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Are Theists the Only People Who Have the “Burden of Proof”?

As an atheist, we frequency found it required to urge my position when articulate with friends who believed in the existence of God. After all, my Christian friends were the ones who were making a explain about an invisible Being; positively the weight of explanation belonged to them rather than me, right? As an atheist, we simply held the “default” position: There’s no need to urge the deficiency of something that appears to be… absent! From my perspective, theists alone were the ones who indispensable to make a case. My position as an non-believer was self-evident. This proceed almost always put my Christian friends in a defensive position. They found themselves struggling to arrange the justification while we simply criticized the effect of any piece of their case. we never stopped to consider that I competence also need to make a case for what we believed, and my Christian friends were incompetent to denote my shortcoming to do so. Today, as a Christian who has been concerned in the hearing of justification for the past 25 years, we know that atheists also have a weight of proof. All of us, in attempting to explain the star around us, pierce from a series of questions to a single responsibility:

There Are Many Questions

Atheists and theists both determine that the big questions of life are numerous. How did the star come into existence? Why does the star vaunt the ‘appearance’ of ‘fine tuning’? How did life originate? Why does biology vaunt the ‘appearance’ of ‘design’? How did human alertness come into being? Where does ‘free will’ come from? Why are humans so paradoxical in nature? Why do conceptual dignified truths exist? Why do we trust human life to be precious? Why does pain, immorality and misapplication exist in the world? While atheists and theists have their own list of unanswered questions, we all determine that there are many important issues that need to be examined.

There Are Only Two Kinds of Answers

In the end, the answers to these questions can be divided into two elementary categories: Answers from the viewpoint of philosophical naturalism (a viewpoint we held as an atheist), or answers that accept the existence of abnormal forces (a viewpoint we now hold as a theist). In other words, there are only two kinds of forces that could comment for the star and all in it: impersonal forces (as accessible in a philosophically healthy worldview), or personal forces (as accessible in a worldview that is open to the existence of a super/extra/supra-natural Being). Atheists say that all in the star (and all of life’s many critical questions) can be explained from a quite naturalistic viewpoint (without the involvement of a supernatural, Divine Being). Theists disagree that the justification requires the involvement of a personal, intelligent, conceptual Creator.

There Is Only One Shared Responsibility

Both groups, therefore, share a common weight of proof. If theists are going to predicate God as the answer to some (or all) of the questions I’ve described, we must be means and peaceful to yield justification for the existence and activity of a personal, Divine Being. If atheists are going to disagree that adequate answers exist but the need for God, they must also be means and peaceful to yield justification for the sufficiency of impersonal, naturalistic forces. In possibly case, both groups (if they are honest with themselves) must shoulder the weight of making their case. The weight of explanation is not singular to the theist; all of us must make the case for the choice of causes. One side defends supernaturalism, the other defends philosophical naturalism. One side argues for a personal, abnormal cause, the other for a quite impersonal, naturalistic set of forces.


The inlet of the questions (and the singular categories of intensity answers) ought to motivate us to confirm which of the two exegetic possibilities is many reasonable. While atheists are infrequently unpersuaded by the arguments for God’s existence, they are still woefully incompetent to yield awake and adequate answers to the many critical questions of life associated to the means of the universe, the coming of design, the start of life, the reality of human free will and the existence of conceptual dignified truth. Theists aren’t the only ones who have to answer these questions. If naturalism is true, naturalists have their own singular weight of proof.


J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.

This essay first seemed at J. Warner’s ColdCaseChristianity.com website.


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