When a man stands up and and says that their god exists, they have quite a mountain (versus a mole hill) of doubt they should try to get over. This is what is called the burden of truth.
My niece comes to me and tells me she is pregnant. Aside from my brain sending a signal to my eyebrows, causing them to raise, the primary thing my brain wants to do is question her.
- What makes you think that?
- How did your test come out?
- Who have you had sex with?
- What on earth is stopping you from using a condom?
- When did you have sex last?
- Where are you having sex?
These questions are all extremely important in understanding what is going on in the world of my niece, in cutting through the bullshit and getting to the meat of the issue; getting through to how this occurred.
Answering these questions will help get through the burden of proof, and it is an example of what all truth claims need to stand up against. You can easily find examples of people not adhering to this, especially in regards to the god situation. Specifically every time that you hear someone say that Atheists need to stand up and prove that god does not exist is a complete and utter absurdity.
I don’t need to bother with proving that my niece is not pregnant. It is not my claim that she is, it is my position to be doubtful until i am provided with the necessary information to be able to conclude that she is. I am not burdened with having to prove that Crank 2 was a good movie, it was never my position. I am forever in the camp of doubt until i am given reason and or evidence to change this position.
I am not in any way shape or form saddened by this, nor should I be. If i had to prove everything wrong before i could not believe in it I would be forced to believe in every single god that has ever existed as well as the pantheon of other idiotic claims that have been put forth, from the most trivial (this pen is red) to the more amazing (our universe is ever expanding and shaped like a donut). As soon as you depart from the skeptical position you are unable to stand on your own with any substantive position. Everything becomes possible and you will be surely overwhelmed by the deluge of insanity that exists in our world.
I have had a few debates, including in the Obvious God comments, which have taken this road. I would strongly suggest that anyone that holds the belief that I need to support not believing in some belief choose instead to give me their reason or evidence for their beliefs. If you are simply going to give me a non-miracle miracle (like sticking a glass out of a window or a Jesus stamp on your piece of bread) you will fall short of climbing over the mountain. I would not have simply accepted my nieces belief if she had awakened from a dream to the conclusion she were pregnant or if she had spoken to a psychic who convinced her of such things.