In science, we ask, “What’s the evidence?”, before believing. Only religion* asks us to believe first and consider the evidence later, if ever.
1. I am not claiming that all religions do this. Rather, I’m claiming that if/when this happens, it only seems to happen in the context of religion. (If I’ve missed any non-religious examples of this, please let me know and I will issue a correction!)
2. Nor am I making the scientistic claim that the only way to know something is the scientific method. For the record, I think that claim is self-defeating. (If the only way to know something is the scientific method, do we know “the only way to know something is with the scientific method” through the scientific method? Of course not. The claim undermines belief in itself.) Rather, I’m comparing scientific claims, such as:
X: Drug A works better than Drug B
to religiously significant empirical claims, such as:
Y: Jesus rose from the dead.
Nobody in the scientific community would say it’s okay to believe X before looking at the scientific evidence. In contrast, some religious philosophers do defend the idea that it’s okay to believe Y before looking at the historical evidence. In fact, William Lane Craig goes even further. He says it’s okay to believe Y without ever looking at the evidence. Furthermore, even if the historical evidence made it highly likely that Y is false, he’s gone on record saying that he would continue to believe Y anyway.
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