First of all, atheism is inherently illogical. We have that on irrefutable declaration from God, but there is also a syllogism which also proves it without invoking God: The only way you can know there is no God (which is the definition of atheism) is to search the whole universe -- including also all parallel universes, and any supra-universes in which our universe might be embedded -- all at once, and not find any god. You must do it all at once, lest a mischievous god might jump from place to place so as to not be where you happen to be looking at that moment. But if you successfully did that, you would be a god. The smarter atheists understand that and claim instead to be agnostic, that is, they admit to not knowing -- despite that they live as if they knew very well. This fellow was less honest than most of them: his opening salvo was to claim that "Atheism is agnostic," which is a lie and a denial of the dictionary definition and his own use of the word.
But you don't win debates by calling the other guy a liar, even if he is. You must prove it in his own words. It's not that hard to do with atheists, because they are already self-deceived and illogical. It's in the nature of their religion.
So we asked him what evidence he would consider as proof of the existence of God. He refused to offer any positive evidences -- like I said, he was experienced, and he knows that any particular kind of thing he would admit as evidence already exists in support of God. Instead he specified two things that (so he said) are not evidence:
Personal experience is not evidence, andLet's examine these two ideas. The first is obviously bogus, because everything we know is mediated by personal experience. It was easily demonstrated that this fellow did not even believe such nonsense himself. He mentioned having a teen-age son, so I congratulated him on believing in a person who does not exist. He back-pedalled. What he really wanted to say, and started to say, but checked himself, is:
Philosophical arguments are not evidence.
Personal experience of the supernatural is not evidence, because there is no such thing as supernatural.Of course if he had said the whole line, it would have been too obvious that he was begging the question. If the supernatural (God) does not exist, then you have defined all evidence of it out of existence. It's a well-known logical fallacy, commonly committed by atheists and and careless Christians alike. I did say atheists are illogical. So he stopped at the comma. We still have a problem, because he had to admit that personal experience is evidence, so the only distinction here is the qualification that it is evidence of the supernatural he is disallowing. If all other personal experiences can be admitted as evidence, then he must have some apriori reason for rejecting the supernatural because it is supernatural, which is the full intended line. In other words, he was still begging the question. And why would he be disallowing the supernatural apart from any (personal experience of) physical evidence? There is only one other source of knowledge, besides personal experience, and that is philosophical arguments. But he'd already disallowed philosophical arguments. He had painted himself into a corner.
He tried to extricate himself with a different qualification,
Personal experience of the supernatural is not evidence, because it is inconsistent.I postulated to him a thought-experiment, five people who reported seeing (personal experience) a traffic light at a certain corner. Two of them said it was green, and three said it was red, but all agreed it was at the corner of first and Main. Because their reports are inconsistent, we should throw them all out? When evidence like this is brought to a court of law, the response is to bring in further understanding of traffic lights, that they can be either red or green (at different times), or both red and green at the same time (but in different directions). The inconsistency must be examined and determined if the nature of the phenomenon being reported can actually be truly reported in all the ways alleged, before discarding any of the evidence as invalid.
He snuck out his back door exit and was never heard from again.
His problem is that he tried to lie about his atheism, and was caught in the lie. There is no honest way to defend atheism. There isn't even an honest way to defend agnosticism: If you don't know about something as important as your eternal destiny, then you should by all means give due diligence to finding out. But the so-called agnostics are really atheists in sheep's clothing. They don't want to know, because deep in their hearts they really do know that the Christian message is true, and they "do not want this man to reign over [them]."
God, if He exists (and He does exist) has the right to tell us what
to do and not do, and we have the obligation to obey. The atheists will
not have a back door on Judgment Day, and they cannot lie to the All-Seeing,
All-Knowing God Who is Judge over all His Creation. Repent!