Lauren Becker, contributor to Point of Enquiry radio programme and podcast, reflects on her experience of driving by a church billboard which proclaimed the words, “Go by faith, not by sight.” She says that she worried that all the drivers around her would take the message to heart and close their eyes. She quickly prepared herself for extreme defensive driving maneuvres. She calls the slogan ‘dangerously stupid’, and explains that this is one of the reasons ‘we reasonable people’ get so annoyed by people of faith. She then goes off on a very unreasonable rant about how hard ‘the rest of us’ have to work in order to protect themselves and others from the irrational thinking and behaviour of religious people.
Obviously, both Lauren Becker and the church she criticises so strenuously have both completely misunderstood the text. Paul is talking about knowing God by faith rather than by sight, not about driving cars (or any suchlike activity) by faith rather than by sight. And, in any case, the expression is indicative (describing what the situation is) and not imperative (telling us how we should behave).