First, the question ought to be asked like this: Whose God is it anyway? The nonbeliever will answer, “Not mine!” Precisely why the burden of proof falls on the believer/theist. Atheists and skeptics do not believe in your God, and as tough as that sounds, it’s not their position to prove (or disprove) things they don’t rightly feel exist.
Even with such a fear lingering over my head, and the added fear and incentive of not getting my Christmas presents should I cave into anyone of my sinful ways, along with the threat of getting coal instead if I’m bad, even with all this blackmail making me think carefully of whether I’ll behave naughty or nice, my faith in Santa seems to be dwindling.
Constantly, in the back of my mind, my rational thought takes over and interrupts the fantastic fun filled fantasy and says, wait a minute, wait just a darn minute, can’t we think about this more critically? Has anyone ever seen Santa? And not the mall’s lap Santa (he’s just a helper, and Apostle of Father Christmas), I’m talking about the genuine Jolly old St. Nick, the Big Claus, Kris Kringle, the white fleece-bearded man in red. Has anyone ever clocked him riding his magical levitating reindeer flying at breakneck velocities upwards near the speed of light? Has anyone ever seen his miraculous feat of chimney spelunking? Do we have any of his numerous writings, can anyone produce a single “naughty or nice” list for us to read? Are there any eye-witness accounts? (And small children and elves do not count, since one is prone to wishful thinking and flights of fancy and the other is biased since they feel they are the chosen disciples of the fanatical Church of the Latter Day Elves of the Ghost of Christmas Past). Do we know anything about him historically? Does he really like to drink Coca-Cola? Is he really from the North Pole? Is their archeological evidence of his presence in to the North? What is credible history and what is simply incredible?
Now suppose I tell you I have a baseball autographed by the late great Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron! Now that would be an amazing claim! In fact, I’ve upped the ante, it’s not just any old regular baseball (anyone might have one of those), but it’s a special, personal baseball. But the incredible claims do not end here, oh no, for even as you try an wrap you head around that one fantastic claim after another, I up the ante even more and throw in all the chips, because this baseball is also magic! That’s right, it grants your every wish!! Now my baseball went from incredible to unbelievable… and now my evidence must be equally as incredible or I will only be left with an unbelievable claim. And that would make me look bad–so I’d better get cracking on providing the compelling evidence, otherwise I’ll only be that much more unconvincing.
Needless to say, since I made the positive claim that, yes, in this world baseballs exist and I have one which is more special than all the rest, if I fail to produce the said incredible baseball, or fail to provide any convincing evidence for it, then this would cast doubt on my entire claim. Or if I had some small fraction of evidence, such as a photograph (which would be less reliable than the actual baseball since I could have fabricated the picture or signed the ball myself), you have no real way of knowing for sure if I haven’t doctored it. Even though this might be convincing to the uncritical person, the skeptic remains doubtful maintaining that one piece of evidence is not enough to validate the claim that Hank Aaron signed it or that it was a magic baseball. So more clues must be gathered so that the pieces of the puzzle can be assembled properly. So how could we know for sure? We investigate! We call in the professionals. We look at things from every angle and then some.
Admittedly, however, proving it to be a magic wish fulfilling baseball would be a bit trickier to prove beyond a reason of a doubt. With no real testing of it, we just couldn’t know for sure. But let’s say I whipped out a baseball similar to the one I described to you earlier from my jacket pocket, handed it to you, and allowed you to examine and test it all you wanted. Upon finding out that the writing on the ball was questionable, looking quite like something I would write, and it didn’t grant any of your wishes—not a single one—then you have verifiably disproved my claims. This doesn’t mean I didn’t genuinely have faith in my baseball or believe the claims I was making, maybe I just didn’t know, maybe it wasn’t what I thought it was, maybe I was gullible for having bought it from a huckster, who sold me a forgery, who I believed when he said me it was a magic baseball, and then showed to you only to find it didn’t satisfy your demands for proof. At this time we could conclude that it wasn’t a magic baseball nor was it a real autograph, that it was all a misunderstanding and a hoax.
But knowing that it was a fake, created by a man who never knew Hank Aaron, and that the tall tale he sold me about the magic wish granting ball itself uncannily resembles the fictitious genie in Aladdin’s lamp fable, you would be right in doubting that any such baseball exists or has ever existed at all. It stems to reason that the attempt to prove that there is not any such baseball which I don’t currently have and can’t produce for you would just be a redundancy and a huge waste of time.