Leap of Faith

Jack Myhre

In the classic 1989 film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, one scene depicts Jones teetering at the edge of a massive precipice—to cross to the other side, he has to step into the thin air and trust that an invisible bridge will appear.  “It’s a leap of faith,” Jones mumbles. But, as the movie’s fearless adventurer, Jones goes through the gauntlet: he closes his eyes, places his hand on his chest, and steps off the cliff.  Miraculously, a bridge appears.  

Many in the modern world perceive the Christian faith as essentially a step off a precipice, a blind leap of faith into the unknown.  Ever since philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment delineated a separation between religious faith and human rationality, the prevailing view is that, at best, belief in God represents merely a private, personal matter separate from the “real” world of science, logic, and civic society.  At worst, the argument goes, faith in God actually demands intellectual capitulation, a view accentuated by the rise of Darwinism in the 19th century.  

But is that really the case? Is faith in God merely a shot in the dark? 

Far from it.  The Christian worldview, grounded in a biblical understanding of God and of His creation, most consistently aligns with the reality we observe and the evidence drawn from science, philosophy, ethics, and real-world human experience.  Believing in God is not a leap in the dark; rather, the beauty of the Christian faith stems from its power to impart meaning to the world we live in.  As C. S. Lewis writes in the final lines of his essay, “Is Theology Poetry?”: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  Through faith in the Christian God, we most fully embrace our innate human rationality, for God is the One who created and sustains our reality in the first place.  Because I believe in this rational God who wove logic, order, and truth into the very fabric of the universe, I also believe in the necessity for both Christians and non-Christians to  know why we believe what we believe and to know how to present those beliefs to a skeptical world.  

The notion of apologetics—a field of study that involves the use of reason, logic, and evidence to explain the Christian faith—originates in the example of Jesus himself.   Matthew 11 describes John the Baptist, the very forerunner of the Messiah, sending messengers to Jesus to ask if He really was who he claimed to be.  In response, Jesus says, “Go and tell John what you hear and see” (italics mine), a direct appeal to the human ability to understand the world.  Indeed, the Incarnation itself represents God bursting into the pages of human history.  As John 1:14 says, “the Word became flesh,” born as a Jewish baby in a particular town at a particular moment in time—here was a God who could be felt, embraced, spat upon, nailed to a Cross.  The entirety of the Christian faith ultimately hinges on a historical event—the Resurrection—with factual evidence that indicates it really did occur. (For those interested to in learning more about this evidence, I would recommend reading The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and Evidence for the Resurrection by Josh and Sean McDowell.)  To address the Christian faith with integrity, one has to examine this evidence, and regardless of the conclusion, this pursuit is far cry from a leap in the dark.  

The same reasoning applies to science, philosophy, ethics, and other fields of knowledge.  Because Christianity as a worldview makes factual claims about every aspect of life, we should expect there to be evidence in those fields to either support or refute these claims.  Jesus either is the resurrected Son of God, or He is a lunatic, or worse, an evil liar.  The Bible either is the divinely inspired story of redemption, or it’s an outdated, culturally offensive text.  We are either immortal beings created in the imago Dei, the very image of God, or we are simply assortments of atoms.  These are real claims with tangible consequences, and there exists real evidence pointing, in my view, to the existence and truth of the Christian God.  As a Christian, this makes total sense to me—after all, if I really trust that God is who He says He is, then shouldn’t I expect to see His fingerprints all over the world, from the intricacy of molecular machine to the evidence of an empty tomb? 

Whether you are a Christian, agnostic, atheist or anything in between, do not let another day slip by without honestly examining why you believe what you believe.  Test your worldview and see whether it aligns with the evidence from reality.   Trace the implications that logically extend from your belief system and ask whether they are ones you are willing to accept.  Pursue truth, whatever the cost.  

My own honest exploration of the evidence leads me again and again to the Christian God, the One who designed human rationality, who defines our reality, and who wants each individual to know truth as embodied in the person of Jesus Christ.  As J. Warner Wallace, a cold-case detective turned Christian, once said: “I’m not a Christian because it ‘works’ for me….I’m a Christian because it is true.”  

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