Regardless of whether the Bible is trustworthy or complete fiction, the consensus among Christian and non-Christian academics seems to be that the Bible's usage of the Greek word translated faith is intended to mean something akin to trust, not blind faith.1
- The Oxford Companion to the Bible: “[It is a] kind of regard for or confidence in someone or something. … Abram's willingness to trust God… makes him the primary example of the biblical concept of faith.… a form of the Greek word pisteuein, 'to trust'…”[(Oxford, 1993), 222.]
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “The main sense of the word 'faith' in the NT is that of trust or reliance. …reliance on the thing or person in whom confidence is put,…” [2nd edition, Ed. by Bromiley (Eerdmans, 1982), 270-271.]
This corresponds to the Greek word translated faith, pistis (πίστις), which carries with it no notion of being evidentially unfounded.
- David Clark: “In English, ‘faith’ functions grammatically only as a noun. In New Testament Greek, pisteō, ‘[to have] faith’ or ‘to believe,’ is a verb that denotes personally trusting in, faithfully relying upon, or committing oneself to, a person. Faith is most like the ‘I do’ of the wedding ceremony. It is not primarily a process of thinking or knowing. It is more a promise of loyalty along with a life of faithfully fulfilling that promise” [“Faith and Foundationalism”, in The Rationality of Theism eds. Moser and Copan (Routledge, 2003), 36]
Biblical heroes like Moses, the Apostles etc. had overwhelming evidence grounding their faith (having seen spectacular miracles).1 This is relevant because these same individuals are also known Biblically as great men of faith.
The Apostles etc. used evidence in their evangelism.1 (E.g. Jn 20:31 -- “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,” cf. 1 Cor 15:1-8). This is relevant because the apostles in doing so overtly undermine blind faith, and yet they would not do things which would sabatoge anyone's ability to haveBiblical faith.
Consider just Paul for a moment. He writes “knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11), and this was done consistently via reason and evidence. For some examples from Acts:
• Acts 17:17-18 -- “So he was reasoning in the synagogue… and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. …Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him.”
• Acts 18:4 -- he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade the Jews and Greeks.
• Acts 18:13 -- “This man [Paul] persuades men…”
• Acts 18:19 -- he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
• Acts 19:26, 29 -- "You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded… a considerable number of people… And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews…”
Notably, Jews recognized the scriptures as evidence, and in agreeing that it was proper evidence Paul used it as such to persuade the Jews.
• Acts 9:22 -- But Saul kept… confounding the Jews… by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
• Acts 17:2-4 -- …a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence [for Christianity]… some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women."
• Acts 17:11-12 --Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
• Acts 18:28 -- for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
• Acts 28:23 -- [Paul was] trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.
When Paul spoke to non-Christians, instead of using scripture (which they did not recognize) Paul would instead bring forward data and considerations that they would recognize as evidencee. As Paul explains “…so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; …to those who are without law… so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” (Note: Paul here is almost certainly not just referring to the way he lives, but also the way he interacts with these individuals). Luke (in Acts 17) records an example of this behavior by recited an inevitably condensed form of Paul's speech on Mars Hill. In it, we see Paul citing their own luminaries to make his point, followed by an appeal to the evidence for Jesus's resurrection: So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, [God] is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.'”
Biblical heroes encouraged people to “critically examine all things….” 1 This is relevant because this clearly undermines blind faith, and yet the Biblical heroes wouldn't encourage people to do things which would sabatoge their ability to have Biblical faith.
It says in Hebrews 11 -- “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. This is relevant because believing in things unseen more or less means believing things blindly (blind faith).
But wait, all things which are hoped for are unseen, “for who hopes for what he already sees?” (Rom 8:24). Still, countless beliefs are rational and well-evidenced while being unseen and hoped for. For example…
• …that your parachute will work when you jump out of the airplane.
• …that your spouse will be faithful after your wedding day.
Jn 20:29 -- “Jesus said to [Thomas], ‘Blessed are they who did not see [me], and yet believed.’” This is relevant because believing in things unseen more or less means believing things blindly (blind faith).
But wait, couldn't it simply be that…
…Jesus was stating a simple fact (they would be blessed), not critiquing Thomas.1
…Jesus was critiquing the stubborn/irrational nature of Thomas's disbelief.2