Testing Assertions Like Serpents and Doves
by Robert Paul Vicars IV
Over the years of engaging in “religious dialogue,” I’ve noticed something that people do often. They apply rules of verification to the beliefs of others, yet their own beliefs they take as “matter of fact,” often with no data to support them. Or they make claims that cannot pass their own test of truth (or are self-refuting). Either of these are easy to do, and I’m certain we are all guilty of some form of one or the other on occasion. So I believe it is important that we be able to recognize these errors in the claims of others, and, equally important, in our own claims. This isn’t easy because you have to separate yourself from the content of the discussion and question methods of gaining the knowledge, as well as apply tests of “internal consistency.”
I had an atheist buddy that I would dialogue with routinely. I asked him why he chose atheism over belief in God. He stated that there is no empirical evidence for God, which is something he requires for his belief system. Yet, as we would dialogue, he would routinely offer beliefs for which there was no empirical evidence. For instance, he believed the Levitical Laws presented by God through Moses were merely a “control mechanism” concocted by Moses for the masses in which he found himself responsible. When I challenged him on this presumed “fact,” he had no hard evidence, yet hard evidence is what he wanted from me.
As you engage those in our culture that are more hostile to theistic worldviews, remember to hold them to the same evidentiary and logical standards to which they hold you. But the shoe can also be on the other foot…
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