Religious Claims are not Evidence

bad logicThis seems to be a common misconception among theists, that anyone who makes a claim that they have had an experience with a god is actually evidence that said god exists.  Nothing could be further from the truth but so many of these theists, no matter how many times it’s explained, simply can’t get it through their heads.  I recently went through a long debate here with someone who just refuses to acknowledge that a story of an experience is not evidence that the experience is true.

The real problem is that none of these claims bear up under any kind of objective examination.  All of these claims that I have seen consist of “I had some kind of experience I cannot explain, therefore God did it”.  It is a classic example of the argument from ignorance logical fallacy.  That’s just not how a logical argument operates.  If something happens to you that you cannot explain, you do not go leaping wildly to the explanation that you most favor, you actually try to find the real solution, moving from the actual experience, step-by-step, toward a credible conclusion, supported by evidence and reason.  Say a vase falls off a table.  You don’t just jump to “a unicorn did it!”  You take each logical option and examine the evidence to see if it fits.  Was there a minor earthquake at the time?  You can check out the USGS website.  Did someone bump the table?  Did a truck go by outside?  Was there a  gust of wind?  What evidence do you actually have that fits the data at hand?  If you exhaust all logical possibilities, the only rational solution you can have is “I don’t know”.

One thing you cannot do is simply invent a solution because you don’t like not knowing.  You can’t say “that vase fell off the table because of ghosts”.  You have no evidence that ghosts are real.  You have no data tying the factual existence of ghosts to that particular event.  Your belief in ghosts or your desire for there to be ghosts is not proof that there actually are ghosts.  The same can be said for actions supposedly taken by gods.  First you have to prove that the god actually exists, then you have to provide a step-by-step causal chain from the experience to the actually real god.  You can’t skip steps.  You can’t make illogical leaps.  You have to move slowly and purposely from one step to the next until you have demonstrated the entire claim is true.  Theists have been utterly unable to do this, even once.

And let’s be honest, even the theists don’t take this idea seriously when it comes to any other claim.  People who claim to have been abducted by aliens?  Those claims aren’t taken at the same face value that theists expect their own claims to be.  Bigfoot, leprechauns, unicorns, it doesn’t matter, theists would reject these claims out of hand.  To use the example I’ve used many times in the past, someone running up to you and proclaiming that Godzilla is destroying the city, that would not be accepted as evidence that Godzilla was real, but as the ravings of a crackpot.  Virtually no Christian is going to accept the same kind of claims made about another god, yet they expect people to immediately buy into their own claims about their own God.  Sure, some theists might try to twist the claims of other religions around to support their own gods, ie. “that’s not proof of Vishnu, that’s proof of Satan!”, but when the exact same thing is said about a competing deity as they are saying about their own, they’re incredibly biased about what they consider evidence and what they do not.

Of course, then they’ll come up with the old gem “you’re just biased against this explanation!”  Of course I’m not.  I don’t care which explanation is actually true, so long as it is the most likely explanation to be actually true.  The only bias I have is toward the factual truth.  I’m not anti-religion, I’m pro-reality.  So far, no one has demonstrated the existence of any god(s) to me rationally and via evidence.  So long as that is the case, I am not going to believe in god(s), just as I am not going to believe in leprechauns or unicorns for the exact same reasons. So many of these people are so desperate for their favored solutions to be right that they just stop looking at any other solutions, their faith makes it a one-size-fits-all “fact”, whether it’s factual or not.

I suppose it’s no surprise that theists don’t understand these points since theistic faith is diametrically opposed to rational logic.  They think that feeling good is the only justification they believe and when someone calls them on it, they immediately start applying the ideas that they know best, even if they are laughably bad.  I suppose that’s why debates with theists never really go anywhere, everyone is speaking a different language.

5 thoughts on “Religious Claims are not Evidence”

    1. They really do have a lot in common, don't they? However, trolls do what they do on purpose, their goal is to piss people off, the religious are doing it unintentionally because they are either not smart enough or not willing to think about the things they believe critically or rationally.

      And thanks for listening to our little podcast! 🙂

        1. His tend to be shorter and only come out every other week so it's easier to catch up on. We're just very verbose on ours. Just finished editing the one that comes out on Friday. 🙂

  1. I am surrounding by religious idiots who souse their livers, smoke crack & meth, etc. They intimidate and bully me, knowing I’m an atheist. But try debating them on THEIR behavior and they’re always right, no matter what.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPG only)