What should you do if someone rejects your axiom? 1 When someone rejects our axiom without trying giving a substantive reason to reject it, we should reject theirs. What would a rejection of their axiom look like? Let’s put it this way: If someone has a belief, they arrived at that belief somehow. Either their belief is axiomatic in their worldview or there is a proposition precedes the belief. We would simply reject every assertion they make on the basis that they can’t demonstrate it. 2 This means that if they reject your axiom, your job in the discussion becomes very easy. It would look something like this:
Atheist: The fact that you have an axiom doesn’t make it true. You can try to smuggle your Bible in all you want, but you can’t use your Bible as an axiom because it’s just an assertion.
Christian: Axioms are not demonstrable because they are the first proposition that a person starts with in their worldview. Since you won’t grant my axiom for the sake of argument, I won’t grant yours either.
Atheist: Fine. My axiom is “I can know things to be true.”
Christian: Demonstrate your claim.
Atheist: You said you don’t have to demonstrate an axiom.
Christian: Yes, but since you are wanting me to demonstrate my axiom, it is only fair that we acknowledge that you have to demonstrate your axiom before I’m obliged to grant it. If you argue otherwise, you are committing the fallacy of special pleading.
At this point, the atheist must either grant the Christian’s axiom so they can have a discussion or listen to the Christian ask him to demonstrate every one of his claims. At that point, no matter what assertion they make, no matter how obvious they think it is, the Christian is at liberty to reject any claim the atheist makes.
1. An axiom is a proposition that is not demonstrable. It is not demonstrable because it is the very beginning of a philosophical system. Any proposition that precedes it is not an axiom. My axiom is, “The Bible is the Word of God.”
2, In this article, ‘demonstrate’ is defined as showing that a proposition must be true given the truth of an axiom.