Editor's Note:  

Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and that faith is superior at determining truth. The term Fideist, (one who argues for Fideism is very rarely self-applied.

"If you believe hard enough
in fairies, Tinkerbell will appear"
From Peter Pan pantomime

Alvin Plantinga defines "fideism" as "the exclusive or basic reliance upon faith alone, accompanied by a consequent disparagement of reason and utilized especially in the pursuit of philosophical or religious truth." The fideist therefore "urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious," and therefore may go on to disparage the claims of reason. The fideist affirms that reason cannot achieve certain kinds of truth, which must instead be accepted only by faith. Plantinga's definition might be revised to say that what the fideist objects to is not so much "reason" per se but Evidentialism: the notion that no belief should be held unless it is supported by evidence.

Irrational Faith

I doubt that anyone knows better than me that Christadelphians are overwhelmingly Fideists. I receive approximately five hundred Christadelphian emails per year complaining about articles on this website and almost all of them rely on Fideistic reasoning to attempt to show me that I am wrong to think that Atheism is a correct way to look at life.

The repetition in these emails is amazing and if they did not all come from different email addresses one might think that the same person was writing them all. They nearly all use the same Bible quotes to prove their theses that:

1. Rational evidence for the existence of God is not necessary. (Hebrews 11:1)

2. The two thousand year delay in Christ's return and our ridiculing the idea that he ever will return is proof that we live in the last days. (2 Peter 3:3-6)

3. That scientific evidence concerning Evolution and anything else that contradicts the Bible is by definition false and should be repudiated by Christadelphians.  (1Corinthians 3:19)

I could go on, but I won't; you get the idea.

Instead, let's have an example of raving Christadelphian Fideism in action so that you can see what I mean. It is a lengthy quotation because I want you to fully understand the workings of an extremist Christadelphian Fideistic mind:

" We have the Bible because that is God revelation about His work with us relating to salvation. His work in nature; well we don't have anywhere near the same level of revelation, and you can have all the degrees you like and really all you have acquired is "the wisdom of this world", which unfortunately is "foolishness with God"...............In reality, man with all his learning is never even going to come close to understanding what God has done (Rom 11v33), so with man's limited scope there is not much to put faith in................Most of this is just the musing of man, with little (if none) scriptural support and so the vain babblings fill more and more pages by the minute. Eg, there is no point making what happened to the dinosaurs a matter for argument if it is not revealed in the Bible. So, let's stop beating each other up about things that don't relate to our salvation, and get into studying the wonderful things of the scriptures, rather than trying to reconcile something that calls into question some simple truths in the Bible................. The world by its wisdom is moving further away from God, not towards Him. If it was true that science expresses nature correctly, and nature is from God, then science would be moving closer to God.................. I will say unashamedly that I will put my faith in the Bible and will interpret everything in this world through its wisdom…whether that be politics, society or even science. If I can’t harmonise anything with the Bible, I believe it has to be rejected................ Everything must be seen through God’s eyes................ I am happy to say that science can disprove the resurrection from the dead all it likes, but if the Bible says it happened, it did! ....................................... I can't change in my mind that there is a line that I should never cross. That line is the simplicity of God's word.....................In the end, its Christ crucified, or nothing. .................maybe that is the test God is giving us in the last days, to see who we put out trust in." (1)

- Did you get that last point? This Christadelphian Fideist thinks that scientific evidence that contradicts his faith may be God's way of testing the faith of believers. In other words, the more that science and textural criticism disproves the truth of the Bible, the more fervently we should believe that it is true.

NOTHING is going to change this Christadelphian Fideist's mind. He has erected an iron wall around his head that is impenetrable to logic, evidence, reason or rational thinking.

The Divine Pyramid Investment Scheme

Like the Madoff billions, Christadelphian faith
disappears into a black hole of nothingness
This sort of Christadelphian thinking, which is rampant throughout the religion, is reminiscent of the blind faith that American Jews put in Bernie Madoff a few years ago when they invested approximately thirty billion dollars into his pyramid scheme that subsequently collapsed.

Despite abundant evidence that he was a criminal, Confirmation Bias prevented their minds from realising that he was a fake. They wanted the miraculous monetary returns he promised and so they closed their minds to any evidence to the contrary.

Christadelphians want to live after death. They want to live for ever in bliss. Like the Bernie Madoff's victims they don't want to admit that they were stupid believing in something for which there was no support and substantial reason to reject as false.

Just like the Bernie Madoff victims, Christadelphians are not only greedy, but they are also lazy minded. They want to avoid the hard work of thinking these things out sensibly and instead they opt for a supremely simplistic shortcut to their conclusion that God exists and that the Bible is true.

They can't be proved wrong because all of their evidence is hearsay and none of it is empirical. They have no reality check on their imaginations concerning God and the Bible.

The closest that Christadelphians ever got to a reality check was when their founder Dr John Thomas predicted that Christ would return in 1866 and we all know that ended in a debacle.

The Lie at the Heart of Christadelphian Fideism

Christadelphian Fideism is a corrupt way of thinking because there is a lie at its heart. Fideists claim that they are placing their faith and trust in God and that therefore they cannot be wrong because God is supreme, all powerful, all wise and all knowing. But the reality is that they are doing nothing of the sort. In truth they are putting their faith and trust in themselves. Because by deciding to put their faith into something invisible; that cannot be proved or disproved, they are actually making a decision based solely upon their own subjective, emotional feelings about the matter. They are putting their faith into a concept that they have constructed within their own heads based on no tangible, rationally derived evidence. They are human beings and as such their emotions and thinking is subject to the vagaries and fluctuations of human experience.

By contrast, human thinking about Gravity, the Germ Theory of Disease, Special relativity and yes - Evolution etc. are based on extraordinary amounts of research, empirical evidence and rational, logical, deductive reasoning.

Scientists don't fluctuate on a daily basis about their belief in Quantum Field Theory or Gravity merely because they are emotionally upset about a row with a relative, the dog being ill, or because the weather is bad. But the faith of Fideists DOES constantly vary because it is not based on deductive reasoning grounded on testing and empirical evidence.

Fideists have built a house of faith on sand; because every wobble in their internal, subjective, emotional state shakes the building. It is one thing when they are ranting off a Christadelphian platform or on an Internet discussion forum. But when they are alone, the demons can emerge and their doubts about their faith rattle their conviction. I know because thirty years ago I was a Christadelphian Fideist. And every one of you reading this article who are Fideists also know deep in your own hearts that what I am telling you is the truth. Your faith is no stronger than my faith was thirty years ago. You go through what I went through back then.

You Christadelphian Fideists do not have faith in God or the Bible. You have faith in your own conviction that these things are true. You have faith in faith itself. You have faith in absolutely nothing. You have faith in a complete vacuum that exists only inside your own minds.

Christadelphian Non-Fideists

A very tiny number of Christadelphians are NOT Fideists. They do think rationally and they seek sensible evidence for their faith. They are concerned by the facts of, geology, archaeology, other sciences and textural criticism that conflict with the Bible.

I am not addressing these people in this article. In fact I know that they will be in wholehearted agreement with much of what I have just written.

I will say this to the Christadelphian Non-Fideists: I respect you. I enjoy your company. I like you people. I share your embarrassment and frustration with our Fideist brethren and sisters. You Christadelphian Non-Fideists, that I call the "New Christadelphians" are well on your way to discovering the "Ultimate Truth" sought by our founder Dr John Thomas. Even as I type this article some of you are, in your minds, composing your letters of resignation and preparing your family and friends for the shock that you are going to accept the truth of an Atheistic way of looking at life.

So wherever you may be on the spectrum of New Christadelphianism, I salute you. You people are the best; the very best brethren and sisters in our community. I urge you to hold your nerve and be courageous for the Truth.


(1) Taken from the comments on an article at: They are NOT the words of Rob Hyndman; for whom I have the greatest respect.

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