In Genesis Chapter 3 of the bible, there is a story in which Eve is tempted to commit the world’s first sin. I imagine you’re familiar with the story, but you’ve probably never considered it in the context of faith. It was her faith that led to the fall of man.
God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and told them not to eat from it or they would die. He must have assumed they would take him on faith, although I’m certain he could’ve proven that it was true. He was fully aware that they’d never had experience with temptation or deception, but apparently wasn’t worried that they’d run into these. He was wrong.
Eve then ate from this Tree because a talking snake told her to do it. Did she treat its words skeptically? Did she ask for evidence from the snake to prove its claim (that it would make her like God)? Obviously not. But if she had been skeptical, she wouldn’t have sinned.
If she had acted skeptically, she might have noted that a talking snake is abnormal. A snake has a cleft palate, fangs and tongue that are useless for speech, no lips, and no vocal chords. Upon hearing a snake talk, it would’ve been logical for her to question her sanity*, or wonder about this origin of this snake. The bible claims this snake was the Devil, and if she had known that then she probably would’ve acted differently.
Faith can turn people into suckers. Suppose I offer to sell you a mansion in the Bahamas for a mere $100. If you’re smart, you’ll want evidence that this mansion exists and also that I own it and can sell it. You’ll also want verification of the sale before you part with your money. If you’re a fool, you’ll take my offer on faith and then hope that I wasn’t swindling you.
Christians place great value on faith. They’ll say that it’s needed in Heaven, but believe contradictorily that they’ll have perfect knowledge in Heaven, which makes faith obsolete. They may say we have faith because we’re made in the image of God, and yet God has perfect knowledge and doesn’t need faith, either. God is not a “sucker”, is he? Then why did he create us to be (and demand that we be) suckers?
Faith isn’t good for anything except friendship. Putting faith in our friends shows that we trust them, and that strengthens friendship. But in every other area of our lives we should look for evidence, and put faith in the ideas that are well-supported with the strongest factual proof. You may argue that this isn’t really faith at all… and I agree. Let’s get rid of faith whenever possible, and instead live like rational people.
*Atheists question the sanity of anyone who believes in the literal truth of this story. Snakes can’t talk, even when possessed, because they lack the physical hardware. Why would the Devil use a body that was not only useless for this purpose but ugly as well? And where was God while the Devil was deceiving Eve? God blamed humans for their mistake, but failed to recognize that He could’ve very easily prevented it… if He weren’t so lazy.