The “Extraordinary Claim” Argument
A popular argument used by Atheists is called the “Extraordinary Claim Argument.” It says that an extraordinary claim (like the resurrection of Christ from the dead) requires extraordinary evidence. Of course the kind of evidence that history is capable of presenting–eyewitness testimony that is consistent versus strained alternative explanations that ignore basic facts–is never enough. The Extraordinary Claim Argument turns out to be a clever way of setting the bar so high that, no matter what kind of evidence the Christian presents, the Atheist does not even have to deal with it.
Next time somebody tries this gambit on you, remind him that it cuts both ways. The idea that this wonderful, intricately designed, and finely tuned universe just randomly popped into existence out of nothing for no reason and then proceeded to organize itself through random purposeless processes to the point that it contains creatures able to understand its laws—is that not an extraordinary claim?
The notion that the Disciples were transformed from clueless wimps and cowards to people who turned the world upside down by what they knew to be a lie—is that not an extraordinary claim? The notion that gnostic texts from two centuries too late have the same authority as documents written closer to the events than we are to the assassination of Kennedy by people who were there–is that not an extraordinary claim?
The Extraordinary claim argument then is ultimately a cop-out. It is a two-edged sword that cuts the hand that wields it. But in the light of the other claims set forth here, it is tempting to say that the idea that Atheists are the only ones who care about reason and evidence while Christians are the ones who believe absurdities out of blind faith—that may be the most extraordinary claim of all!
Posted on December 2, 2013, in Christianity, Donald Williams, Philosophy, Theology and tagged apologetics, argument, atheism, Christianity, Extraordinary Claims, Resurrection, Skepticism. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.