Well, you are fairly unique among theists.<quoted text>
I never said that faith is evidence. Evidence is what supports faith. Evidence is what supports the decisions that a jury makes in a court case. The jury doesn't deliberate until all the available and reasonable evidence is in and the attorneys submit their closing arguments. The jury can't say "We find the defendant guilty/not guilty" and then go looking for reasons to justify it. That wouldn't be justice. That would be foolish. Likewise, it's supposed to work the same way with Christianity. We're supposed to ask questions and weigh the merits of the total argument, not just small pieces and sound bytes.
The stereotype is that Christians say "Yup we believe" and then go looking for reasons to believe. That is just stupid. And it's equally stupid (no offense intended) to apply that stereotype to all Christians. Some of us really do think and consider the evidence.
That brings me to the next point. What is and isn't evidence?
That is undoubtedly a major point of contention. What is the standard of evidence? Is it the preponderance of the evidence which is 51% or higher, or is it beyond reasonable doubt? With all due respect to the uninitiated in legal and historical matters, the higher standard is only applied in criminal cases. Not civil cases or historical research. Certainty isn't the goal in presenting evidence for the spiritual seeker. Certainty would have us all in Vegas or never leaving the bathroom.
The Christian church is undergoing a radical change in which discussion about doubt and church history is being encouraged instead of discouraged. People want real answers before placing trust in Jesus, and I think it's right that they do. Trust shouldn't be blind as has been the attitude. Neither should people be told "Well just believe first and then we'll give you the reasons why later." No. That's dishonest. That's why you're seeing a sharp decline in mainline church populations. But that doesn't mean Christianity is declining. It means that the traditional view of church and the Christian faith is changing. House churches are on the rise. With a house church, most if not all of the funds collected go directly towards charitable causes right in the local community, because there are no administrative costs associated with the church.
Sorry to be so long on this post, but the old stereotypes are being challenged. Perceptions are being challenged in both believers and skeptics.
My faith didn't come first. The evidence built my trust from the ground up because I was willing to follow the evidence wherever it took me. And where it took me was to the probability that Jesus is who he claimed, and that all my old perceptions of an old angry petty cosmic tyrant were false because I hadn't allowed for the cultural/historical differences, and because I was too proud to admit being wrong. It took me 20 years to come to this conclusion. It couldn't happen overnight, and that's why I don't try to convince you in one argument. I give you small snippets to mentally chew on. Only you can decide if your mind is open enough to consider putting your stereotypes aside. I can't decide for you or tell you what to do. I can only tell you what worked for me.
Most will do and think whatever they need to, to preserve their faith.
In short? The faith that was instilled into them as defenseless children, is what drives their thoughts-- and so they are quite willing to re-twist what they see, to "justify" that deeply ingrained faith.
I tried to cling to mine for years, by going more or less deist.
But eventually, even that nebulous faith died on the vine--for lack of supporting *facts*.
I look around the world? I see atrocity happening to little innocent kids?
God-preventable atrocity? Some of it even due to purely natural causes?
And I **have** to conclude: there cannot possibly be a god who gives a rat-fink about the fate of humans.