“Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence”, Says Ordinary Intellect
God’s existence has been debated throughout the centuries – often fiercely, although most of the time a discussion for café enthusiasts who find the question the mark of a higher intellect; desiring the need to prove themselves worthy of the assumption. For most theists, the debate is considered a matter of common sense, not needing much proof at all, if. That is why it is the atheist who continues to bring this question to light, considering it the greatest aspect of their intelligence that they lack a belief in something. They always justify their endless skepticism about the existence of God because humanity must be “spared from the mythos of a primitive past”. Religion harms us all, so the very reality (or unreality) of the Divine must constantly be questioned until we are freed from our delusions – or so the story goes.
In any case, it is a remarkably noble goal and burden to take on. Atheists are the self-proclaimed superheroes of the contemporary world, saving us all from the evil plans of malicious phantoms for which they claim they lack belief in. Forget the Avengers, Don Quixote is the exemplar.
Windmills and dragons aside, a common weapon used to engage with believers in the Divine is the assertion that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Evidence is considered the hallmark of a justifiable belief for most people, so it doesn’t seem very extraordinary to make such an assertion.
But in fact it is quite extraordinary.
For believers in the Divine, God’s existence is in fact an ordinary aspect of reality; something easily grasped by the mind and deduced from basic internal and external observations. Perhaps for the atheist it is extraordinary, but why a theist should care about the subjective value judgment of a person who doesn’t seem to see the forest for the trees, is the real question that should be asked. If it is the case that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ then every theists on the planet need only wait for such extraordinary evidence to prove the assertion that God’s existence fits within the realm of “extraordinary”.
The atheist may respond that the above requirement is a “switching of the burden of proof” and a ludicrous standard – never mind theirs are double. However, this does not allow them to escape their own demands, nor the reality that they themselves must justify their own skepticism to a believer. For the atheist, their epistemological foundations are “common sense”, but for the theist it is likewise considered the case. Both cannot possibly be, however, very few atheists will ever get farther than making excuses for why they shouldn’t even discuss those possibilities. Until such a conversation begins, there is little that ordinary minds can do to convince us of our follies.