“Andrew, if you were born in Afghanistan, you would have been a Taliban and would have bombed for your God! Faith is not about Truth but what influenced your upbringing!”

How can the truthfulness or falsehood of a fact be determined by where someone has grown or lived? While it is true that an environment can influence a person’s belief, assessment of the truthfulness of his beliefs should be based on the evaluation of facts claimed by the belief system and not the examination of influences that may have led to the belief. For example, Michael Faraday a British physicist and Chemist was a deeply religious man; his obsession of science was influenced by his belief that the underlying power of God unified everything in nature. His faith inspired him to perform a lot of scientific experiments to decipher God’s handiwork in nature.

Now, while someone may disagree with Faraday’s religious convictions it is worthwhile to note that they are what led him to discover electromagnetic induction and electrolysis. So, would it be reasonable to discard electromagnetic induction and electrolysis on the basis of Faraday’s religious influences that led to their discovery?

It is true that science and faith do not use the same instruments of empirical verification, however, it is important to see that they both present facts which can be assessed by  following where the evidence leads. So, although someone may have grown up in a region where a certain religion is practised, as he grows up and gets exposed to knowledge, he should make an informed decision concerning his faith. If a person calls himself a believer but without any reason for his beliefs, apart from carrying on what his family, race or people are accustomed to, then he or she actually does not truly believe! His faith is blind and a product of adaptation. Although there are many people who are Christians in this way, it is important to be aware that there are also some whose faith is based on evidence. Isn’t Faith scripturally defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1)?

That is why  some Christians have afterward converted to Islam and others who grew up as well-trained Islamists later converted to Christianity. Likewise, there have been atheists who later converted to theism  – Clive S. Lewis, Anthony Flew, Francis Collins, just to mention three examples.

Such is human life, we grow up and later decide for ourselves what we think is the best explanation of things around us. Similarly, True Faith ais not a blind assumption but an experience of Truth – “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Faith is not a blind hope; it is a hope grounded in reason – “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet.3:15).

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