Why Evidence Will Not Convince Some Atheists

by Tim Barnett

The famous atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say to God if he found himself standing before Him after his death. Russell replied, “I probably would ask, ‘Sir, why did you not give me better evidence?’”

For Russell, it all came down to the evidence. The implication is, given better evidence for God, Russell would believe.

Many atheists today make similar claims. For example, while taking questions on The Atheist Voice, Hemant Mehta—the Friendly Atheist—was asked, “What would it take for you to believe in God?”

He replied, “I guess, simply put, I would need to see a miracle. I need evidence for God, and maybe that would come in the form of a miracle that has no possible explanation in the natural world.”

When we hear claims like these, it is tempting to think belief in God comes down to the evidence and nothing else. On this view, it’s as if we have an “evidence meter” in our heads. And when the “evidence meter” reaches a certain level, we believe in God.

But is it really that simple? Does belief in God merely depend on evidence?…

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Why Evidence Will Not Convince Some Atheists