Christian Professor Dan Lambert's Definition of Faith

Why can't Christians agree? The following is from an older email exchange Dan and I had.

This faith thing is troubling me. What is it? In my opinion faith is what fills in the gaps of the probabilities. If, say there is a 70 % probability something is the case then to conclude more than that 70% probability is faith, and I reject faith based reasoning like that. To reject that kind of faith is to live and operate based on the probabilities. If there is a 70 % chance of something then that's all I can conclude and that's all I can use to base my decisions on. And so I could never give my whole life over to a 70% probability. I could only give 70% of my life over to a 70% probability. This is Lessing's ditch when applied to the past, as you know. Kierkegaard responded by acknowledging Lessing's point and therefore decided faith must go beyond what the evidence calls for. And that's what I must reject.


" is what fills in the gaps of the probabilities."

I actually think that’s a great definition and is the clear implication of Hebrews 11:1. Link
In their more candid moments Christians will admit this is what faith is all about, only now I say it's an irrational leap over the probabilities. But when they speak to skeptics they will switch gears in an attempt to define faith in such a way that it applies equally to their faith and the conclusions of non-believers in order to make their faith seem equal to the non-belief of others.

To them I have laid down an interesting challenge. So far they have not succeeded. Either their definitions are irrelevant, or, well, they are irrelevant. ;-)


Matt McCormick said...

So if I judge that there's a small probability that I have cancer, that elves exist, that the moon landing was a hoax, that I'll be struck by lightning, that Joseph Smith was God's prophet, that Obama is a Muslim, or that we are living in the Matrix, I can simply fill in the gap with faith so that I can dedicate my life to these insanities? Lambert has exposed exactly what is wrong with faith.