Another Question For Atheists

Most Atheists who are willing to discuss why they believe God doesn’t exist will say there isn’t any — or enough — evidence to convince them He does.  The little evidence which an Atheist may concede exists doesn’t meet the threshold to abandon their atheism.  Regardless of what I or other Christians believe about whether the evidential threshold has been met, I’d like to pose a question to my Atheist readers.

For the sake of argument let’s grant that the quantity and quality of evidence, according to your standard, brought the probability of whether God exists to 50%.  In other words, it was as equally probable that God exists as doesn’t according to your own criteria.  Presuming agnosticism is not an option, ould you choose theism or atheism?, and equally as important, why?

As for me, I tend to be a fairly pragmatic person.  Rarely do I make snap decisions if I don’t have to, I tend to weigh options before making decisions — often I’m chided for over-thinking things. So I can think of reasons for either choice.

On the one hand, if the evidence were truly 50/50, choosing theism would be the prudent choice.  For all the criticism Pascal’s wager receives, if God’s existence were as probable as not, choosing with eternity in mind makes the most sense.  A “good time” now pales in comparison to the hereafter to follow.  It would be better to sacrifice relatively trivial indulgences now for everlasting greatness.

Conversely, adopting atheism affords me to be more liberal in my activities.  Just knowing myself and how I used to be, I would absolutely live as though there were no judgement to come.  I know myself, I’m not that good of a person.  Currently my religious convictions keep me in check.  Not so much because I’m afraid of hell, even though there’s nothing wrong with that.  But because I do feel a sense of gratitude toward Christ, my impulses to act instinctively have been curbed.

So I really could go either way, but ultimately I would likely choose for God because I tend to think and act for long-term cost/benefit.

Comments

  1. “For the sake of argument let’s grant that the quantity and quality of evidence, according to your standard, brought the probability of whether God exists to 50%. ”

    I may be alone in this, or I may speak for the majority…but my analysis of evidence is not quantified as a percentage. I wouldn’t even know how to start going about creating a percentage for it. I apologize for not answering your question, but I honestly don’t know what that 50% state would be like. Can you, perhaps, provide an example of something where the evidence is ‘50%’? Something that we’d agree on, obviously.

    If there were any good, non anecdotal evidence, it would inspire me to give a great deal of more research into the matter. That’s true of religion or alien encounters, by the way.

    “On the one hand, if the evidence were truly 50/50, choosing theism would be the prudent choice. ”

    I have two questions: What does the god in question desire, and what would ‘choosing theism’ involve?

    Does the god only want me to believe that he exists? Does he want me to believe he exists and follow all of his rules? Does he want me to believe he exists, follow all his rules and love and worship him?

    Because evidence can only lead me to the first…belief in existence. I would have to investigate what kind of god this was before I decided to follow his rules or love and worship him.

    And, even if I decided to follow all his rules because I knew he’d punish me if I didn’t, I wouldn’t necessarily love or worship him in truth. Can he read my mind? Does he care if I think he’s immoral? If not, then the pragmatic thing to do is lay low and do what he wants, the same way I would do so if I were mugged. But if he can read my mind, and I find him immoral, what’s the point in following his rules?

    It’s not as simple as believing in the existence of something…or at least I don’t think it is.

    As I understand it (and I could be wrong), there are many issues that I would disagree with your god about if it turned out he existed. And just believing he existed wouldn’t change my opinion…my opinion would have to be changed through reason.

    • Nas

      First let me thank you for taking time to not answer and over analyze the question.

      The question is essentially if the evidence in favor of Gods existence were as equally good both in quantity and quality as evidence against his existence, which would you choose? The links in the text are there to clarify the ambiguities.

  2. I also read your post on evidence which brought up some great points. I don’t want to speak for all atheists or make a “No true Scotsman” fallacy, but I think atheists disregard all evidence for Jesus and that makes the probability of of his reality much lower than 50%. I love poker and Pascal’s wager is very reasonable, but I believe that that the probability for Jesus is negligible AND that there is an equal probability that if he was real that he would not be worth worshiping.

    My morals come from the fantasy and sci-fi books that I read as a child. Your morals come from a book that you read as a child. As long as we aren’t hurting anybody I don’t think there is much of a problem.

    • John

      Thanks for the reply. But this is more of a hypothetical. I realize atheists don’t believe there is any– or enough evidence. I’m not arguing against that or for it. I am asking if there were enough evidence to where for you and your standard of what it would take to believe to legitimately go either way, which way would you go.

      Btw, I did not grow up christian or in a christian home. I came to Christianity in my early to mid 20s. Under the “about” tab above there is a link to a mini-bio of myself.

  3. “First let me thank you for taking time to not answer and over analyze the question.”

    I was trying my best to be honest. If you don’t like my answers, or attempt at answers, that’s fine. I think it’s a bad question, because we don’t quantify evidence in the way you seem to be implying we should. Or at least, I don’t.

    If there’s enough good evidence, then I believe something. If there isn’t, I don’t. If it’s indeterminate (perhaps what you mean by 50/50), then I’m investigating.

    If there was enough good evidence, based on how I understand evidence, then yes I’d believe your god exists.

    Nothing else, though.

  4. “I do feel a sense of gratitude toward Christ”
    There you go. It’s more than 50% for you. You believe.

    I wrote a longer discourse to flesh out the example, but it doesn’t matter. The issue is that I can’t just decide to believe or to be flexible about my threshhold to accept evidence rather than to be undecided. And the very idea that a “higher” being is so petty as to value a ritual (confess, profess, baptize) above sincere and life long commitment to living well, which I already have, is so far outside the realm of logic as to undercut the whole exercise.

    Look at it a different way – would you really value or respect a bunch of Pascal’s Wager Christians wandering around going through the motions, just in case? Nonsense. And this discussion is even more nonsensical when we remember Christianity is a subjective quantity with Catholics, Mormons, Methodists, Lutherans, and Pentecostals all walking around with different rule books.

    • Perhaps I should have titled this “another question that atheists for some reason will not answer”.

      Maybe all you atheists out there think there is some kind of gotcha coming. There isn’t. I simply thought of a hypothetical I thought would be interesting and make for good discussion. Its a shame you folks are so defensive.

  5. For me, personally, I don’t see the probability anywhere near 50% and that’s after mankind existing for a very long time and a profusion of religions being adopted and abandoned (and very closely shaped and influenced by men.)
    I think if we look at the history of religion from a cold, non-emotional perspective we can see things very clearly. Mohammed, for example, was a man who probably suffered from epilepsy (he had seizures, frothed at the mouth, and believe god spoke to him during these episodes.) All of these major figures who became central to monotheistic religions lived in a time when myth was used to explain occurrences which we simply didn’t know how to explain back then. There was once even a “god” who pulled the sun around the world with his chariot.
    As for “liberal activities”, I’m not sure there’s a connection. Christianity never stopped Catholics from killing Protestants and vice-versa. Religion also didn’t stop Christians and Muslims persecuting Jews. My moral compass is guided by balancing my well being with the well being of others. In regards to charity for example, every month I calculate how much and what I really need versus what I could do with out and then use the money to help or contribute to people who need it more. My method is obviously biased as I’m the arbiter of what I “need”- but I think it’s better than the traditional tithe model because I’m forced to exercise my conscience. If I don’t go out to dinner tonight, what could that money represent to someone else? Could it cover the electricity bill they can’t pay? Do I really need new pool-chairs? Could the $1200 it would take to buy them be the difference between someone losing their home or keeping it? If we don’t take a vacation this year (and for a total of four years) that means my partner’s niece and nephew can get through university without any student loans… We think it’s worth it, because we’re all connected- and we arrive at these decisions without religion.

  6. “ATHEISTS: please read the post very carefully! The responders so far do not seem to get the question!!”

    Consider the possibility that the question might just be flawed.

    • Which part of the question implied an answer including morality?

      The question leaves the threshold of evidence up to you. It leaves the quantity and quality up to you. I simply ask that if YOU believed the strength of evidence HYPOTHETICALLY were equally good for and against God, would you chose atheism or theism and why.

      Nothing wrong on my end.

  7. I read the question but I can’t accept it at face value because the 50% presumption is incorrect. Let me spin it around for you, 24.4% of heavy smokers like me develop lung cancer. In my family we have no history of lung cancer so I’m happy to take the risk as 75.6% of heavy smokers will not get lung cancer. If the probability were 50/50 for the existence of god, I’d still be an atheist because there’s a profusion of gods, Allah, Buddha etc. so it would be pointless for me to guess which one was the “correct god”- there are too many to choose from.

  8. Ok, John, let me throw in my two cents.

    For starters, conclusions reached by scientific methods do not consider “cost/benefit” analysis in that way. If it truly came down to the 50-50 odds that your hypothetical situation suggests, leaning one way just in case it’s true is just an emotional bias.

    As I’ve discovered over the time I’ve been involved with this blog, there seems to be a large disparity with what is considered “evidence”, and I’ve seen many people be swayed by their feelings and emotions.

    It’s a shame that you (along with several other Christians who chime in on this blog) seem to be under the impression that people do not subscribe to belief in your deity’s wrath simply act without any conscience or consequence. You make it sound like morality and resistances to instinctual impulse are impossible without your god and that’s just false.

    Atheists like me simply don’t believe your god exists, just like we don’t believe all the other gods people have worshiped over the years.

    • Pink

      Thank you for answering. The 50% was simply a rhetorical device I used to emphasize a true toss up.

      Z

      I’m not asking you to use my or any other Christians view of evidence. I ask you to use yours. Use your own threshold.

      You’re right, looking toward a possible eternity may very well be emotional. I was giving MY answer to this question. Its a shame you couldn’t provide one.

  9. “I simply ask that if YOU believed the strength of evidence HYPOTHETICALLY were equally good for and against God, would you chose atheism or theism and why.”

    Perhaps because there’s no such thing as evidence being ‘equally for and against’ is the problem. Or at least, we don’t accept it as being a possibility. I can think of nothing, literally nothing, in which the evidence is equally for or against something. There is either enough evidence to believe something, or not enough. It’s binary. There aren’t gradiations in the way your question assumes.

    That’s the problem with your question.

  10. “Nas

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the concept of “hypothetical”.”

    Okay…hypothetically…is purple happy, or sad?

  11. “Nas

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the concept of “hypothetical”.”

    The problem, Barron, is that your hypothetical doesn’t work.

    As I said, if the evidence supported it, I would believe that the god in question existed. If I thought that the evidence was ‘equal’, whatever that is supposed to mean, then I would still be searching.

    Thus, my answer is probably ‘no, I wouldn’t accept theism, or atheism, because I’d still be in a weird state of trying to analyze the evidence.’

  12. If God is going to judge me more based on my faith or lack thereof and not so much on my actions, then I’d better believe in the right God. We assume that there is only one God and that this one God is only going to let the truly faithful get into heaven, and only if these believe in the right things. But within Christianity alone, there are an estimated 38,000 denominations, and outside of Christianity, there are thousands of other religions, all with adherents who profess a belief in God. If I find divine inspiration to become a Mormon and I die and discover that the One, True God is the God Anglicans worship (or Zoroastrians…), I’m still going to hell for my faith. So belief really matters here.

    Not to mention that you can’t will yourself to believe in God. You can will yourself to profess a believe in God, but I would think bearing false witness in order to sneak into heaven is a bad idea. According to most denominations of Christianity, you can’t get into heaven by your works alone, so you need to keep the faith. Some theologians think that the evidence for God is so scant because God wants to reward those accept his existence on faith and not on evidence. Because it’s important for God that people have the free will to reject Him or not, He conceals his presence to allow people to choose Him or not.

    If a belief in the right God matters in order to get into heaven, then are are today (and certainly were previously) millions of people living in remote areas who will go to hell because they were never exposed to missionaries carrying the Word from the One, True God. If they never had the opportunity to hear the Word, how can God punish them for eternity for putting them in a geographic area that precluded them from finding salvation? So I don’t think faith is a good test to see whether one gets into heaven. I think that one’s deeds should be judged, instead. I would offer a better scenario called the Atheist’s Wager.

    The Atheist’s Wager is an alternative to the Pascal’s Wager in two ways. First, it allows for the possibility that a God is not omnibenevolent and second, if omnibenevolent, it allows for a God that judges people on their actions and not just on their beliefs. So, if you live your life doing good things and God exists, you would have infinite (think heavenly) rewards whether or not you believe in God. And if live your life doing good deeds and God doesn’t exist, you will reap earthly albeit finite rewards, whether or not you believe in God because you will leave a legacy. On the other hand, if you live a life that does not emphasize doing good deeds, and God does exist, whether or not you believe in God you will receive infinitely negative rewards (think hell). But if you live your life not devoted to doing good deeds and it turns out God doesn’t exist, then you reap negative, but nonetheless finite rewards, whether or not you believe in God because people will think you were a jerk.

    Anyway, sorry for my long post. I wrote a blog post about this topic from another perspective, so I still had a lot of these ideas floating around my head.

  13. I have to agree with NAS here – the question is somewhat nonsensical.
    There is never really any situation where the evidence is 50-50. It either is or is not.

    • Z

      So you are saying insufficient evidence is identical to zero evidence?

      If what you’re saying is true then prosecuting and defending attorneys wouldn’t offer more than one piece of evidence. But they don’t do they, they present multiple pieces of evidence.

  14. “Z

    So you are saying insufficient evidence is identical to zero evidence?”

    He’s saying insufficient evidence is closer to 0 evidence than it is to 50% evidence.

  15. Wow! “Squirmy” doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on here. “Insufficient is closer to 0″? OK, then assume an equally insufficient amount of evidence for or against and “no choice” is not an option. Jeez.

  16. I’ve had some more honest atheists admit to me that it wouldn’t matter if God came down in a blaze of glory right in front of them, they still wouldn’t believe. 1) they would consider it either a trick or an hallucination or 2) they wouldn’t want to anything to do with Him anyhow [insert commentary about God being evil, hateful, etc. here].

  17. John, the problem is that all of these athiests are so steeped in things like Science, Logic nad Reason, that the concept of a hypothetical eludes them. Or maybe their just too darn smart.

  18. Sorry there should have been a little ;) at the end of my comment to denote humor/amusement.

    • I am more inclined to think they are either so stubborn that in addition to the actual evidence they refuse to grant, they won’t even grant hypothetical evidence.

      Or they are defensive believing they may be trapped by something or accidentally admitting something they’d rather not.

  19. I’d certainly believe in the existence of a god if there was sufficient evidence.

    If that’s the question you’re asking, there’s your answer.

    • Well that’s the problem nas, you are the judge, jury, and prosecutor. You can allow or disallow anything to be considered evidence. Recall back to my post asking what would be considered evidence enough to make an atheist believe? I think every answer was a different wording of “only a personal appearance by God himself, and even then maybe not”. So I am at a point where I don’t believe atheists who say all they need is evidence, its a matter of the will.

  20. John,
    That doesn’t really make sense. Why are you not a Muslim, a Jew or a Catholic? Aren’t you being judge, jury and prosecutor by presuming you know more about god than people in other religions?
    There is no evidence to support god as presented by religions thus far. Most of it is based on fallacies, speculation and historical bias.

  21. “You can allow or disallow anything to be considered evidence.”

    Not really. Evidence has to follow the rules to be considered good and empirical.

    An anecdote, by definition, is not good evidence.

    “So I am at a point where I don’t believe atheists who say all they need is evidence, its a matter of the will.”

    Okay. You’re wrong, but feel free to believe that if you like.

  22. Long ago I made the observation that “logic” is what people use to justify their emotional responses. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but too many are so tightly bound to their visceral emotionalism, they are no longer able to accept any evidence that contradicts their position, no matter how flimsy their own evidence is or how strong opposing evidence is. I see it a lot when it comes to environmentalism or global warming activism, but I also see it among the new breed of atheists that insist that “logic”, “science” and “reason” are things that belong exclusively to themselves.

  23. Pink,

    You would not have to go back more than a couple of months through John’s archives to find a number of posts wherein debates on what constitutes evidence for God have taken place. I would say that you’d fall in with those for whom evidence is what they say it is so that evidence that does exist can be disregarded. As you’ll note above, NotAScientist has dismissed anecdotal evidence. The Gospels and Epistles of the Bible are anecdotal to an extent and dismissed as a result, even though there is no reason to doubt the authors. More to the point, doubt is regarded as the fall back position for non-believers because doubt allows them to withhold belief. Yet, a number of writings by outsiders close to the time of the events lends credence to Biblical writings, but still they are not good enough because no photo of God is among them.

  24. @ Kunoichi

    It’s somewhat ironic that your statement perfectly assesses the pitfalls of religious ideology.

    Conclusions made through science are unemotional. Religion thrives on emotion and often ignores any facts that may reach a new conclusion.

    @ marshalart

    Yep – you’ve got it. You apparently are willing to accept the bible stories hook, line and sinker. The main argument you’re making here is “Well, I have no reason not to believe the authors.”

    Better yet, because you (and many other from John’s earlier post) have already decided that you’re not willing to entertain the possibility that you’re wrong, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else says.

    • “Conclusions made through science are unemotional.”

      ROTFLMAO!! That has got to be the funniest thing I’ve read here yet! I’ve lost track of the number of research papers where the researchers conclude with the opposite of what evidence actually shows! Especially medical studies. Nothing like getting to the end of a study and see “although the evidence doesn’t show any benefit to doing X, we should all do X anyways… because.” If scientific conclusions were unemotional, there would be no such thing as scientific fraud, and no one would ever disagree. It doesn’t even seem to matter what field of science I look at, the communities within them are constantly at war with each other, insisting that only THEY are right (and therefore deserve more government funding) and anyone who disagrees with them is a liar/incompetent/not really a scientist/evil/criminal/should be jailed/should be fired/etc.

      “Religion thrives on emotion and often ignores any facts that may reach a new conclusion.”

      Hogwash. While some individuals certainly do, “religion” does not. First of all, “religion” is not a giant, anthropomorphic entity, no more then “science” is (pet peeve of mine is when people use phrases like “science tells us” or similar statements). Being emotional, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Logic cools the fire of emotion; emotion warms the ice of logic. Each needs the other. To say that “religion” ignores the facts is as rediculous as claiming “science” is unemotional.

  25. “As you’ll note above, NotAScientist has dismissed anecdotal evidence. ”

    No. Not dismissed.

    Not seen as satisfactory for the claims being made.

    Or do you believe that people are really abducted by aliens?

  26. Don’t get your panties in a wad, Kunoichi.

    Let me clear this up for you.

    Scientific facts are unemotional. The facts are the facts. How you react to them is emotional.

    It’s interesting that you (like many others here) seem to think that the scientific community is driven by money. Sadly, there are many scientists on the payroll of companies with the vested interests to influence and even reject their findings. Several scientists funded by guys like the Koch brothers are often there to scream fraud because that’s what they’re paid to do.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/03/31/205733/report-koch-industries-outspends-exxon-mobil-on-climate-and-clean-energy-disinformation/

    After all who do you think has more money at stake here – the climate scientists or the petroleum companies?

    Go ahead, keep buying into it and toe the line…

  27. @Z,

    “The main argument you’re making here is “Well, I have no reason not to believe the authors.”

    This has never been my main argument. What’s more, it is a poorly interpreted presentation of one argument I’ve put forth. More accurately, it is the case that you dismiss the testimony of the Biblical authors without reason. You assume they are either lying or delusional and do so without any basis by which one can legitimately denigrate their credibility.

    Furthermore, “entertaining the possibility that we might be wrong” is for those lacking conviction in the first place. Of greater value is that each of us who believes is open to any real argument or evidence that might disprove our beliefs. With that, entertaining possibilities means nothing.

    @ NAS,

    “No. Not dismissed.

    Not seen as satisfactory for the claims being made.”

    This doesn’t make any logical sense. Anecdotal evidence, or if you prefer, testimonial evidence, is evidence. Period. But it isn’t, nor has it been the totality of evidence, but merely the beginning. It is as such in any legal proceeding wherein testimony is given. It rarely, but can, stand alone. Instead there are other forms of evidence that lends more credibility to the testimony than the witness might already have.

    What’s more, the testimony IS the claim being made, which is what makes no sense about your statement.

  28. I love this quote from http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/is-there-no-point-whatever-at-which-richard-dawkins-just-becomes-an-embarrassment-to-his-supporters/

    “Our concern here at Uncommon Descent is that we are increasingly forced to deal with outdated nonsense instead of serious challenges. And Dawkins is a big part of the problem.

    Sure, he makes our lives easier, but only in the way an escalator saves you climbing stairs … Maybe you are better off, at times, with the exercise.”

  29. Belief isn’t a choice. If there was a 50/50 chance that God existed, and I don’t have the belief of God, how could I choose to back something that I don’t believe?

    Theoretically, flipping a coin gives you a 50/50 chance of landing on heads. However, if you flip a coin twice, you won’t necessarily get heads once and tails once. It is a 50/50 chance every time.

    In science, we perform experiments and if the results of those experiments are repeatable, we can say that there is proof. If it cannot be repeated, then we don’t treat it as something that must be true.

    The burden of proof should not fall on Atheists to prove that your God exists or doesn’t exist. It is your burden, as it is your belief.

    What is your proof, as a theist, that your God and your religion are absolute? What about Ra, Osiris, Isis, Bastet, Thor, Odin, Zeus, and the plethora of other Gods that existed before anyone even thought up Christianity?

  30. On a side note, I have personal convictions, not given to me by religion, but by life experience. It is in my nature to seek understanding and to show compassion. I don’t need an outdated book to tell me that murder is wrong. All it takes is the ability to observe and reflect to know that murder is wrong.

    Though religious texts condemn murder, there are people killed in the name of religion every day. I don’t believe that committing a crime has anything to do with religious beliefs. Extremism in any form is dangerous, whether from a deist, theist, or atheist.

    Pantheism makes more sense to me than monotheism. If all things are divine, then there doesn’t need to be a book of rules. If everything is treated as though it is divine, and we behave with divinity, no one would hurt anyone–ever.

  31. There you go again Marshal, starting with a conclusion and then trying to justify it. You are so blinded by your delusion you don’t even recognize the nonsensicality and anti-logic of your statement:
    “More accurately, it is the case that you dismiss the testimony of the Biblical authors without reason. You assume they are either lying or delusional and do so without any basis by which one can legitimately denigrate their credibility.”

    I can substitute the word biblical there for Jewish, Buddhist, Hinduist, Islamist or flying spaghetti-monsterist and then equally negate Christianity. The problem with you not comprehending basic logic results in you making profoundly flawed arguments that don’t hold up to even minor scrutiny.

    And then you make a total fool of yourself:
    “This doesn’t make any logical sense. Anecdotal evidence, or if you prefer, testimonial evidence, is evidence. Period.”
    No, not period. Definitely not period. Anecdotal evidence is not acceptable in science as proof because it doesn’t support a general rule/pattern.
    e.g. If someone has never left Japan they may believe the world’s incidence of eating raw fish is high. It is high in Japan. But if they say “everyone eats raw fish”, that’s anecdotal evidence because everyone I know does”- that’s anecdotal evidence and DOES NOT PROVE EVERYONE EATS RAW FISH.
    Testimonial evidence is also not “evidence. period”- people regularly make false claims. People testified at witch trials and witches were burnt, that doesn’t mean their testimonial evidence was factual.
    Stop pretending you understand logic and actually open a book to read about it.

  32. Regardless of the truth of the statement made by a witness, his testimony is still evidence. You seem to want to make your points by suggesting I mean anything more than that. Is it good evidence? Is it the best? Is it contradicted by other evidence? These questions are valid of ANY form of evidence. My statement was merely that it is indeed evidence and the point is that one cannot then say that no evidence for God exists when the Bible is, at the very least, a collection of separate testimonies supporting the premise. Not good enough for you? Fine. But it is still evidence and the beginning of the arguments and proofs that justify the belief of God’s existence.

    Furthermore, my argument here is that those who deny the testimonies of the Biblical authors do so with no reason other than their own lack of experience with supernatural events, and thus, they dismiss the testimonies of others. It is the same as your example above. Because the hypothetical person above has not lived anywhere but Japan, he believes everyone eats raw fish. This is not necessarily true. (I say “necessarily” because we must address this from a position of no knowledge of the truth at hand. We in fact do know that not every eats raw fish, but put forth as a hypothetical scenario, we cannot act on that knowledge. We MUST view the scenario as if we are being introduced to a testimony without full knowledge of the truth.) In the same way, to dismiss the testimonies of the Biblical authors without knowing anything about their character or mental capacities is equally dishonest. It must at least stand as true with a caveat: we don’t know the guys speaking, so we’ll set it aside until further evidence and arguments can be heard.

    So, like the raw fish guy, we DO know that it isn’t true, so his testimony CAN be dismissed as evidence. We DO NOT know that about what the Biblical authors are saying. We cannot prove they were delusional, deceitful or anything but accurate and honest about their testimonies until evidence to the contrary can be brought about, OR, arguments and evidence that would show they COULDN’T know the truth of what they experienced could be brought about, OR, evidence that explains what they perceived was not what they thought it was could be brought about.

    Thus, to get to your initial statement, I’m not starting with a conclusion. I’m starting with the testimonies and those have played a part in compelling the conclusions I now hold. Conversely, what is worse is that the atheist begins with a conclusion of their own, but doesn’t do a damned thing to justify it at all. They simply dismiss whatever is put forth as evidence, even claiming what is put forth doesn’t qualify as evidence even when it matches the definition (as testimony clearly does in law). They stand pat simply because they have not experienced a supernatural event of their own and thus insist no supernatural events could have ever occurred. In short, you excuse yourselves from the standards you impose upon your opponents.

    Finally, for now, testimony IS evidence. PERIOD. This does not mean it is all that is necessary to prove a point, but that it is, by definition, evidence. The period simply means that there is no argument that contradicts this fact. It IS evidence PERIOD. NOT the only evidence required.

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