believe than those who do.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, who paths I have crossed in my journeys who have not only 'theoretically believed' in some divine entity, but have also made their commitment with heartfelt devotion.  'Gods' and 'goddesses' with ghastly features and attributes are venerated by millions bringing their offerings and prostrating themselves in worship.  I am confounded by such unquestioning, practiced because of a feeling that is engendered or is the bequest of their culture.

"On the other hand, I also grant that finding a hard-nosed rational justification for belief can be a tedious and sometimes hazardous pursuit.  But if truth is the motive for the search, when reasonably pursued, it has its rewards.  There is an old adage that says, 'It is better to debate a question before settling it than to settle a question before debating it.'  My own intellectual battles were rather necessary in a land filled with as many 'gods' as people.

"Unfortunately, for reasons justifiable and unjustifiable, individuals hostile to belief in God often malign faith in Him as the lure of emotion clinging to an idea with the mind disengaged.  They do not believe that faith can sustain the weight of both the emotions and the mind.

"I realize we are all built with different capacities for thinking on such matters.  However, that will not serve as reason enough to support one view over another.  We cannot evade the questions that opponents have posed to those who 'live by faith.'  They are justified in wanting to know what distinguishes faith from foolishness or irrationality, when no coherent logic is ever offered for one's 'faith'."

Are we prepared to answer people who want to know what distinguishes our faith from foolishness or irrationality?  If not, why not?

Scott

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