All too often I will hear from theists (but not exclusively), that there is plenty of evidence for what they believe. And sometimes there is. In that case, well bravo! Now we have something to talk about. But inevitably, somewhere along in many discussions, the dialog comes down to their faith. That is, when the evidence that they demonstrate either has not convinced someone else or they are shown why the evidence is insufficient, they pull out the faith card.
But what is faith? It is the believe in things despite the lack of evidence. It actually may be, in some cases, the belief in something despite contradictory evidence. Creationism is a prime example. Despite the overwhelming evidence for evolution by natural selection, some people still think that magic man done it.
And, of course, creationists don’t have any evidence of their own, just lame apologetics. But the same goes for gods in general. What’s worse is that the evidence pointed to, even if reasonable, points to some vague higher power rather than their very specific deity with all of its personality. But they believe anyway.
There is a very short and quick response to such faith and the attempt to show such evidence.
If you had evidence, you would not need faith.
That’s right, folks, faith is what is pulled out because you have insufficient evidence. The whole idea of faith is that one believes something despite the lack of evidence. So if one actually did have evidence (as theists, creationists, birthers, etc do not) then their belief would never have to appeal to faith because they would have something demonstrable to point to and then we could all take a look at their evidence and deal with it.
Pulling out faith is akin to admitting that one has no rational reason to believe in what they believe. They have admitted that they have no evidence to bring. Sure, they will trot out apologetics, but these are only brought out either in some ironic sense (they are putting us on, perhaps?) or or because they don’t see the extreme irony of being people of faith trying to provide evidence. It’s almost like saying that one does not need evidence (faith, after all, is better in many of their minds) but insisting that they show evidence anyway because they know, deep down, that evidence is how the rest of the world (including themselves for every other belief they hold) is how the world makes decisions. It’s a beautiful little display of compartmentalization and irony, unfortunately not intended to be funny.
It’s quite adorable to watch. It’s almost as adorable as watching a small child pour tea for their imaginary friends while introducing you to them. It is play, so you say hello and drink some pretend tea (perhaps its supernatural or transcendent tea–what is the difference between the transcendent and the non-existent anyway?).
Except they are adults, which makes it a little weird.
So, the next time someone tell you that they have faith AND evidence, perhaps you could stifle your laughter at the joke, because they might not get the irony.