Faith, the writer of Hebrews says, is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. These attributes leave skeptics scratching their heads. Assurance and conviction are the bedrock of every belief system, but for many it must be the result of rational thought or scientific proof. Hope is too elusive and the unseen unquantifiable. This gives rise to accusations of blind, irrational faith, but the apostle John assured us that his testimony was true because he saw and touched the life of Christ. God is in the evidence business, just not in the way the world demands it. There is a difference between evidence and scientific proof.
God has displayed his attributes and character in creation. He has appeared to specific people throughout history. He has descended and lived among us so we could see and behold the glory of His Son. He has sent his Spirit to live and work in those who follow Him. The evidence of God is all around us, bread crumbs that lead us to his presence. Evidence is the accumulation of facts and experience that lead to a specific conclusion.
Scientific proof, on the other hand, is a series of reproducible practices that lead to the same result. This makes faith difficult because God isn't in the habit of repeating himself. At least not in the way science demands.
This doesn't mean that science and faith are in opposition. Science as a vehicle of observation should lead us to stand awed in the magnitude of God's power and the precise detail of His creation. Science explores the realm of the material and gives evidence toward the immaterial.
Sin, however, blinds men to their need of a savior. The age old struggle to break away from God leads him into darkness and pulls Him away from the truth. Faith, then, is ridiculed, dismissed, and labeled irrelevant. The "educated" need to lead the poor misguided and uneducated away from their myths and fairy tales into the light of rationalism. God's word is scrutinized and analyzed to prove that it isn't what it says it is.
The onslaught of scientific materialism can be wearing on the most staunch man of faith, but its real danger is on the young impressionable minds of our children. Television, music, books, video games, news, and schools are tools that are masterfully used to undermine faith. Even the recent release of biblical themed movies subtly present an antiChristian message. We hale them victories for the Christian community, but small seeds of doubt are planted, and if parents don't talk with their children those seeds can grow into disbelief.
For this reason the Apostle Paul fell to his knees and with confidence asked the Father to strengthen their inner beings. Faith is fought from the inside out. We struggle daily for Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith. It is a battle that is waged against vain philosophies, skepticism, and sin. We are to cast down strongholds and flee lusts. But it is a battle lost without the power of God's riches working in us through the Spirit. We can not stand alone. We need the Spirit and the body of Christ.
Assurance and conviction of hope and the unseen are two sides of the same coin. We don't follow in blind faith, we don't leap without looking, instead we believe the testimony of those who have seen and heard and give voice to the evidence that is all around us. I'm just saying...
Eph. 3:17a "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith"