Exclusivism, as I understand it, is merely accepting one belief in denying other similar claims. Which can surely be boiled down to accepting a claim and denying other claims.


We all do this, surely.


I see people as having two choices for living in a world of evidence.

1) being Pyrrhonian Skeptics

2) being able to make some kind of truth claims (beliefs)


For those who don't know Pyrrhonian Skepticism:

Whereas academic skepticism, with Carneades as its most famous adherent, claims that "Nothing can be known, not even this", Pyrrhonian skeptics withhold any assent with regard to non-evident propositions and remain in a state of perpetual inquiry. They disputed the possibility of attaining truth by sensory apprehension, reason, or the two combined, and thence inferred the need for total suspension of judgment (epoché) on things.[1] According to them, even the statement that nothing can be known is dogmatic. They thus attempted to make their skepticism universal, and to escape the reproach of basing it upon a fresh dogmatism.[2] Mental imperturbability (ataraxia) was the result to be attained by cultivating such a frame of mind.[2] As in Stoicism andEpicureanism, the happiness or satisfaction of the individual was the goal of life, and all three philosophies placed it in tranquility or indifference.[2] According to the Pyrrhonists, it is our opinions or unwarranted judgments about things which turn them into desires, painful effort, and disappointment.[2] From all this a person is delivered who abstains from judging one state to be preferable to another.[2] But, as complete inactivity would have been synonymous with death, the skeptic, while retaining his consciousness of the complete uncertainty enveloping every step, might follow custom (or nature) in the ordinary affairs of life.[2]


This is the safest epistemological position. It is defensible, but it is also not really pragmatic in the daily lives of humans and human interaction. So we build up epistemologies knowing that they are, in some way, based on a little jump of faith (that phenomena refer to an external, real world and that we are not brains in vats), and a large dollop of evidentialism.


So really, it all comes down to evidence.


Say what you like about 32,000 denominations of Christianity, or the beliefe that there is no God, these propositions ALL sit on a continuum of belief, all of which are exclusive (I am only talking about the Christian or atheistic beliefs here). Where you sit on this belief continuum is defined by how you analyse the evidence, and what evidence, knowledge and learning you have access to. We all generally have the same evidence. Christians interpret it charitably, and have many cognitive influences acting. Atheists interpret the same evidence much more harshly. Both sets of people end up with exclusive beliefs - Christian God 9.6a exists or All Christian versions do not exist.


In reality, we all rely on evidence or evidentialism. Christians might claim other epistemologies through the Holy Spirit or what have you, but really evidence is what builds up their beliefs. It's just that their analytical skills are so completely skewed.


From a skeptical point of view, I logically realise that I cannot prove anything other than I, the thinking entity, exist - this leads to PS as above. However, as a pragmatic human, I realise that I can't sit on the fence all day. So I make a claim for atheism based on analysis of all the available evidence.