Most apologetic arguments for theism/Christianity are probabilistic (i.e. they are abductive in nature, rely on premises that are not necessarily true, etc.), meaning that a rational person who is exposed to these arguments would at best be able to rationally conclude that Christianity is probably true. And this "probability" would be a subjective estimation of how convincing a given person finds these arguments to be, which obviously varies from person to person. For example, testimonial arguments (i.e. arguments based on testimonial accounts) can be quite controversial, and there seems to be no agreed upon way to objectively establish "how convincing" a specific argument is.
A rational person could reach the conclusion that Christianity is "probably" true. Similarly, a rational person might/might not reach the conclusion that Mormonism is "probably" true, that alien abductions are "probably" true, etc. Again, this "probability" would be subjectively estimated.
However, is there any way for a rational person to reach the conclusion that Christianity is definitely true?
Have any Christian epistemologists discussed the reasons that may lead someone to believe that Christianity is probably true but fail to be convinced that Christianity is definitely true?
Similarly, have any Christian epistemologists discussed the reasons that may lead someone to be fully convinced that Christianity is definitely true?
- What is an overview of Christian epistemological views on scientific skepticism and the epistemic value of eyewitness testimony?
- From a Christian perspective, what are "nonresistant nonbelievers" most likely doing wrong that prevents them from finding and believing in God?
- How do Christians rebut Matt Dillahunty's objection that the resurrection of Jesus is untestable, unfalsifiable and thus unreasonable to believe?
Answers to questions
Q. When you say "Christianity" is true - what are you covering here? Is it every claim in the bible? Is it a specific set of laws? Is it the existence of God? Is it a particular sect? Is that "truth" allowed to be partial? If one line of the bible could be proven untrue would that mean the whole thing doesn't qualify as true? How binary are we talking?
A. Good question. At the very least I mean something like C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. My own version of Mere Christianity would include the following minimal facts:
- God exists
- God intelligently designed the universe
- God has a moral code for humanity
- The resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact, as part of God's plan of salvation for humanity
- The spirit realm exists
- Human beings have spirits/souls
- Angels exist and may sometimes intervene in supernatural ways
- Satan and demons exist, influence people to do evil, and may sometimes intervene in supernatural ways
- The Holy Spirit exists, influences people to do good and may sometimes intervene in supernatural ways
Other optional facts:
- Miracles still happen
- Supernatural encounters with Jesus/God still happen
- The Bible is infallibly inspired (not everyone agrees with this)
- Noah's flood was a historical fact
- The Exodus was a historical fact
- The Earth is about 6000 years old (not everyone agrees with this)
Q. I think "Definitely true" needs to be more specific. Are you asking for an argument for the truth of Christianity that is completely irrefutable logically?
A. By "definitely true" I mean an extremely high degree of confidence, regardless of how a rational person might specifically get there. In my understanding of rationality, being rational does not rule out the possibility of being convinced of some fact through non-argumentative, non-inferential ways. In this sense I'm influenced by William Lane Craig's explanation of properly basic beliefs (e.g. here & here).
Q. I can't tell if you are asking how a person may become certain or how one may convince someone else to be certain. There would be two very different answers
A. Interesting distinction. I'm very much open to and actually interested in both approaches to the question.