I have recently become interested in the following philosophical idea, and am wondering if it carries much weight. It rests on the idea that there cannot be any such thing as 'religious evidence'.
Any religious claim cannot be made without some sort of evidence - this may differ from what a scientist would term 'evidence' as it may involve the mere 'feeling of truth' rather than a demonstratable proof. However, here is the problem that currently interests me. For any religious claim to have some sort of weight, it must rest upon some sort of evidence. The nature of evidence in general is that it is either empirical or theoretical in form - however, the status of the latter is such that it allows for future empirical verification or falsification, and as such does not rule out testing. With evidence, we either demonstrate something to 'be the case' through example, or show how a method carries value.
Let me bring in an example of a religious claim: "We look around and see an order and structure to the universe that could only have been brought about by a divine creator, and could not have been the product of chance" - the problem here is how to provide evidence for this claim that does not take a scientific form, and we have two main obstacles: firstly, if we allow 'feeling' to take the status of evidence, then we devalue the notion of empirical evidence because we remove its ability to demonstrate (someone who didn't want to go on empirical evidence would, in this case, not have to). Secondly, we also transform a religious claim into a scientific one by admitting such a notion of evidence, and as such bring about the impossibility of the truth of such a claim.
I realise quite how long it has taken me to reach the specific 'question', but I wished to 'show my workings' as it were. The question is: given the above understanding of 'evidence', how can there be any truth in any religious claim or any claim that does not have as its grounding any theoretical or empirical evidence? On top of this, does every religious claim - through its mere utterance or even possibility - undermine itself in the above manner?