I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few. Adolf Hitler
The purpose of this post is to try and clarify one of if not the main reason why fundamentalist Christians don't respond to skepticism or reason. I've seen atheists who have never experienced fundamentalism or even been believers claim that theists who don't respond to reason are either stupid or just plain gullible. As a former fundamentalist Pentecostal believer and evangelist myself I can attest to the power of faith over reason.
From 1990-1994 I believed that the spirit of the Lord resided in me. I felt it's power surge through me in the form of electrical surges in my being. At times I perceived answers to difficult situations and or had them pop up in my mind instantly and unexpectedly. Sometimes it was a verse of scripture as I was reading the Bible that would speak to a particular situation I was dealing with. When I preached at church revivals etc. I watched people pass out with my speaking words or simply looking or pointing at them from a distance! Others claimed that they had been healed of some ailment after I had laid my hands upon them in prayer. Finally, I apparently expelled demons from peoples bodies through prayer and fasting. I spoke in tongues, prophesied, had prophetic dreams, visions, and even at times believed I felt the presence of evil forces ( discernment of spirits).
It was these experiences and not so much reason that led me to believe that my faith was in the right place and that it was true and that it was real. In fact, upon backward reflection I came to my faith in Christ during a time of weakness and emotional instability. The first time I came to Christ I was a heartbroken 14 year old kid who had just come out of a bad breakup with a girl I was crazy about. I fell into a deep depression and didn't leave my room for three months! When I finally surfaced and resumed attending my first year in high school I met a believer who happened to catch me at just the right time. After attending service at his home church I forgot all about my depression and found hope in Christ. I turned all of my attention to the church and to getting closer to God through Christ and edifying my spirit. That time I only lasted a year and was soon back to my old ways living life as if the church and my former beliefs never existed. I went about my daily living and studies at school without a hitch.
The second and last time I gave my life to Christ was again during a low point in my life. But on that occasion I was around 20 years old and as before quite in need of some hope in other words I was entirely open and receptive to Christ in my life once again. It was during this time that I grew in the church by leaps and bounds. I read the Bible often and in its entirety at least three times as a believer and once after I left the church. During those days there was no amount of reasoning that would have gotten through to me since I knew that God was "real" and Christ was alive and well in me! But it wasn't reason that brought me to these beliefs, instead it was my many subjective experiences that led me to these conclusions.
Objective: based on facts rather than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings
Subjective: based on feelings or opinions rather than facts
The difference between a fundamentalist theist and a nonbeliever is that we think in two very different modes. For the most part nonbelievers and skeptics think in a more objective manner and demand evidence or proofs for any and all claims. On the other hand theists think for the most part in a subjective manner and take their personal experiences themselves as proof or evidence of what they believe. Even William Lane Craig Christianity's foremost apologist who at times appears to be thinking and reasoning in an objective manner is also a victim to subjective thinking and apparent although fallacious reasoning.
Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the
fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument
and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the
latter, not vice versa. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.]
At times objective and subjective reasoning can work together and aid greatly in helping to clarify some ideas or beliefs, but in my opinion this does not work out so well when it comes to fundamentalist religious beliefs based entirely on experience. The main reason for this is that fundamentalists for the most part are slaves to what is known as confirmation bias. This is the outright rejection of ideas that contradict what one has already believed and has become convinced to be true.
Confirmation bias: a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been
shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that
confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could
disconfirm their hypothesis.
Based on my experiences as a former believer apparently this is done for the most part unconsciously and without knowledge of the believer that he is doing it. The lines of facts and truth are blurred by emotions based entirely on faith. When I was a believer we were often warned against reading too much secular information because the devil might use it against us and eventually lead us away from Christ and into perdition. The words of WLC as cited above are evidence of this mentality coming from an otherwise learned theologian and apologist in his respective field. As he states, faith surpasses arguments based on evidence.
It's that simple! Faith for the most part is based on subjective reasoning which is gained through the application of ones own personal feelings and experiences. Faith are reason in reality and in my own opinion are two very different methods of thought that in truth are incompatible and tend to repel one another when applied to religious beliefs. Finally, confirmation bias hinders one from seeking honestly and obtaining the necessary knowledge that can break the chains of subjective superstitious beliefs. This is why even otherwise intellectual individuals like Craig and others are mentally incapable of seeing reason, and because of their own personal bias are not receptive to criticism of their beliefs. No amount of objective evidence or argumentation can convince such a person of the falsity of their beliefs.