Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence, and Belief in God
by Robin Schumacher
When it comes to belief in God, is extraordinary evidence truly needed? If it is, does such a thing exist for God? Lastly, if such a standard is necessary, then does it also apply to the atheist worldview if it makes extraordinary claims?
What is ‘Extraordinary Evidence’?
Before I say anything else, I want to first make it clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a person asking for reasons and evidence to back up a truth claim. Since consequences typically exist in every area of life for being wrong, there is everything right in asking questions and requesting some form of verification to validate claims made by others that impact one’s life. In fact, one of Christianity’s best defenders – Francis Schaeffer – once said, “Every honest question must be given an honest answer. It is unbiblical for anyone to say, ‘Just believe.’”
But, what about needing extraordinary evidence for God? Is that necessary? Before we can answer, we have to know what the skeptic means when they say they want evidence that is ‘extraordinary’.
If the unbeliever equates extraordinary with something that is supernatural, the situation becomes untenable as the skeptic is usually asking for evidence to prove another supernatural event like Jesus’ resurrection. If they require another miracle to validate a prior miracle, then they immerse themselves in an infinite series of requests as the second miracle now needs a third and so on.
If, by extraordinary, the non-Christian means something that is scientifically provable via repeatable experimentation and such, then nothing from history or any singular occurrence can be embraced as being true, and few are willing to assume that much skepticism.
If extraordinary means more than the usual, then is it a matter of quantity (e.g. 100 people saw something vs. just 5) or probability (the mathematical odds being likely or remote), or authority (experts agreeing/disagreeing) or a combination of these and others?
If we use the last definition, which is the only one truly feasible out of the three, then I would like you to consider that, where Christianity is concerned, the bases are well covered. Let me explain…
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