Does Your Worldview Allow For Beliefs?

“You believe anything you read.”

That’s a common and fallacious accusation made by many atheists. It’s fallacious because it’s a tu quoque fallacy, which is a type of ad hominem. It’s often paired with arguing about a character from fiction, like Superman or Harry Potter. The real question that the atheist fails to answer, is how, based on that worldview, can he or she prove that anything is true or false, real or unreal, fact or fiction, if every thought, every belief that they have is the end result of a mindless, unguided process, that of Darwinian micromutational evolution.

The truth of the matter is that there are legitimate reasons to believe the claims made in the books that comprise the Bible are true, based on several issues.

1. The texts that make up much of the contents of the Bible make historical claims. Unlike any other religious document, much of the text of the Old Testament are historical in nature, as are the Gospel accounts. Some historical claims are more difficult to verify than others, simply because many of the attempts to verify them try to make point-for-point comparisons, and that is simply not how history works. For the most part, many of the historical claims made by the writers of Scripture have secondary confirmation, and those that don’t have to be examined on other basises.

2. There are philosophical claims made that have to be dealt with. The philosophical opposition to supernaturalism plays out here. If a person holds to a dogmatic naturalistic, materialistic philosophy, they automatically assume it’s truth without proving it. The writers of Scripture took a specific philosophical position and accepted certain realities that pair nicely with it. It allowed the writers to look at two things at once, allowing them to accept the reality of both. (There’s a discussion of such issues in this post.) Philosophical claims have to be judged on the basis of the arguments.

3. The intersection of a philosophical claim and a historical claim meet in the texts that make up the Scriptures. For example, the historical claim of Jesus’ resurrection and the philosophical claim that he was raised by the power of God have to be judged by different criteria, yet have to be judged simultaneously. The historical fact of it has far-reaching results that are felt even today. If it is a fact that Christ was raised, given that we know of no natural force capable of such an act, it logically and therefore necessarily follows that force that accomplished it must be supernatural. Someone might say that is jumping to a conclusion, but if that’s where the evidence points, that is where we must go, unless there is a prior, unreasonable commitment to naturalistic materialism, which often seems to be the case.

In the end, it comes down to whether or not the worldview in question has a meaningful and consistent means of determining what reality is, without engaging in fallacious special pleading.

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