"By appealing to faith, the Christian wishes to claim the status of knowledge for beliefs that have not fulfilled the minimum requirements of knowledge. Indeed, this is the only context in which the appeal to faith makes sense. But to label as "knowledge" that which has not been rationally demonstrated is a contradiction, because reason demands that nothing be designated as knowledge except that which can fulfill its fundamental requirements.
This is the essence of faith: to consider an idea as true even though it cannot meet the test of truth, to consider an idea as having a referent in reality while rejecting the process by which man knows reality. Regardless of the particular manner in which the Christian characterizes his version of faith, he cannot escape its irrational bias. His only chance of escape, to claim that articles of faith can also meet the requirements of reason, is a dead end, because it renders the concept of faith inapplicable. Faith is possible only in the case of beliefs that lack rational demonstration. Since faith must entail belief in the absence of rational demonstration, all propositions of faith--regardless of their specific content--are irrational. To believe on faith is to believe in defiance of rational guidelines, and this is the essence of irrationalism.
Because of this inherent irrationalism, faith can never rescue the concept of God or the truth of Christian dogmas. Faith is required only for those beliefs that cannot be defended. Only if one's beliefs are indefensible--and only if one wishes to retain these beliefs in spite of their indefensibility--is the appeal to faith necessary. If the Christian wishes to argue for the rationality of his convictions, he should stick with presenting evidence and arguments, and he should never appeal to faith in the first place. The Christian who calls upon faith has already admitted the irrationality of his belief; he has already conceded that his beliefs cannot be defended through reason.
If we cannot understand the concept of God, we do not come closer to understanding it through faith. If the doctrines of Christianity are absurd, they do not lose their absurdity through faith. If there are no reasons to believe in Christianity, we do not gain reasons through faith. Faith does not erase contradictions and absurdities; it merely allows one to believe in spite of contradictions and absurdities.
The appeal to faith solves nothing and explains nothing; it merely diverts attention away from the crucial issue of truth. In the final analysis, not only is the concept of faith irreconcilably opposed to reason, but it is evasive and quite useless as well."
--George H. Smith, (Atheism: The Case Against God, Prometheus Books 1989, pp. 123-124)
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