For many thoughtful Christians, faith comes in two stages — the evidential and the relational.
Last week I wrote about the evidential stage. It is analogous to skydiving: You examine all the evidence that skydiving is safe before you take the plunge, er, leap.
The relational stage of faith comes second and can be compared to a wedding ceremony: You walk down the aisle and say your “I-do’s” to Jesus.
A commitment is made. A covenant is enacted. You officially become a Christian. God welcomes you into the family of faith.
This relational stage is indispensable because it takes us beyond the mind to the heart — beyond mental assent and into friendship with God.
Atheists often tell me that this second (relational) stage is all I have. They deny that the evidential stage is relevant or even possible.
They are fond of saying that faith, by definition, is a blind leap. That there can be no evidence. It’s a clever trick of logic on their part:
1. define faith in a certain narrow way.
2. force me into that definition.
But I tell them it’s my faith, and if I have evidence to back it up, that’s my business. Nor can they tell me otherwise.
Nor should you let them tell you otherwise. If they cannot understand the idea of faith being supported by evidence, that is their tough luck.