I’m pretty good with logic, but I haven’t extensively studied philosophy and the few classes I’ve taken have never covered burden of proof.
From my understanding, burden of proof falls upon whoever makes the claim, correct?
Here’s a scenario that happened last night in a discussion on Facebook, between a few Christians and an atheist:
The atheist claims that Christian beliefs are nonsense, and that God does not exist. His sole argument (as far as I can tell) is that the Christian has the burden of proof, and that since Christians are unable to prove it then God does not exist.
I reply to him, saying that the atheist also has the burden of poof, since he is also making a claim.
The atheist tells me that I am wrong, and that the burden of proof only falls upon the person making the claim when that claim is that something exists.
(I was busy and had to leave, so I didn’t stick around to debate it further.)
Am I correct in saying that the atheist is completely wrong on this?
Assuming a Christian was attempting to debate this, then I agree that the Christian would have the burden of proving his case.
However, the atheist in this scenario is not simply denying the Christian’s claim (i.e. “weak atheism”), but instead makes his own claim that God does not exist (i.e. “strong atheism”).
Such a claim is just as faith-based as the belief that God does exist, so I don’t see why the atheist does not also have the burden of proof in this scenario.
Related to that, his entire argument (which seemed to be something along the lines of, “God does not exist because you have not proven that he does”) seems fallacious in that it assumes that God’s existence depends on the Christian’s ability to prove God’s existence, not the other way around. It is quite possible that God could exist and the Christian could have a poor argument or no argument at all.