It seems to me that for many Christians, faith comes in two stages:
1. The evidential stage
2. The relational stage
The evidential stage is like skydiving.
“Look before you leap,” is my motto.
Before ever jumping out of an airplane to dangle in mid-air under a giant hankey, I would carefully investigate all the evidence that suggests I’d be safe.
According to the United States Parachute Association, there were only 21 fatalities in 2010 out of three million jumps. That’s a 99.993 success ratio.
I’d also examine all the gear and the plane and the pilot and . . .
You get the idea.
Being the scaredy-cat that I am, however, I would still never take this flying leap.
My wife Sharon, by contrast, would love to do a jump sometime. I refuse to watch.
I have agreed to attend her funeral, however.
That was a joke! Do not think ill of me.
Skydiving is a good image for the first stage of faith because it illustrates how important evidence is for faith, though proof is never attainable.
To repeat: evidence but not proof. That’s how my faith works. Without evidence (historical, philosophical, scientific, experiential) that Christianity is true, I would not be a believer.
And without evidence, I would never be a believer in (Sharon’s) skydiving success.
Next week: an image for the second stage of faith, which is the relational part.