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Dallas Willard Responds to an Atheist's Definition of Faith

Richard Robinson was one of the leading atheist philosophers during the latter part of the twentieth century. He died in 1996, and he knows better now, but in 1964 he published a book called An Atheist's Values, in which he stated: "Christian faith is not merely believing that there is a God. It is believing that there is a God no matter what the evidence may be." "Have faith" in the Christian sense means, "make yourself believe that there is a God without regard to the evidence." In other words, Christian faith has a habit of flouting reason in forming and maintaining faith in God.

Dallas Willard responds to this view of faith:

This reminds me of the definition of faith by Archie Bunker, a character on the 1970s TV show All in the Family: "[Faith is] what you wouldn't believe for all the world if it wasn't in the Bible." Our culture provides terrible teachings like these about the nature of faith, and they get absorbed into our churches. Then they haunt young people (and all of us, really) when they go into other contexts. So we should understand that [the Christian faith] deals with real-life contexts for real-life people and challenges them to be helpful to others who are in doubt and to deal with that doubt honestly, because there is an answer.

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