Who Has the Burden of Proof When Discussing God?
by Jimmy Akin
The subject of who has the burden of proof frequently comes up in discussions between Christians and atheists.
Both parties sometimes try to put the burden of proof on the other.
At times, Christians claim that atheists have the burden of proof.
At times, atheists claim that Christians have the burden of proof.
Somewhat surprisingly, both parties are sometimes right . . . and sometimes wrong.
The Burden of Proof
The basic idea of the “burden of proof” is that a particular party has an obligation to provide proof of a claim that is being disputed.
This principle is applied in a variety of settings—in courtrooms, in science, in philosophical discussion, and in debates.
When used rightly, it can help keep discussions on track.
When used wrongly, it can cause discussions to descend into squabbles that cause the discussion to go off track.
So let’s look at the ways the burden of proof is assigned and see how it applies to the existence of God…
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