A common objection to Christian theism (or, consequently, any monotheistic faith) is that followers are inconsistent with regard to the existence of God. It is claimed that, given the multitude of other deities worshipped around the world, it is hypocritical for theists to chide atheists for lack of belief in God when Christians themselves disbelieve in literally thousands of other gods. Furthermore, it is often claimed that Christians are inconsistent with regards to the evidence, for all or most reasons the Christian may give to justify their lack of belief in other gods could be turned around on the God of the Bible. 1
This argument, in my mind, can be easily dismantled by pointing out that Christians often advance arguments that only support Christianity, and that are in fact incompatible with other religious beliefs. Thus, it is simply untrue that the same reasons for rejecting other deities apply equally to God. Here, I will briefly survey some arguments that only support Christianity.
1.) The Argument from Christ’s Resurrection
This argument is very commonly employed by Christians, and it is obvious that it is specific evidence for Christianity and not evidence for any other religion. According to this argument, there is substantial evidence for Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead. If this argument is true, then Christianity is unavoidable. 2,3 This argument, if true, actually even tends to show that other gods don’t exist. Since resurrection from the dead confirms Christ’s claims to Divinity, they also confirm His claims to exclusive Divinity. If Christ was vindicated by means of bodily resurrection, we have a strong reason to believe that the Christian God exists, as well as a strong reason to believe that no other god does.
2.) The Argument from the Divinity of the Bible
Christians often argue for the truth of Christianity by pointing out that the Bible is historically accurate, prophetically accurate, reliably preserved, etc. This argument is really a very roundabout way to argue for Christianity. However, it must be admitted that the plausibility of Christianity increases significantly if the Bible can be shown to be accurate. Furthermore, if significant prophecy fulfillment were shown to be revealed in the Bible, then it could be argued that only the Divine Hand of God could have written the Bible, in which case we would have a good reason to believe that the Christian God exists, while rejecting the existence of all other deities. 4
3.) The Argument from Personal Experience
As I explain in my essay HERE, a personal experience is a valid way to obtain knowledge that God exists. Therefore, a personal experience causes the Christian’s belief in God to be justified, and also provides a means by which one can know that no other gods exist.
Therefore, it is seen that multiple arguments can be advanced that support only Christianity. Whether or not these arguments are valid is another question entirely, but let us suppose for the sake of argument that they are not. What can natural theology reveal?
Natural theology deals with the evidence for God’s existence provided by nature. I will mention several arguments and discuss their implications here.
1.) Cosmological Argument 5
The Cosmological Argument reveals an entity that is timeless, eternal, personal (i.e., able to make free decisions), and above and beyond the laws of the universe. Therefore, the evidence, given the nature of the cosmos, rules out any god that does not possess these attributes.
2.) Teleological Argument 6
The Teleological Argument reveals an intelligent, personal being, which has an interest in life in general and, most likely, human life. Any deity that does not have these attributes should be ruled out.
3.) Moral Argument 7
The Moral Argument reveals a being that has interest in morality and is the foundation of morality. Any deity without the ability to provide a foundation for morality should be ruled out.
If these arguments are all valid, then it seems that the field is limited significantly by natural theology alone. Other rational factors also weigh in on the decision. For example, Ockham’s Razor suggests that we should not multiply causes beyond necessity, and we should prefer a simpler explanation of phenomenon. 8 Therefore, it is rational to believe in only one deity on the basis of natural theology.
These reasons, by themselves, may not limit all other deities, but they do significantly narrow the field, making arguments for Christianity specifically carry less burden.
Why Reject other Deities?
Why then, do we so often reject the existence of the gods of other religions? Many of the gods we have not even heard of before, so how can we say that we have rationally decided to reject them?
There are several reasons we don’t give the claims of many other religions much credence. First of all, the vast majority of other religions have simply failed to produce a positive case. This is where the atheists will claim that the theist is being inconsistent. However, the Christian theist is only being inconsistent here if he has not produced his own positive case. If the Christian theist (such as myself) provides evidence for his or her own belief, there is no intellectual sacrifice related to belief in the Christian God.
If the Christian’s belief is confirmed by all sorts of evidence and experience, then there is actually not much need to inspect every other view. Once a positive case is established, one is rationally justified in belief in Christianity and out-of-hand rejection of other views. There is no need to refute other beliefs. It may very well be that there is quite a bit of evidence for other deities. However, as long as the evidence in favor of that deity is surpassed by the evidence for the Christian God, Christianity remains the most plausibly true belief.
The Argument from Multiple Deities is wholly unconvincing. Unless the non-theist assumes the task of showing that any of the multitude of god’s believed in around the world is as probable or more probable than the God of Christian theism, then he will have failed to develop any sort of argument for God’s nonexistence.
1. This argument, in other words, claims the following: “Believers in one concept of God tend to deny the existence of other god-concepts by using naturalistic explanations. We should be consistent and apply naturalistic explanations across the board. Naturalistic explanations work.” Taken from http://www.infidels.org/~jlowder/atheism/overview.html (NOTE: This article has since disappeared of the Internet. However, I almost entirely copied the article in my own response located Here.)
2. Shandon L. Guthrie, “Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus”, found at http://sguthrie.net/resurrection.htm
3. William Lane Craig, “Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Truth 1 (1985): 89-95. Located at http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html
4. W. R. Miller, “The Truthfulness of the Eyewitness Accounts as Presented in the Bible”, found at http://www.tektonics.org/truthfulness.htm
5. See my article HERE for a defense of the Cosmological Argument as well as a list of further recommended sources.
6. See Robin Collin’s WEBSITE for a good collection of papers defending the Teleological Argument.
7. See William Lane Craig, “The Indispensability of Theological Meta-ethical Foundations for Morality.” Foundations 5 (1997): 9-12. Located at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/meta-eth.html
8. See Jose Wudka, “What is Ockham’s Razor?”, found at http://phyun5.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node10.html