Posted on Oct 27, 2013 by Tom Gilson
I keep running into this pair of atheist errors. It happened again in two comments overnight last night.
1. “Faith” is belief without evidence. (See here and the web page linked from that comment.)
2. Christians don’t present evidence for God. (See here.)
These comments weren’t made by the same individual, but the beliefs expressed in them are closely related. Christians say our belief is backed by evidence, which atheists often rebut by denying that it’s evidence after all.
Which leads to some serious questions. When atheists claim that faith is belief without evidence, do they ever present any evidence for that claim? If they do, is it evidence that meets the level of proof they require Christians to present, before they will count our evidence as truly “evidence”?
For it’s common for them not to allow theistic evidence as “evidence” unless it meets a level approaching absolute proof. Of course this violates the usual definition of evidence, and a whole lot of epistemology besides. More to the point here, it’s a standard they don’t live up to themselves when they say that faith is belief without evidence; because the evidence they offer for that claim is nowhere near that conclusive.
Thus in those terms, their charge is self-refuting. They cannot call Christian faith “belief without evidence” without defining evidence virtually as equivalent to proof; but if that’s how they think evidence is defined, then on their own definition, they have “no evidence” for their charge. Does that mean they believe it on “faith”?