Jonathan asked:

I don’t think it’s up to the atheists to prove that God doesn’t exist anymore than it would be up to my son to prove to me that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

Trent Horn replied:

"... You had an interesting analogy on the burden of proof and Santa Claus and I’d like to discuss that a little bit more ... It seemed to me that Jonathan, that what you’re saying is you don’t have to disprove the existence of God if there’s just no evidence for him, like there’s no evidence for Santa Claus ...

I would say that there’s a distinction between the claims related to Santa Claus and the claims related to God. Here’s an analogy that I think can work. I don’t just not believe in Santa. I’m not someone who just lacks a belief in Santa Claus. Rather I believe that Santa Claus does not exist. To say that something does not exist you can’t just say there’s no evidence for it. You also have to have evidence the thing does not exist. So for example, if Santa existed then we would find his workshop at the north pole. If he existed then we wouldn’t have to buy presents at Christmas, they would appear under the tree. But since those things don’t happen we can know Santa does not exist. So, you have to have not just a lack of evidence, we have to have positive evidence against something that if the thing in question, if the evidence is lacking, if the thing existed and there should be evidence, and the evidence isn’t there, that is proof the thing does not exist ...

Let me give you another example: Aliens. I don’t think that there is good evidence to say that aliens exist. But that doesn’t justify me in saying that there are no aliens. I’m just an agnostic. God could have made aliens on another planet. I don’t know. But the lack of evidence there only justifies agnosticism. So when it comes to God wouldn’t you agree that it’s more like aliens, and less like Santa for you even if you didn’t think there was a good reason for God? You just kind of have to be an agnostic who’s not sure?"


Catholic Answers, "Why are you an atheist?" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: September 25, 2013

Name of show: Why are you an atheist?

Guest comments by: Trent Horn

Question appeared in show: 23:40

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