One of the funniest things that I have found about the modern unbelieving movement is 1) their constant claim that we should have evidence before we believe anything, or 2) their often-heard pronouncement that sound arguments are needed to warrant holding a particular belief, or 3) their repeated sermons about following reason wherever it leads, or 4) their endless refrains about the fact that we have a duty to seek the truth no matter what the consequences of the truth may be, and so on and so forth, and yet the reason that I find all these claims and assertions humorous is not because I deny their value and worth as ideas–in fact, I wholeheartedly endorse them–but I find them humorous when coming from unbelievers and atheists precisely because they are coming from unbelievers and atheists themselves, and the reason that this fact is humorous is because in an ultimately purposeless and meaningless universe, as it would be on atheism, and at least when speaking objectively and in absolute terms, we have no “duty” or requirement to believe things on evidence, or on arguments, nor must we or “should” we, in some objective sense, endorse reason or seek the truth, for, on atheism, there is no purpose in this universe that makes us do so, and note that even if a consequentialist-type argument is made to try to convince us to endorse these things in a purposeless atheistic universe, that argument will only work if we care about the consequences in question, which is not always the case, and so, when the atheist and unbeliever is telling us that we should do all these things, he is, in essence, doing no more than subjectively emoting, and in a purposeless universe, his claim that we should believe true things rather than false things, or that we should follow the evidence rather than not, is about as convincing, and about as valuable, as him telling us that he likes chocolate ice cream over vanilla, and that we should like chocolate over vanilla too (and this, needless to say, is not a convincing argument); and perhaps the greatest irony of this whole issue is that it is only on something like the Christian worldview that believing truth, and following evidence, and using reason, ultimately and truly and objectively matters, for if God, who is Truth itself, exists and wants / requires all people to come to know of His existence and nature through the things that have been made, and also forbids us to lie–all of which is the case on Christian theism– then all these things mean that on something like Christian theism, we should follow the evidence of our senses, and we should believe true things over false things, and we should use our reason to discover God’s nature through the natural order, and so on, and thus it is the Christian who can objectively claim that we indeed have a duty and should follow the evidence where it leads, and seek and believe the truth, and have reasons for our beliefs, whereas all the atheist can do is advise us of his subjective preferences about these matters, and yet these subjective preferences can be as easily ignored as the atheist’s subjective preferences about ice cream, cars, and Barbie dolls.
It is without a doubt that certain atheists appeal to the idea of a “multi-verse” as a means of combating the problem of the fine-tuning of this universe, but one of the things that is often overlooked and forgotten by such atheists and unbelievers is that even if the multi-verse is a viable and plausible means of addressing the problem of fine-tuning from an atheistic perspective–and this point is itself debatable–the fact remains that the multi-verse, as just a general posit, not only does not necessarily help the atheist, but may actually make the problem for him astronomically worse, for imagine that we somehow gather evidence of the existence of trillions upon trillions upon trillions of other universes, and yet every single one of these other universes is also fine-tuned to permit the existence of embodied intelligent life and yet did not have to be so (essentially, there is no necessary reason that they had to be that way); in such a case, the inference to design has exponentially increased even though the multiverse exists, and so the atheist, in order to make his appeal to the multiverse plausible in terms of its support for the atheistic-naturalistic hypothesis of “it’s just chance”, must not only provide evidence that the multiverse exists, but he must also provide evidence that the multiverses being generated by some universe-generating force (itself possibly fine-tuned) is actually producing a wide variety of different universes with different constants in them, for if the universe-generating force could create any type of universe, and yet was creating only universes which were life-permitting, then this would simply be more evidence for theism, not evidence for atheism (by analogy, just imagine a candy dispenser which could randomly dispense any one of the hundreds of different candies in existence, and yet it only spit out your favorite candy over and over and over again…after about a dozen such occurrences, you would be entirely rational to believe that a ‘mind’ was behind the dispensing, not mere ‘chance’)…and so, as stated, the multiverse, as an idea in and of itself, offers no help to the atheist, for what the atheist needs is a certain type of multiverse, and good luck providing any evidence for that!
One of the most used atheistic catch-phrases in modern times is that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, and while there is much wrong with this phrase there is also much much right with it when properly understood, and yet what is most often overlooked with this idea is that when it is turned on beliefs associated with and linked to the atheistic-naturalistic worldview, the fact is that its effect is utterly devastating to that worldview, for consider, for example, not only that the grand blind-watchmaker interpretation of evolution is something totally alien to our experience, and thus an extraordinary claim, and therefore needing extraordinary evidence, but things are actually astronomically worse than is for the evolutionary narrative, for it is actually the case that one could consider each major claim in the naturalistic evolutionary story as an individual extraordinary claim, and so each of the vast multitude of such claims requires extraordinary evidence, and it is actually needless to say that the grand naturalistic evolutionary story by no means has extraordinary evidence for many (if not most) of its claims (in fact, it does not even have any ordinary evidence for many of its claims…just think of abiogenesis, the Cambrian Explosion, sexual reproduction, consciousness, rationality, etc., etc., etc.); so, in an interesting twist of irony and reasoning, it is actually the very skeptical slogans championed by atheistic-naturalists which give us the grounds and justification to reject ideas integral to the atheistic-naturalist worldview, such as the grand blind watchmaker evolutionary narrative…and so, the next time an unbeliever balks at your rejection of the blind watchmaker version of evolution, and questions your rationality because of it, just reply that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and since no such extraordinary evidence has been provided (“just-so” stories and “we just need more time” pleas do not count) then one is entirely rational to reject the claim until such a time as the extraordinary evidence required to believe all the various myriad extraordinary claims is provided.
Once again, if we are to speak intelligently about the Suppression Thesis, then one of the things that we need to be clear about is what it means to say that God’s existence is “plain” (Romans 1) and thus, in a way, obvious, for this is what the Suppression Thesis contends when it argues that God’s existence is apparent to mankind and yet suppressed by many men, and so, in my view, the best way to understand this idea is in legal terms, which means that we should understand that God’s existence is, essentially, beyond a reasonable doubt, which does not, of course, mean that it is beyond any doubt, or that skepticism cannot be applied to the issue of God’s existence, but rather that none of this skepticism would be reasonable to a reasonable person (and ‘reasonable person’ is also meant in the legal sense) or that the people who apply this skepticism to the question of God’s existence would apply it consistently to any other question in daily and common-sense life, and so the Suppression Thesis would contend that the only way that God’s existence can be denied is through the use of inconsistent and unreasonable tactics; and lest anyone think that such an idea is out-of-sorts or unsound, I note that I have personal experience with the suppression of beliefs which are beyond a reasonable doubt, and indeed, I can think of one specific incident in which a mother simply refused to believe that her adult son was guilty of a specific crime even though there were multiple independent witnesses to the event, the time-frame and circumstances matched, and the adult son himself admitted to the crime, and yet even with all this, the mother would not believe it even though any reasonable person would see that her son was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and yet she simply suppressed that truth because she did not wish to believe it, just as the Suppression Thesis contends is the case with the truth of God’s existence…and note that such examples as the one I provided have been repeated by countless people, so it is not as if versions of the Suppression Thesis, in other areas of daily life, are not played out every single day, thereby giving some credence to the claim that just such a thesis is at work concerning the God question as well.
It is an interesting thing to note–and, in my experience, I have noted it many, many times–how numerous atheists and unbelievers routinely employ hypocritical double-standards and selective hyper-skepticism when arguing against God and for their own positions, such as when, for instance, 1) unbelievers decry believing anything on blind faith and yet believe that, for example, rational subjective consciousness came from unconscious, non-rational, non-subjective chucks of bouncing around matter even though there is absolutely no evidence for this and it is simply accepted, on blind faith, as having somehow occurred, or when 2) unbelievers mock the fact that religious believers accept testimony for historical claims that are a few thousand / hundred years old, yet those same unbelievers often uncritically accept the testimony of scientists concerning their inferences about things that happened millions upon millions of years ago, or when 3) unbelievers demand extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims from religious believers even though for the extraordinary claims of abiogenesis and macroevolution, the evidence is paltry, at best, and yet it is still, for some reason, accepted as sufficient for belief; now, in light of the aforementioned points, I note that the ‘Suppression Thesis’, an idea born out of Romans 1, is the claim that unbelievers know that God exists and yet suppress this truth for moral rather than rational reasons, and in contemplating this idea, and in remembering that some fact or observation counts as evidence for one hypothesis (H1) over another (H2) if that fact or observation is more likely / more expected on the first hypothesis (H1) rather than the second (H2), I would like to argue that I believe that one piece of evidence for the Suppression Thesis is the fact that, as stated earlier, many atheists and other non-believers routinely use those hypocritical double-standards and selective hyper-skepticism to argue for their own position and against theism, which is, I contend, precisely what would be expected if the Suppression Thesis were true (for it would be expected that unbelievers wold use any means necessary to suppress the truth in such a case) but not what would be expected if the Suppression Thesis was not true, and thus the fact that atheists do this does indeed serve, I argue, as some evidence towards the truth of the Suppression Thesis.
In the past, we have already discussed the idea that evidence is inseparably linked to argumentation and reasoning, and also that one cannot call some fact “evidence” of something without arguing for it and reasoning about it, and yet, at the same time, it is also worth noting that in the scheme of argumentative strength, what we should be seeking are arguments rather than mere pieces of evidence, for not only are arguments, such as deductive arguments or even mathematical arguments (2 + 2 = 4, for instance), much stronger than mere pieces of evidence, the fact is also that for “evidences” to become in anyway convincing to the point of needing to be reasonably believed, the evidences need to be combined into a cumulative case argument in order to have the force necessary to be compelling; and so, all this is meant to show that the individual who demands evidence, but not arguments, demands that which is foolish and incoherent, for on the one hand, arguments should be preferred to mere chucks of evidence, for any argument is stronger than some one piece of evidence, and on the other hand, for “evidences” to become powerful and compelling, they must be joined together into an argument which argues that the cumulative combination of the evidences is rationally compelling towards some conclusion, and so again, we see that the constant demand for “evidence” not arguments or reasoning is either an unsound request (for arguments are stronger than a mere piece of evidence) or is incoherent (given that evidences must be combined into an argument to be compelling)…so hopefully this foolish request will finally die the slow death that it deserves.
Yet one more way to reduce the ‘no evidence for God and/or Christianity’ meme to dust is to simply note that testimony is obviously and undeniably evidence–just listen to any court of law to see this fact proven–and there is an overwhelming amount of testimony from people who claim to have seen God, and/or felt God, and/or experienced God, etc., and so this testimony, in and of itself, thus serves as evidence for Christianity and/or God; now note that in this particular case, and for the sake of argument, I am not necessarily saying that this testimony is good evidence (although I think it is), nor am I saying that this testimony might not be explained in some other way or rebuffed, but the fact remains that such testimony is evidence, at least to some degree, and so the claim that there is no evidence for Christianity and/or theism is patently false bullshit.