We live in a culture that places a lot of importance on holding rational beliefs based strictly on evidence. In his famous 1877 essay “The Ethics of Belief,” W.K. Clifford states that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” Clifford’s essay is directed against all those who place value on faith and religious belief apart from evidence.
Our verse for today was Jesus Christ’s response to His disciples’ question as to who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. His view is that unless one has the faith of a little child, one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. And He goes on to say that “whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). From Jesus’ point of view, when one is confronted with the truth of the Gospel and God’s Word, one should accept it in faith as a little child, without any attempts to determine if there is sufficient evidence to accept it. After all, one should never question God’s veracity.
How should the Christian who takes Jesus at His word respond to someone like Clifford? Perhaps the first thing that should be said is that Clifford himself does not escape taking a position of faith. His faith, however, is not in God’s Word, but in the word of human reason. His belief that only rational beliefs based on evidence should be accepted cannot itself be a rational belief based on evidence. It is a belief born of faith—child-like faith in the ability of human reason to show us the way in the world.
Everyone, then, even W.K. Clifford, has child-like faith. It’s just a question of what that faith is placed in. A decision must be made. Upon whom will you place your faith? Upon whom will you entrust your present and future well-being? Will you have faith in the word of fallible and limited human beings and their human reasoning? Or will you have faith in the Word of the infallible and unlimited God of heaven and earth?
Inspirational Image of the Day