Are Reason and Faith Compatible? - Hard Questions

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Regarding faith, some people require 100% certainty. Others ask for blind faith. Still, some, if not many, say, you should have a reasonable faith. What is the foundation for a reasonable faith?

Let’s look at the famous Doubting Thomas.

John 20:24-29, Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

This is the famous passage where Thomas earned the nickname “Doubting Thomas.” But I don’t think this is fair. Yes, he wanted evidence that Jesus Physically rose from the dead. Wouldn’t you? I would.

But consider James, the half brother of Jesus. He didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah until after He saw a risen Jesus. Consider Paul the persecutor of the church. He went from persecutor to church planter because he saw a risen Jesus. So, Thomas may have doubted, but so did Paul and James. All the apostles doubted. When Jesus was arrested before his death, they scattered and felt defeated.

Christianity isn’t supposed to be a blind faith. Nor can it be demanded to have 100% certainty. Instead, we should look at the evidence for and against the claims of Christ and the Bible as a whole. This way, we can allow our doubts to strengthen our faith. The result is a reasonable and reliable faith.

Reflect: John 11:1-16. What is the point of Jesus’ story in v. 9-10? What does this passage teach us about Thomas’ conviction regarding Jesus (v. 16)?

Respond: How would you rank your faith? Blind? Doubting? Reasonable? Something else? How can you strengthen your faith through doubt?

Please share your comments below. I'd also love to know what your questions are so I can answer them in the weeks ahead.

If you want to share this Bible reading plan with friends and family, here is the link:
https://bttb.org/hard-questions



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a year ago ( updated a year ago )
I think an important part of having faith is the question, "In what do I place my faith?" I will hear people say "Just have faith." I cringe when I hear that because faith in faith is nothing. It's just wishful thinking. But as Believers in Christ we know the answer to that question; we must have faith in Christ. My issue however, is not if Jesus can but will Jesus do? I can ask, seek, and knock all I want but the question for me is "Will Jesus...?" I know Jesus has a plan for my life and he works for my good and God's glory. But sometimes I feel like Mikey' s brothers in the Life cereal commercial. " What's this stuff? It's supposed to be good for you! Did you try it? I'm not going to try it you try it! I'm not going to try it." But I struggle with being ok with not being in control of or privy to the plans for my good. Will I be ok with the path and results of those plans? I don't like surprises. I hate it when people try to surprise me with things or events because they rarely if ever turn out well and I am left with something I did not want and feeling like a jerk for not appreciating the love, time and effort taken to surprise me. But, they got what they wanted and I got what I didn't want. This is why I struggle with "Will Jesus do..." This is where I have to stay in the Word and draw closer to Jesus. He knows me better than I know myself, better than my friends and loved ones know me. He wants and will do what is best for me because He loves me.
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8 months ago
So good!
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a year ago
Faith is like a muscle you have to use it to make it stronger and stronger. I have faith because our Lord has brought me a mighty long way. But still there are times when I have to strengthen my faith muscle and I do dowt and then remember what our Lord has brought me through. Amen!!!!
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8 months ago
Great analogy! I'm stealing it. Lol.
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a year ago
The light is talking about Jesus, since Jesu is the light because he is the of the world.
Believe come by faith, with this I believe with hope that unseen is known by faith.
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a year ago
Verse 16 is interesting to me. I can see two interpretations which could suggest varying degrees of faith...

One of which would be a lack of faith by Thomas that Jesus can do what he said without being killed, making Thomas’ statement almost sarcastic. This interpretation would align with the notion and characterization of Thomas as “doubting” later in John 20.

On the other hand, his statement can be interpreted as unwavering faith, so much so, that Thomas was willing to die with Christ, and encourages the others to do the same. Even Though he may not fully grasp what Jesus is going to do, and to him it seemed like a suicide mission, he had a faith so unwavering that he was willing to die for it. Not many people are willing to die for something they don’t believe in to their very core.

I long to have a faith like the latter, but if being 100% honest, not sure I can say I do and still pass the red face test. This story in scripture helps me embrace my human nature to doubt and acknowledges the importance of apologetics for me. The Bible can’t truly be life changing until you honestly believe it as the breathed word of God. We should not be scared to ask the hard questions to one another as believers so we are equipped to win the hearts of unbelievers when the opportunity arises, yes, but also to embolden our own belief that the Bible is Truth.

I would love to hear other’s thoughts on the topic.
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8 months ago
I appreciate your wrestling with the text. I do not think Thomas was being sarcastic. He largely gets his nickname because He wanted to touch the wounds of Christ.

We all will struggle. Peter who saw Jesus walk on water struggled. It's a process that God understands.
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