Friday, August 06, 2010

Christian Belief and the Simple Skeptic

This blog post at STR on Christianity and skepticism resonates well with a lot of the back-and-forth I have seen over the evidence for Christianity. Often the skeptic is adept at a handful of specialized arguments that cast doubt on belief, but then may struggle to provide positive evidence for a belief they want to espouse.

The excerpts below apply to the “simply doubting skeptic” and not to a more robust project of positive evidence for a non-theistic position, but they are provocative nonetheless. The simple skeptic shakes Christians far more than he or she ought.

Critics of Christianity - or any other number of issues - sometimes think that skepticism is the default position toward our claims. Always posing questions and doubt, but never offering support for these. They think skepticism is a safe default position despite an argument offered them.

Many critics of Christianity pose counterarguments and rebuttals of our claims. But some merely pose questions to sow seeds of doubt and think they've done enough to dismiss Christianity. Doubts and questions do not constitute counter-evidence.

And again…

This is a simple matter of epistemology and reason, not unique to Christianity. Any position supported by evidence and arguments should be met by critics with reasons and arguments of their own. If they only respond with skepticism, they've done nothing at all to to negate any of the justification for the other view. At this point, one view has evidence to support it, and the other - and skepticism is a position about a view - has none. The position that has been justified has the rational advantage. The one that hasn't, doesn't.

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