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A thought on ‘evidence’ and Christianity…

There is a thread on my forum right now where I discuss whether or not two of the members are in fact the same person.  (Click here to read it).  The conversation has gone just about how I expected it to.  It was dismissed by the interested parties, then as it became evident I was seriously proposing the idea, there was mockery, etc.  When it finally dawned on them that I was actually using their own arguments against theism and the supernatural, one ‘cut and run’ and the other went hostile.

The objection is that the types of arguments and the types of evidences regarding theism and the supernatural are going to be in a class different than any other types of claims.   This is why one person dismissed the thread’s argument and the other went hostile.  To them, it is patently self-evident that supernatural claims are in a completely different class of things.  Thus, it so happens (in their minds) that their logic applies to one class of claims, but through some miracle, does not apply to another class of claims.  (Natural claims versus supernatural claims.  Note the common denominator).

Now, this may be self-evident to many others as well.  It is not my purpose to deal with this issue in this blog.  What is my purpose is to point out what may surprise some people.  Two things, really. 

1.  What the Christian is asking is only that the same rules of logic and inquiry that we apply to everything else and every other claim be applied to the claims of Christianity. We are not seeking ‘special treatment’ in terms of epistemology.  It rises and falls based on standard, normal investigation (in contrast, see gnosticism). 

2.  It is in fact the atheist and secularist that wants to apply different kinds of logic and inquiry to the question.  It is they that insist on maintaining a double standard.

Now, it may be that this is correct perspective, but let’s not have it said that it is the Christian employing separate epistemological methods (ways of gaining knowledge).  If in fact Christianity is established using standard methods, to me that is a point in its favor.  But if it is really the case that it is ok to apply a logical forumulation against one claim but refuse it to have force against a similar claim, and it is argued that even though both are ‘claims,’ the fact that one is ‘natural’ and the other ‘supernatural’ is enough to blow that similarity out of the water, surely this must be demonstrated without begging the question.  In other words, it is not enough to sit around dumb-founded that others don’t find the same things as self-evident as you do.  You’ve got to actually demonstrate it somehow- without pointing to your own notions of what constitutes self-evident.

At anyrate, Christianity has this central claim:  Jesus died and was raised from the dead- a real fact of history.  If standard historical methods that do not assume in advance that the supernatural is to be discounted validates Christianity, too bad for the atheist.  No one wonders how they’d feel if we applied a historical method that assumed in advance that the supernatural was always to be accepted.  But that’s just what I mean.  They think it perfectly acceptable in the first case it is perfectly rational to assume in advance that the supernatural is not real but they’d howl like banshees if we assumed in advance that the supernatural is real.

In order to justify this, again, they have to show some independent reason why the assumption is justified in one case and not in the other.  Some parallel, some analogy, something else within human experience… but they cannot.  There is only one example, one situation, where they allow this.  And that’s in questions of the supernatural.

 

Edit:  It would appear that the ‘hostile’ one still actually hasn’t caught on.

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