In a discussion with an atheist, who absolutely hates Islam the discussion reached a point where he asked me, "I'm curious why you think the Abrahamic faiths are 100% the truth?"

"Why do I think Abrahamic religions are the truth? Because they all deliver the same message, preach the same method of worship over different periods of time, over different regions. That my friend is certainly not coincidence. You may argue it is a story that has spread by way of mouth. History has strong evidence to prove otherwise." I replied.

He bounced back, "What is history's evidence to prove that it is anything more than a story? The fact that 'so many people' believe it?"

At this point, I was not able to give a strong reply. He left unconvinced. What could be the best answer I could have given him? I think I shouldn't have used the term "Historical evidence". If you were in my position, what answer would you have given him?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rebecca J. Stones, Kilise, III-AK-III, Medi1Saif, UmH May 13 '17 at 17:41

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Honestly the historical evidence is the strongest proof. If he rejects this then he could reject anything that might have happened in the past. But history is always based on oral transmission and/or eye witnesses. – Sassir Jun 29 '16 at 13:42
  • Salaam, brother, the tour of the SE sites recommends avoiding solicitation of member opinions. The goal is to ask questions that can be answered with facts. However, you could ask about the opinions of scholars or the views of particular sects. You might consider re-phrasing your question, maybe something like, "What do Sunni scholars say about how to convince a determined unbeliever?" As for your atheist friend, you might consider the old proverb, You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink it. Peace. – GreatBigBore Jun 29 '16 at 20:29
  • @Sassir How would you have replied to him? – 0aslam0 Jun 30 '16 at 2:13
  • 1
    @Sassir he did not reject any evidence but simply asked what it was and OP could not provide any. – novice Jun 30 '16 at 5:55
  • 1
    @GreatBigBore The topic isn't about convincing an unbeliever. As far as I understand what the OP wants is"what historical evidence is present that the abrahmic religions are true? " Is it the fact that so many people believe in it. It's a valid question and well within SO's guidelines I believe. – novice Jun 30 '16 at 6:01

The ultimate test of any set of beliefs (Abrahamic or otherwise) is: Does this correspond with reality and my experience?

If the historical data that can be extracted from the Quran or the Torah corresponds with what we (think we) know about history, then those points of correspondence are "physical" evidence regarding the historicity of the documents in question. Certainly if a supposedly ancient document is in disagreement with the facts, then it is somewhat suspect, particularly if it is supposed to be reliable in its assertions about supernatural things.

For any given person, you should try to ascertain what kind of "evidence" is admissible and compelling. If he disregards personal testimony of contemporary eyewitnesses, then he may as well treat all history as if it is not something that can be known. On the other hand, if he judges an eyewitness's testimony as worth considering, then eyewitness reports of miracles, signs, or other demonstrations of supernatural endorsement of the message or messenger ought to qualify as "evidence from history."

Whether any given person will accept that evidence as compelling is another matter entirely. If someone wants to [dis]believe something badly enough, he will always find a way, even if it's ridiculous. Consider this conversation between Ben Stein and Richard Dawkins. Dawkins denies any possibility of a supernatural being creating the universe (and man). He allows for the possibility of aliens to have created humans, though, as long as those aliens came about from purely naturalistic processes.

BEN STEIN: What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in evolution?

DAWKINS: Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.

In the end, all beliefs about the supernatural, including beliefs about there being no supernatural creator, rest on unprovable assertions that are accepted for emotional reasons (as opposed to purely logical—logical conclusions rest on assertions that are accepted, not proven, and in the end, it boils down to whether one likes something or whether it makes sense to them, and neither of these is purely rational). If the goal is to provide some sort of compelling argument, it will have to address the emotional "needs" of the individual, and compelling emotional arguments will differ a lot from person to person.

  • 1
    Well there is a lot wrong with this answer - let me respond shortly, I wish I could down vote though. – novice Jun 30 '16 at 22:29
  • You base your answer around testimony of eye witnesses of miracles being witnessed. For those to be considered true there has to be a large set so as to know that we are not succumbing to a bias in the sample set we are considering and the set has to be diverse. I suspect that you have neither. – novice Jun 30 '16 at 22:36
  • Evidence is something which cannot be dismissed. And regarding finding a way - that's generally more true for the believer. If you look hard enough - you will always find what you think is evidence for what you believe in(since you believed in it in the first place, before looking for evidence), but which does not stand up to independent scrutiny. – novice Jun 30 '16 at 22:40
  • @novice Don't downvote the answer. There are some things he said right as well. – 0aslam0 Jul 1 '16 at 5:33
  • 1
    @mojo Dawkins "believes" in naturalistic evolution because it's a proven fact. Dawkins does not say this "must" have happened but used the words could, may etc. leaving the possibility of doubt open. Yours is a stronger claim: Evidence supporting a creator without doubt. The onus of proof lies on the believer. If there is nothing "laughable" about your belief then there is nothing "laughable" about what Dawkins believes or disbelieves in either - with the absence of evidence to support either claim, the assertion could be true either way. – novice Jul 1 '16 at 15:52

You were not able to provide any "Historical evidence", for the truth of Abrahamic faiths, because there isn't any.
It's called a faith for a reason. People do not believe in it because there is evidence but because they want to.
Evidence by its very nature turns statements into facts, which are different from beliefs. After evidence is presented a statement is no longer required to be accepted on faith - there is no argument whatsoever against the validity of the claim of the statement.
While it's a comforting notion to believe in Allah or the truth of Abrahamic religions, the belief is not founded on any evidence but because you want to.

As mojo's answer states belief on the supernatural is due to "emotional reasons" and not any logical assertion whatsoever.
Logical conclusions and proofs on the other hand do rest on "Axioms" - these are statements which are held to be true, but "make sense".
The difference is however that these axioms "make sense" universally to everyone - there is no dispute whatsoever and we can make astounding claims, discoveries etc. by holding these axioms to be true. Most theories in science also provide predictions which are testable again and again. You can also read about "falsifiability" if you wish to discern the difference between assertions based on logical assertions and those based on emotional ones.

The statement that "If someone wants to [dis]believe something badly enough, he will always find a way", can always be used to console oneself though.

Just a last thought: There are always degrees of belief - for example one can choose to not believe in axioms/axioms in mathematics for example, but you will find it harder than not believing in Theology,because they assume less. And while things may in the end boil down to liking something or something making sense, but if something makes sense and follows logically then it is by definition rational.

  • To a people without flight technology, a flat earth "makes sense." Common sense is not the ultimate test of truth. – mojo Jul 2 '16 at 18:52
  • "Faith," even in the context of religion, is not rigidly defined as excluding reason or evidence. Consider Emperor Palpatine's expression: "Your faith in your friends is [your weakness]." Faith has to do with trust or belief (because of past evidence) even in opposition to or absence of current evidence. – mojo Jul 2 '16 at 18:57
  • 1
    You are trivialising logical axioms by stating that they depend only on common sense - sense in this context is a far far more rigorous process. There is no such thing as an ultimate test of truth - there is only the supremacy of doubt. Furthermore the general truths are uncontested and accepted universally. Compare this to statements which appeal to emotions, which by their very nature change, have no standard process of evaluation and have nothing to do with true or false - they only have a subjective aesthetic value. – novice Jul 2 '16 at 19:08
  • 1
    If faith had any evidence, it would evolve into fact. If one has faith in opposition of current evidence, then it is nothing but delusion, since it goes against facts. One has faith in friends because it appeals to an aesthetic emotional value, not because there is past evidence for it. If current evidence is in opposition to past evidence then there might be a flaw in the process of obtaining evidence. An evidence does not become invalid into the future. – novice Jul 2 '16 at 19:18
  • @mojo I'd be happy to hammer out he misunderstanding on the issue. Maybe you'd like to take it in a chat room,? – novice Jul 2 '16 at 19:24

Atheists need to convince themselves of the existence of a divine being before establishing the validity of any Abrahamic faith, let alone Islam.

There is no sense in proving that a faith is correct if the individual is not willing to acknowledge the existence of God.

One might argue: "How can I know God except through one of these Abrahamic faiths? This is why I need to know if the Abrahamic faith is 100% right."

To which I would say that you don't need the faith to establish your belief in the existence of a God.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.