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Proofs / Evidence

Document written by Paul Swonger (10/24/2010).


This document deals with the subject of proof and evidence regarding God, which is to say the God of Catholicism either specifically or in general. Ultimately this will culminate I hope, in a coherent and complete refutation of common atheist or agnostic arguments. As believers we are ever more frequently presented with seemingly more convincing arguments against belief. Examining whether they stand up to scrutiny is largely the function of this document.

Common Arguments

An ironic observation I have made in my experience debating atheists and agnostics is what I perceive to be a personal aversion to distinction and classification. Be that as it may, and regardless of objections, there are indeed commonalities amongst atheists to the degree that generalizations such as this are justified. So, to be clear, it is first hand experience that has justified me in calling these "common arguments". The first common argument is the statement that theists lack evidence for a God. While not a complete refutation in and of itself, the Sound Evidence Thesis lays the groundwork for answering the vast majority of atheist requests to this effect.

Sound Evidence Thesis

Requests for evidence for God are themselves subject to evaluation under logical criteria. Logically speaking, common attempts at using requests for evidence as arguments can and do fail logically, and I will set forth some distinctions to that effect below. My intent here is to establish whether specific requests for evidence are logically sound.

1. Soundness in approaching the subject matter with reason.

Applying established methods of reason (including logic) to the subject matter of this thesis is sound, which is to say ad hominem attacks on the subject itself should be exposed as such and not taken as valid excuses to avoid the full application of this thesis or reason in general when approaching the subject.

2. Evidential demands must not contradict the stated nature of the hypothesis.

If the request for evidence of God contradicts the nature of God of the hypothesis, there is a logical problem in the request itself. In effect, the request for evidence in contradicting the nature of the hypothesis would then become a Straw Man (Argumentum stramineus homo).

A. Postulated Demonstration of Contradictions

1. Testing in General

Testing God in general demonstrably violates the stated nature of God in Christianity and Catholicism in general and particularly respectively. This is demonstrated via the established and inherent regard both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition affords itself in said premise. This statement is quite different from claiming experiential or other evidence cannot be attained, though in not violating thesis point 2.a.1, the criterion set forth by the hypothesis logically requires adherence (cf. Deuteronomy 6:16, Exodus 17:7, Psalm 78:18-31, Isaiah 7:10-12, Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:12, Acts 15:10, 1 Corinthians 10:9).

2. Compounded Miraculous demonstration

Either a compounding of existing problems or an independent problem may arise specifically in requested miraculous demonstration in that it violates 2.a.1 or that in particular it violates in premise God's will respectively. Being that the premise dictates (for example) a plan is existent, requests to interrupt or change the stated plan contradict the stated nature of the hypothesis for which the evidence is requested. Thus requests for miraculous demonstrations fail (cf. Matthew 4:1-7)

3. Sufficiency of Evidence

It must be acknowledged on premise that if the God postulated in the hypothesis exists, He is the final word on sufficiency of evidence, given that the context of the hypothesis dictates such. If God exists as the hypothesis claims and deigns sufficient evidence exists, unbelief is not justified nor tenable, because that is the nature of the hypothesis. In the very least lack of belief thus becomes irrelevant.