Empiricism: A Philosophical Faith of Atheists

Empiricism is the philosophical view “that all concepts originate in experience, that all concepts are about or applicable to things that can be experienced, or that all rationally acceptable beliefs or propositions are justifiable or knowable only through experience.”1

Empiricism is a common philosophical belief among many atheists. They believe that empirical science is the only true path to understanding. If you cannot see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, etc., it cannot be known. Some atheists go as far to say that if you cannot prove something empirically, such as the existence of God, you are irrational for believing it.. The problem with empiricists calling believers in God ‘irrational’ is that they do not apply the same standard to themselves. Their philosophy that they are using to call Christians irrational is in and of itself irrational. Here are some reasons why.

  • It is self refuting. Empiricism is an idea that is not able to be tested by the scientific method. You cannot prove that all knowledge is gained through the five senses by using your five senses.
  • When empiricists apply their philosophy to answering the question of whether God exists, they become irrational. Although I do believe it can be proven that God exists by looking at the physical world, to demand physical evidence that can be tested with the scientific method as the only way to prove that God exists is a category mistake. It is illogical to say, “Show me proof of an immaterial God by using material things.”
  • Empiricists cannot account for immaterial things that cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, etc. Some examples would include logic, reason, and the immaterial laws of science, physics, and mathematics.
    Empiricism is nothing more than a philosophical faith.


1. definition from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/186146/empiricism

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