From Cold Case Christianity blog.
I am an evidentialist. Most people I meet assume I take this approach because of my background as adetective, but while my investigative experience definitely plays a role in my perspective as a Christian, my family structure is the real reason I’m a committed evidentialist. I was raised in a family dominated by atheists and Mormons. My chief role model, my father, has always been a non-believer; his wife of the past forty-five years has been a committed Mormon. My six half-brothers and half-sisters were all raised as Mormons, and when one of them saw my growing interest in studying the Bible critically, she encouraged me to take a similar look at the Book of Mormon. Not knowing one from the other, I was willing to investigate both simultaneously. I used the same four part investigative template to test the New Testament Gospel authors and the author of the Book of Mormon (Joseph Smith). This analytical template provided me with confidence in the Gospels even as it destroyed my confidence in the Book of Mormon. As a result, I became a Christian at the same time I became aNot-Mormon. This dual experience of becoming and not-becoming had a powerful impact on the way I’ve looked at Christianity and the claims of competing theological systems in the years since my conversion. It is the reason why I’m an evidentialist.
In the early months of my life as a Christian, I found myself continually comparing Christianity with Mormonism. When Christians offered a religious experience as confirmation of the truth of Christianity, for example, I quickly compared this to the claims of my Mormon family. The experiences of my family clearly did not lead them to the truth. When Christians told me I needed to presuppose the authority of the Bible before I could assess the truth of the Bible, I quickly compared this approach to my Mormon brothers and sisters. The efforts of my family to presuppose the authority of the Book of Mormon clearly did not lead them to the truth. When Christians defended what they believed with an approach lacking evidential strength, I quickly compared this with the defenses offered by my Mormon family. The non-evidentialism of my family clearly failed to lead them to the truth. At every turn, I recognized the important role of evidence in distinguishing truth from fiction. Evidentialism not only lead me to Christianity, it protected me from Mormonism.
Wallace talked about this more in a recent episode of his podcast.
I was talking to a woman recently about science apologetics, showing her how atheists used to believe things that have now been disproved by evidence. For example, the original secular humanist manifesto I said that the universe is “self-existent”.
Today man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:
FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
That’s what they believed. But then science happened, and now we know better. Evidence of redshift from the farthest galaxies, to light element abundances, to the cosmic microwave background radiation, and more, provide evidence that the universe came into being. Matter, energy, space and time all had a beginning. Whatever caused the creation of the natural world has to be supernatural. We should let evidence like that protect us from believing false worldviews.