The discussion hadn’t got us very far, so I tried another tack, ‘Have you ever been to Australia?’ I asked above the din of the Union bar.
‘No.’ the student replied.
‘Then how can you be certain it exists?’
The student looked at me, not quite sure how to respond…
What would you say in reply to my question? I was trying to help this student realise that seeing is not the only determining factor in believing, that our experience cannot be the final court of justice as to whether God exists.
So how do we believe, how can we know whether Australia is there or whether there is an intelligent cause? If seeing cannot lead to believing, how about we switch off completely and take a guess in the dark? This type of approach is very common in today’s culture and is often called ‘blind faith.’
Artist Mark Wallinger has created a character called ‘Blind Faith’ as the subject of some of his artwork. Art critic Ian Hunt says that Wallinger’s video piece Angel (1997), which contains the character Blind Faith, expresses something that is ‘true but we find impossible to believe, prisoners of our eyes’ (Hunt, 2000, p.26). The idea being discussed is that the only way to believe is to close our eyes and trust that the impossible is actually true with no certain rational basis.