Many of us students were brought up in Christian homes. We were forced to go to Sunday school, church services, and maybe even some sort of Wednesday night youth group. Attending these many events, from a child’s point of view, is often looked at as extraneous and meaningless. I am speaking from personal experience. But there comes a time when we take a closer look at Christianity and what it actually means to be a Christian in the 21st century. This happened to me during my second semester of my freshman year. It is during this transitional time period at which young adults begin to make decisions for themselves on what they do and do not believe about Christianity. Many quickly flock to the middle ground of faith and atheism, which is agnosticism. Others grow much deeper in their faith and feel called to live out their faith in their personal lives as well as their social lives. Others just think if they are a good person and go to church on Sundays that they will be alright in the end. Nevertheless, being a student with faith in an almighty God is more difficult than I anticipated.

One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of faith is “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” In the International Standard Version translation of Hebrews 11: 1 in the Bible, faith is defined as “the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.” Inherently, faith does not require proof, only belief. This runs directly contrary to what scientists would require for any well thought-out opinion to be valid. In science, in order to believe in something you have to have evidence to support it. Who would believe that vaccines actually helped eradicate certain diseases if there was not evidence to prove that it would? Who would believe that smoking causes cancer if there were not countless studies done on the effects of smoking? Nobody.

There are many things in Christianity that require faith in order for one to believe in them and accept them as truth. Faith that there is a God who loves and cares for humanity is the biggest one of them all. Skeptics have a hard time believing this, since one cannot logically or empirically prove that God exists with any hard evidence. Faith in an afterlife where humanity gets to spend eternity with their creator is another big one. Again, this cannot be proven with an in-depth analysis or research into the evidence for said afterlife (at least not yet). The last huge one is faith that Jesus was in fact the Son of God and died on a cross for the entire world’s sins so that we may have a greater chance to spend eternity with God when we die. Again, there is little evidence to support this claim (other than the four Gospel accounts by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, of course). This is also a huge difference that separates Christianity from Judaism and Islam that many people seem to forget. In those faiths, Jesus was not the Son of God, but a prophet.

In my experience, when an individual who has been indoctrinated into the belief that there has to be evidence for anything one believes crosses paths with an individual of faith, the person who has faith is regarded to be of a lower standard than the other individual for the reasons stated above; according to them, they are blindly believing in something that cannot be proven with hard evidence or facts, which makes them ignorant and senseless. They believe that these individuals should have thoughtfully considered all the possibilities through thorough analysis before they made their decision, and rightly so. People should not shy away from becoming more informed about topics of importance to them. They should be open to hearing all opinions and then make their informed decision. Some of the time, they have already done this. I know for myself I have done this on many different topics and eventually remained believing what I had already believed. This is looked at as being stubborn, when in actuality it is just the result of someone coming to a different conclusion than someone of the scientific mindset.

What I am getting at is having faith in a higher power is looked at as being close-minded and ignorant of “the facts” that pervade our daily lives. If one vocally rationalizes a coincidence to be the responsibility of divine intervention, weird looks are shot their way. Along with this faith comes the false notion that all who are Christian judge others based on the tenets of said faith. This also could not be further from the truth. Christians are called to discern what is right and wrong, but to also love their neighbor, regardless of whether they are a Christian or not. If anything, Christians feel sad for those that have not yet come to the realization that there exists a God that loves them so deeply that he sent his only son down to earth to be sacrificed for the world’s sins so that we may have a chance to spend eternity with God, our creator.

So next time you feel the urge to write someone off because they are too attached to their faith in God to see things from a perspective of reason and scientific fact, stop and think. It is hard enough to stand up for what you believe in and vocalize said beliefs inside the classroom or even at a social setting, let alone be criticized for your faith and looked down upon. Just because it is a different way to look at the world, does not mean it is the wrong way. Wait, listen, respond respectfully, and move on.