He asks how I can believe in something with no facts to prove it. As a scientific thinker, he questions everything and always has. His mind works the way. I explain that I have faith and I don’t necessarily have to see something to believe it, a response that doesn’t make sense to him.
I offer that since he is unable to prove that God doesn’t exist, his opinion is faith-based, as well. He pauses for a moment, making me believe I gained ground in this never-ending debate. Then he responds that his opinion isn’t born of faith at all, but rather the opposite. He doesn’t have faith that God doesn’t exist because it’s never been proven that he does.
To prove he has faith in something, I look to find an example outside of religion. I say that I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow, he says that the sun rises every morning, so there is evidence to back up the claim. I say I have faith that he will do the right thing, he responds that I raised him a certain way, and I can only hope he does the right thing. I say that every successful scientist had faith at the onset of an experiment or theory, he says the scientist merely had hope the theory would be proven.
The conversation leaves me frustrated and aware that faith and hope aren’t as interchangeable as I thought. Faith is based on beliefs that can’t be proven while hope is a desire for something to come. Faith and hope are as different as God and science, but I believe in all of them.
Stephen Hawking said, “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.”
Why do we have to limit what we believe? Science has not invalidated the existence of God just because it proved the Big Bang. If there isn’t a master designer, are we to believe it is all coincidence, and that everything occurred in such precise order that enabled our existence?
Science has also been unable to answer life’s greatest mystery to me—what gives us the ability to create amazing works of art, literature and music?
I may never convince my son to have faith; likewise, he’ll never convince me that having faith is useless. However, I’ll keep the faith that someday I’ll come up with an example that doesn’t involve religion. At least, I hope I can.