How would you respond to a Christian who says “Just like light cannot be proven to a blind man, God must be experienced to believe.”?
I feel like I’ve already addressed this question before, at least on the show, but I can’t find it on the blog. When I googled the question, I found many, many examples of Christians asking this question as if it were a knock down argument. It’s not, so here we go.
They’re wrong. Light CAN be proven to a blind man. Here, I’ll give you an example.
Give the blind man five boxes, indistinguishable except for one box which has two modifications: 1. the box has some braille on one side that distinguishes it from the others. 2. The box has an “X” drawn on the front. The blind man cannot see the X or detect it, of course, but you can.
A small object will be placed in the box that is different. The blind man can verify which box it is by touching it, but you may not touch it. You leave the room and he will arrange the boxes in any way he chooses, from 1 to 5. Then you walk into the room, LOOK, and without going near the boxes, you state which box contains the object (the one with the X).
Your accuracy rate should be close to 100%. Any reasonable person would recognize this as a demonstration that you have a reliable way of “sensing” the object that he does not. He may not “experience” this but he should be willing to accept the evidence that something outside his experience is objectively present.
This is not the case with God. Theists do not have any useful means of demonstrating that the God idea is real, and in fact many of them get quite petty and start muttering things about “scientism” and “evidentialism” if you ask for some. The question itself, in fact, is framed in such a way as to imply that no evidence besides seeing is acceptable for the existence of light, and therefore it really is a good idea to believe things without evidence.
Nothing doing. If we reduce “knowledge” to subjective experience, the same argument works equally well for anyone claiming to have unverifiable experiences. That means that we would have no choice but to believe a Muslim saying “Hey, I spoke to Allah yesterday, and He told me that Jesus DEFINITELY wasn’t His son.”