We celebrate the Ascension 40 days after Easter. It was the day Christ ascended into the heavens, following His resurrection. In doing so He gave us a literal and figurative image of the bridge from this physical reality, to a Beyond whence He came, and to which we go.
This image is helpful to understanding the materialist point of view: that there is no Beyond at all. To counter the religious point of view that there is, Materialists frequently assert that faith means belief despite a lack of evidence. That is not true. It is a misapprehension of what evidence is, and what constitutes sound reason from evidence.
Faith is not a repudiation of evidence, but rather a call to accept the evidence, and to act upon it. It is different than other kinds of belief in that the subject matter of the belief is the existence of supernatural reality. The evidence is therefore more than merely evidence concerning the natural reality we experience day-to-day.
The evidence of supernatural reality pertinent here is of two kinds: that which is the product of our reason, only; and that which is the result of revelation which transcends natural reality.
Without the intervention of God in history, evidence of the supernatural lies in our powers of reason. That is, it is the product of human ratiocination, rather than external, physical proofs. We can understand that evidence to be, for example, the “God of the philosophers;” the majority conclusion of sages down through the ages, quite apart from divine revelation of some sort, that there is one omniscient uncaused cause that exists beyond the natural world, and therefore a reality that transcends the natural world. This is evidence from reason.
With the intervention of God in history, there is additional evidence, which takes the form of natural phenomena, so that those alive to the natural world can look to natural evidence, and follow that natural evidence directly back to supernatural reality. One needn’t be an Aristotle or a Plato to experience the reality of a man like us who, before our very eyes, demonstrates another, more profound, existence, on a plane beyond the everyday natural world. For Christians, that is the Christ, who drew man’s eyes, literally and figuratively, from the natural world here and now, to the supernatural reality which exists both within and apart from the natural world. This is evidence from revelation.
The Bible expresses much about faith, to get us to believe something that is true but which transcends the natural order. God’s revelation is essentially to the effect: “here is positive evidence of heaven transcending the natural world. Now believe.” Far from being asked to disregard the evidence, we’re asked to accept as true the evidence set plainly before us, and not to disregard it just because it points beyond the natural world.
The natural world is more than our milieu. It forms the boundary of our sense impressions. It is what water is to fish. We would understand the skepticism of a fish about the existence of some environment apart from water. But there is reality beyond the water, for the fish, and there is reality beyond the natural world, for us. God has spoken to us to say: accept from the evidence that this “Beyond” reality is true.
Imagine you were there on the day of the Ascension. It is easy to do, because we have a trustworthy written narrative of the event, along with the deep explanatory back-story, which reaches back to the very fact of existence. That back story shows us that the One ascended is a man like us, but, unlike us, is also one with that uncaused cause. Upon completing an essential part of His mission here, he recedes back into the great beyond whence He came, leaving us an intangible Helper. His sojourn with us, and Ascension, reveal the reality beyond the time- and space-bound physical reality that is our temporary home.
If we open our eyes to see, that is. Materialists perforce reject this evidence from revelation, and at the same time ignore the evidence from reason. It is a scandal that they do so in the name of reason.