Subjective faith and objective proof

I want to believe

If, or when, religious attempts to provide evidence of a deity fail, you might be confronted with the claim that no evidence is actually required. This claim sometimes takes the form of “I don’t need evidence, I have faith”, and sometimes follows a line of reasoning to the effect of: just as you cannot/should not be asked to provide evidence for your love for another person, no evidence can, or should, be given to prove the existence of god. I have had the comedic pleasure of hearing this argument quite a few times, and it never fails to amuse me.
The first thing to note about this laughable line of defense is exactly how defensive it actually is – trying to excuse the inability to provide evidence by dismissing the need to provide evidence in the first place. Ironically, this line of reasoning does more harm than good to the religious case because it puts the deity in the same category as subjective personal feelings like faith and love – and this, mind you, is about as good as the religious can do when trying to establish the mere existence of what is supposed to be an omnipotent omniscient, omnipresent creator deity who knows about, and cares for, every single living creature in the universe. One would think that more substantial evidence for such a being would be easier to come by.
What makes this religious argument so weak is that it confuses the objective with the subjective. By this I mean to say that the argument makes an objective truth claim – that an actual deity exists – and then tries to establish this using subjective feelings. Think for a moment about how silly this surprisingly common argument actually is. If you could establish the objective physical existence of a thing through your own subjective feelings, then anyone would be able to establish anything according to theirs. This would mean that ghosts, aliens, monsters, fairies, mermaids, and all other deities and mythical creatures would be real, simply because there are people who feel they are.
If your claim is a subjective one about yourself (that you love someone, that you feel something, etc) then you needn’t go beyond personal belief or subjective opinion. But if your claim is about something outside of you – about a thing that exists in reality and not just in your head – then you are making an objective truth claim about the nature of reality, and objective truth claims require objective evidence.
When a person tells you that extraterrestrial flying saucers exist, you ask to see evidence for it; when you are told that Bigfoot exists, you ask to see evidence of this too; so why is it that when the stakes are raised, and someone tells you that an omnipotent omniscient omnipresent creator deity called Yahweh exists, you are not supposed to ask for evidence? Why do so many people challenge logical misdemeanors while accepting blatant logical felonies?
Yet another way to dispel this faulty argument is to simply point out that if you can establish the objective existence of a deity through nothing more than your personal feeling, then I can dismiss it in the exact same way. I fail to understand why so many religious believers overlook this simple point, and willingly establish one of their most precious beliefs on such meretricious grounds.
As December is fast approaching, religious believers might want to remind themselves that the subjective beliefs of many millions of children do not actually prove the existence Santa Claus; not because these beliefs are childish (they are no more childish than believing in Yahweh), but because belief, in and of itself, is not proof; and if it were, then nonbelief would correspond to disproof.

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