I've been in much longer discussions with believers where they make this back and forth between faith and evidence many, many times as you refute them on particulars. Ever play that old arcade game Whack-A-Mole?
Chris: My thoughts: One knows that "God is truth" through the veridical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) experience of the Holy Spirit. Such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and know with confidence that he or she is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such an experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God Himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths such as "God exists;" that such an experience provides one not only with a subjective assurance of truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him or her who attends fully to it.
Yamazaru: Chris, I appreciate the clear way you laid out the argument but I think there are problems with it you might not see. Mormons think they subjectively feel God confirming the specific truth of Mormonism, Buddhists feel the same, as do adherents of almost every conflicting religious tradition. To say that subjective feelings can objectively confirm the truth of some fact about the way the world is opens a lot of really bad possibilities- I'm sure many SS officers felt a clear and powerful confirmation that Aryans were the flower of humanity and lesser peoples needed to be exterminated. If you think subjective feelings are ALL that is needed to confirm objective truth there's really no way you can argue against them!!
Chris: Hi Yamazaru. But, unlike Nazis and SS officers, I can show that my belief is true by presenting good arguments for its central
Yamazaru: Chris, the whole point of your longer post was that you don't need good arguments for the truth other than the subjective experiencing of the Holy Spirit. You said "such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and know with confidence" and "such an experience provides one not only with a subjective assurance of truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him or her who attends fully to it."
This could be said, more or less verbatim, by a Hindu fundamentalist in order to justify his killing of Muslims (to take one of infinite examples). So now you say you need extra evidence or arguments over and above this subjective feeling?? I agree, but that wasn't your earlier position.
Chris: Whoops, hit "send too soon". I meant to write that, by presenting good arguments, I can show my belief to be true; I don't need a subjective experience. While I do not think a person of faith needs to justify their faith to anybody--believer or not--I do think a person of faith ought to be able to explain and defend their belief. There are a number of philosophical arguments for the existence of God (Ontological, Moral, Leibnizian Cosmological, Kalam Cosmological, teleological), as well as scientific arguments such as the Standard Model (the "Big Bang") and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. My point in all this is that, were you to "confront" me, I would hardly cower and cry "faith".
Chris: Although arguments and evidence may be used to support the believer's faith, they are never properly the basis of that faith. For the believer, God is not the conclusion of a syllogism; he is the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelling within him/her. How then does the believer know that his/her belief is true? Because of the self-authenticating witness of God's Spirit who lives within him. But how does one show this to be true? That's where, I think, supplemental arguments and evidence come in. I understand your point about people of other faiths, and if you want to talk specifics, you can email me. Anyway, great convo! Take care and good night.
Yamazaru: Chris, the idea that you could know truth only due to your subjective feeling of the “self-authenticating witness of God's Spirit” and evidence is only a useful tool to “show others” is problematic. You specifically said that “arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him or her who attends fully to it”- so what good can any outside evidence ever do? How can anyone ever come to agreement to prove anything to anyone if one's subjective feeling can “overwhelm” all incompatible evidence? Again, that way lies nightmares- there's no way you could ever argue against any horrible violation of human rights since those committing the acts can simply cite their own “overwhelming” subjective experience that tells them that they're correct.
Of course, two posts back it seemed you were ready to drop this untenable argument, talking about all the outside evidence for your beliefs. If that were really the case, I think you'd have to confront the fact that the cosmological argument, design arguments, etc have all been very effectively refuted by philosophers and scientists. I would start with this simple video on the Kalaam argument (certainly the most “sophisticated” version of cosmological argument).
Unfortunately the Big Bang and thermodynamics don't provide any evidence at all that a supernatural being exists- check the work of Victor Stenger and/or Richard Carrier among countless others. More importantly, NONE of these very abstract philosophical arguments can prove any of the specifics of Christianity or any other religious tradition; at the very best, if they worked (which they do not) they would prove some completely unknowable “creator” who need not be sentient or even still exist. There's no way to get from here to there, so to speak. If that makes you think that perhaps the specific religious texts of the Bible can help here, the situation is just as bad- see the recent work of Bart Ehrman or Hector Avalos on how contradictory, unreliable and mistaken the Bible has been shown to be as a historical document.
So either evidence is needed to get to objective truth, or it's not. If not, welcome to complete relativism and nihilism. If it is needed, then every religion so far fails this "outsider test for faith."
Anyway, thanks for a civil and fun discussion, as you can see I love chatting about these things!