It is often alleged by many atheists that all religions are the same, and all religions are false, and since Christianity is a religion, therefore Christianity must also be false. They will answer our defense of Christianity by saying we’re merely engaging in special pleading. This issue is similar to that in a previous post of mine wherein I quoted Stephen Robert’s statement regarding the alleged equivalence of all “gods.” If it is true that both the quantity and quality of evidence attesting to the truth of all particular religions or gods are the same – that is, if each religion is no more and no less feasible than the other – then to argue for the truth of one particular religion to the exclusion of all the others would in fact be special pleading. However, it isn’t true, and this raises a couple of problems for the atheist.
First off, it takes considerably more work, for the atheist who says he’s arguing on strictly empirical terms, to disprove Thor or Allah than the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Flying Spaghetti Monster has a definite point of creation, and its intended purpose is clear: it was constructed as a parody, and therefore does not exist in reality, by definition (honest atheists will accept this as valid reasoning). Disproving Thor isn’t quite as straightforward, and yet there is at least one way, as we can see in history, that the existence of Thor was disproven. Legend has it there was a tree dedicated to Thor many years ago. It was said that cutting this tree down would incur the wrath of Thor. A Christian missionary proceeded to cut the tree down, and to the surprise of everyone but the Christian, Thor did not appear in his thunderous array and strike down the missionary. If cutting down that tree should have incurred the wrath of Thor, and it ultimately did not, then it’s reasonable to conclude Thor does not exist. I might point out that it took a Christian to disprove Thor’s existence, but such steers away from the bigger point.
Second, it’s not even true that the atheist is arguing on strictly empirical terms, because his assumption of naturalism betrays that very fact. He has his own (non-empirical, I might add) pre-commitments, prejudices, presuppositions, regarding the nature of reality. And Christians, in accordance with biblical reasoning, are to challenge this. “Facts” of reality are interpreted underneath the umbrella of “Nature of Facts.” Facts are secondary to the meaning or nature of Fact. This explains much more fully the out-of-hand rejection of religion and gods by certain atheists. It’s not, “I’m not convinced that this religion is true,” but more like, “No religion is true. Therefore any fact supporting any religion isn’t valid.” But he seldom articulates this, because he is often unaware that he possesses his own take on the Nature of Facts. His feigned neutrality is in reality a plain bias rooted in sinful suppression of his knowledge of the truth of God.
What the atheist is calling “special pleading” actually amounts to “more work I have to do.” His quasi-objective pronouncement is in fact a cover for his personal lack of effort. And let’s face it, it’s much easier to reject ideas out of hand than to articulate the reason they should be rejected. He has an immense amount of work to do, in order to disprove all the religions of the world. And until he does, he has no warrant for saying they’re false (as though that should stop him from saying so). But let’s suppose that he has lived long enough, and has observed every fact of every religion (because there is only a finite number of different religions). He has yet to account for his very ability to reason and observe. And until he can account for that fact, he has not fully evaluated the Christian religion.
The Christian religion is so robust as to include claims regarding the very reasoning abilities of the atheist in his denial of Christianity’s truth. Indeed, there is nothing the atheist can do or say that *can’t* be explained by Christianity. The the scheme of Evolution, the most popular fallback reason for the non-Christian, depends upon ideas and preconditions for which the atheist cannot account. The moment an atheist (or any other non-Christian) opens his mouth to utter a syllable in denial of Christianity, he has begged the question in favor of Christianity’s truth.
But, just so that I’m being perfectly clear: I’m not alleging that Christianity is just the best explanation for reality. I’m asserting that it is the *only consistent* explanation for reality, and therefore the best. And since the doctrine of Christianity is the formulation of reality given to us by the very God who created reality, it’s only appropriate to affirm such, unashamed. As such, it has never been refuted. Particular historical facts surrounding events in the Bible have been questioned, but only by men who on better days would admit their reasoning isn’t perfect all the time, and their hyper-skepticism regarding biblical history consequently destroys all knowledge they could possibly hope for, resulting in special pleading on their own part. Grand “scientific” schemes have been constructed as an allegedly viable alternative to the Biblical account, but these constructs fail to be either consistent with themselves or comprehensive enough to stand on the same ground of Christianity in competition.
The charge of special pleading assumes Christians evaluate all religions like atheists do. It is not an accurate reflection of the reason we hold Christianity to be true. We certainly don’t grant that any other religion has any amount of feasibility, and don’t have to, given our “nature of facts.” The atheist cannot. He simply has no basis for rejecting any religion. He’s forced to admit that Rastafarianism and Islam have at least some degree of feasibility. And because of this, he cannot simply write off religion the way he does.
If there’s a different way I should be understanding what special pleading is referring to, then by all means, clue me in.