How can faith be rational?

Skeptics often object that belief in the Christian God, or any god at all, is a matter of having blind faith without any rational reason for one's beliefs. But faith doesn't have to be blind. God created us with thinking minds and he wants us to use them, and he gives us reason to believe in him.

How can people start to believe in God?
How can God hold atheists and the unreached accountable for rejecting him?

We're all given clues that prompt us to seek God. We all wonder how the universe got here and why we ourselves are here. We all wonder if there's a larger meaning or purpose to life. Nearly everyone lives in a society where there is a concept of God and where people talk about God and spirituality. These questions prompt us to think about God and ask questions like "Does God exist?" and "How can I communicate with God?" In addition, many people have access to the Bible, which claims to record the words and actions of God, and have heard of Christianity or even interacted with Christians.

People can choose to act on these clues by praying and continuing to ask questions and look for answers. Those who have exposure to Christianity can investigate it by talking with Christians, attending church, reading the Bible, etc. We continually make choices about whether we will seek God and draw closer to him or not: we choose to do right or wrong, to think and talk about God or not, to pray or not, etc. These are the choices God will hold us accountable for. However, he will judge people according to the number of clues that were available to them, so those who have heard the Gospel will be held to a higher standard than those who have never heard of Christ (Luke 12:47-48; see also What happens to the unreached?).

How can one come to rationally believe in God?

Suppose a person acts on the clues described above and starts to investigate Christianity. They can learn more about it in a number of ways. If they attend church and/or interact with Christians, they can determine if Christians' faith is genuine and life-changing. If those Christians are loving, joyful, etc., particularly if they were known to not be that way before they became Christians, that's reason for the person to consider that Christianity's claims could well be true and continue investigating. If the person reads the Bible, they can compare what the Bible says about life, human nature, etc. with their own experiences and see if those parts are true; they can also research its historical accuracy. If the parts they can immediately verify are true, there is reason for believing that the rest of it could be true as well.

Most importantly, if the person asks God to reveal himself to them and enable them to know who he is, God can interact with them in an individual way that gives the person further reason to believe. God, as an omniscient teacher, knows what will be convincing evidence for each person, and knows what lessons they need to learn (and the best way for them to learn) in order to come to believe in him. This experience with God gives the person reason to believe God exists and is willing and able to teach them and help them; it also confirms some of what the Bible says about God and his character.

The investigator who has done all of the above has plenty of reasons for believing in God: they've seen the effects of his interaction with others, their experience (and possibly research) has so far confirmed what the Bible says, and they've personally interacted with him. This evidence, not to mention other reasons for believing that one may discover, is enough for any Christian to believe there's a rational basis for their faith.

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