Many religious critics have questioned Christianity because of the simple fact of “blind faith”. This meaning faith in the unseen or believing in something that you have never actually seen for yourself. Saint Augustine of Hippo, a very influential Christian theologian, explored this in his essay “Concerning Faith Unseen”. He makes the point that many people refuse to believe in something that they cannot see for themselves. What possesses Christians to believe in God if they have never seen him with there eyes? Our minds are mad to believe the things which cannot be seen and thus it is ok to believe in them.
Augustine’s main argument is that all people believe in things that they have never seen for themselves. Augustine uses this example, we choose to believe in our friends when we first meet that we will have a good friendship and it will work out. The unseen part is that we trust in each other without ever knowing what the future holds. Just as those who believe in God give their faith to an “unseen” being. Augustine believes since those who deny the idea of believing in God because he is unseen but they believe in the good will of others then there belief system is inconsistent. If they can believe in the good will of others but can’t believe in a supreme being then what do they really believe.
We put our faith in a friend without knowing that they are a true friend just as Christians put their faith in God without seeing him with their eyes. This is the same through all human relationships. We give our hearts to our spouse or friend without knowing what the future holds. The question that Augustine raises is how we can put faith in a friend or spouse but we cannot put faith in God. Christians believe that they will one day see God face to face and it will no longer be unseen faith. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe” (Augustine). In a relationship we believe that it is all going to turn out great and the only way for us to know that all will be well is to have faith.
Augustine knew that his analogy of a friend believing in another friend would be criticized because a friendship has proofs that it will work out while a Christian believing in God is brought by no proof. Augustine points out that those who make this argument do not have an understanding of the Christian faith in general. Christians don’t believe without proof because of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Augustine explores that things such as incarnation, death and resurrection which he points out that all of these where foretold in the Old Testament. For example, in some of the verses in the Old Testament foretell of a savior who would come and save mankind from sin: