The Burden of Proof



The Burden of Proof


In legal matters, as well as most other things in the real world, the burden of proof is always on the one making the claim. If someone accused you of murdering someone and you were charged with the crime of murder, during your trial it would be up to the State to “prove” beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the murder that you have been accused of. Indeed as it should be the ‘burden of proof’ would be on the person or entity making the claim. It would not be up to you to prove you did not commit the murder, and this, of course, is how it should be.

Most things in life operate this way … except in the area known as religion. I have been asked before to prove there is no God, and although I believe the evidence weighs heavily in my favor, I can’t prove a negative. I also do not have to because the burden of proof in this lies with the one making the claim, the theist. Someone could not claim to be an atheist had there not been a theist first. I could not claim to not be something without knowing what it is that I am claiming not to be.  It stands to reason the theist made the claim and has the burden of proof in this matter.

If I were to make the claim that I have little green men living under my bed, and at night they come out and talk to me, most people would assume that the burden of proof lies with me to substantiate this claim. It would not be up to others to prove I do not have little green men hiding under my bed; because it would be impossible for them to do so, you can’t prove a negative. I might say they only talk to me or that only I can see them making it impossible for anyone to prove that I am wrong. But since I am not able to prove my statement, most sane and rational people would discount my claim as the ramblings of a mad man.

Should we give any more credibility to someone making the claim for a God without first demanding they give proof to their claim?  Why do we not demand the same proof for this claim as we do everything else in life?

God On Trial



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