Posts Tagged ‘arguments’

How to irritate an atheist…

June 10, 2013

How to irritate an atheist… arguments from theists.

“How to Irritate an atheist”

Some foolproof methods to irritate your favorite atheist. Just be careful how you use them, or you may start wondering why the atheist is strangling you.

1) Ask them why they are bitter against God.

2) Tell them that if there’s no God, they might as well go out and kill people.

3) Ask them to pray with you.

4) Invite their children to go to church with you.

5) Insist that there is a God, and show them where in the Bible it says so.

6) Hide Chick tracts in clever places around their office.

7) Tell them that the universe is too complex to “just exist,” and must have been created by a God who “just exists.”

8.) Make up statistics.

9) End a discussion with “Well, I know you’re smarter than I am, but I know I’m right.”

10) Accuse them of persecuting you.

11) Bring up arguments that make no sense whatsoever; criticze their response with “You’re just not making sense.”

12) Use multiple versions of Pascal’s Wager as though you thought them up yourself.

13) Use the Second Law of Thermodynamics to disprove evolution.

14) Post inane arguments on the Internet, and never follow up on them.

15) Say that seperation of church and state isn’t in the Constitution; insist that the Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments.

16) Cite Kent Hovind as a legitimate source of information.

17) …and call him “Dr. Hovind.”

18) Tell them they know in their hearts that God exists.

19) Point out that we all take things on faith.

20) Before starting an argument, say “You’re an atheist? That means you’re going to hell!”

21) After losing the argument say, “I pity you.”

22) Accuse them of willfully ignoring the “obvious truth.”

23) Use bad math to back up your claims.

24) Drink the last beer in the fridge.

25) …and buy natural light to replace it.

26) Witness for Jesus, and completely ignore anything your competition says.

27) Call him a meanie.

28) Tell him you don’t care what you say or prove, you will still have your faith.

29) When given a Bible verse that looks bad, tell him that’s what the verse says, but that’s not what it means.

30) Argue that the Bible stories are not myths . . . they’re parables. And they’re all true!

31) Lead off your criticism of the Big Bang theory with the disclaimer that you’re not a physicist like he is.

32) Lead off your suggestions for ways to prove that Noah’s Flood occured with the disclaimer that you’re not a geologist like he is.

33) Overwhelm him with your knowledge of science, using examples: “And because of entropy you have to press the nozzle on the spray can. The nozzle is entropy.”

34) Use Latin a lot.

35) Maintain that the King James Version is THE Bible; ignore questions as to who was saved prior to 1611.

36) Tell him that Moses wrote the Books of Moses.

37) Explain that the lack of proof doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

38) …and give him a blank look when he says that all people tried for a crime would go to jail.

39) Blame absolutely everything wrong in society on evolution.

40) Repeat something over and over, as if that made it true.

41) Repeat something over and over, as if that made it true.

42) Repeat something over and over, as if that made it true.

43) Tell him that he acknowledges Christ every time he uses “A.D.” — which, of course, stands for “After Death.”

44) Accuse him of being an agnostic, since he isn’t 100% positive that God does not exist.

45) Insist that the Bible is meant to be taken literally — all except that verse he just showed you.

46) Tell him that God works in mysterious ways.

47) …and we’re too small to comprehend his reasoning.

48) …and we shouldn’t think of him as “how he should be.”

49) Point out that the fact that he talks about God so much proves God’s existence.

50) Tell him you know God exists because Mount Everest exists.

51) If a plane crashes killing 300 passengers and crew, but one little girl survives with only third-degree burns, tell him that this miracle proves the existence of God.

52) Insist that Noah’s Ark and the Shroud of Turin are real.

53) …and tell him about the special on FOX where you saw it.

54) When he shows you a verse about genocide, ask him how he dares to question the morality of God.

55) Punch him in the face. Hard.

56) When asked to prove a statement you made, say that you already proved it.

57) Tell him that we all fall short of God’s grace.

58) Insist that faith is the only logical answer.

59) No matter what he quotes from the Bible, say that it’s out of context.

60) …and when he points out that the quotes are in correct context, tell him you need to be a Christian to understand the true meaning of the Bible.

61) Tell him you must study the Bible for many years to reject Christianity.

62) …and when he points out that you reject Islam despite never having studied the Qu’ran, say that you have faith, and faith is all you need.

63) Ask him how he knows God isn’t real if he can’t see the air.

64) Sigh, shake your head, and say “I just know that someday you’ll need Jesus.”

65) Talk about how you used to be a miserable, sinning, drug-abusing, alcoholic, sex-addicted, spouse-beating criminal until you found God.

66) Change your handle every couple weeks.

67) Knock on his door at 9:00 in the morning and offer him a pamphlet.

68) Tell him that God loves him, even if he doesn’t love himself.

69) Admonish him to have sex for reproductive purposes only.

70) Tell him about Christ’s plan for salvation for the billionth time.

71) Refuse to debate.

72) Name a bunch of smart Christian people.

73) …and when he names a bunch of smart atheist people, call him stupid.

74) Attribute every apparent error in the Bible to mistranslation.

75) …and then pull up a mistranslation from Isaiah to prove that Jesus fulfilled prophecy.

76) Burn him at the stake.

77) When shown that the Bible says that Pi=3, say that the Hebrews didn’t know anything about science, so it’s not their fault.

78) When shown the creation account in Genesis, insist that the Hebrews had all kinds of scientific savvy, being inspired by God.

79) Lead him on until the very last moment, then tell him no . . . not until you’re married.

80) Insist that a person who makes Christianity look bad was not a True Christian.

81) Claim intellectual superiority on the grounds that only smart people read the Bible.

82) Smile smugly and tell him that there are no atheists in foxholes.

83) Quote Psalm 14:1 to him.

84) …and then tell him that you think highly of him, and want to be his friend.

85) Give him the special gift of his very own “paraphrased” modern Bible.

86) Speak to him with a fake Australian accent.

87) Cite the TGE Project as a collection of successful proofs for God’s existence.

88) Threaten to kill yourself if he doesn’t believe.

89) Equivocate scientific faith with religious faith, and conclude that, metaphysically, you are both in the same boat.

90) Claim that archaeology is proof of the Bible’s truth.

91) Misconstrue logical terms in order to prove that logic does not work.

92) Claim that logic is the atheist’s god.

93) Claim that atheism is not only a belief — it’s a knowledge claim.

94) Support your ludicrous contentions with “Most scholars agree that…”

95) Use only circular reasoning.

96) Claim that the atheist only uses circular reasoning.

97) Claim that circular reasoning is legitimate due to circular reasoning being legitimate.

98) Use the phrase “Hate the sin, love the sinner” as a blanket response to the notion that Christianity is at fault for something.

99) State that Christianity has done a lot of good along with all the mass murder.

100) When asked to explain a theological concept, compare it to something simple, like “water,” and then misunderstand that you have incorrectly labeled the constructs of your analogy, then dismiss the whole thing with, “You’ve just got to have faith.”

101) Upon hearing that he is an atheist, jump back reflexively, as if you don’t want to catch whatever it is he’s got.

102) …then look at him as if he were a diseased leper who just spit in your eye.

103) End all your posts with John 3:16.

104) …or “God Bless.”

105) When he takes the time and trouble to explain where your analogy or interpretation is at fault, begin your response with a sigh, so he’ll know how patient you’re being.

106) Open a minor-league baseball game with the national anthem, followed by a gospel quartet singing a hymn, and solemn prayer. (True story!)

107) Open and close a martial arts class with obligatory prayer, including the spectators. (Another true story!)

108) Claim that God chooses who is going to heaven and humans have nothing to do with his decision, but he’s going to hell because he sinned.

109) State that whatever he says is not worthy of consideration, because the Bible says atheists can’t discern what’s true anyway.

110) Offer inane apologetics books in the hopes that he hasn’t heard the arguments in them a thousand times already.

111) Patiently explain that the 42 children that were torn to bits by two bears sent by God were not really children, but spawn of Satan.

112) When asked if they would sacrifice their own child for God, respond with “God would never ask me to do that.”

113) Carefully explain that Lot’s daughters were never in danger of gang rape, and that Lot knew this all along.

114) Most carefully of all, explain that while all of the Bible is inerrant, Revelation does not literally mean what it says.

115) Tell him that God answers all prayers — sometimes the answer is no.

116) Tell him that Christians aren’t perfect — just forgiven.

117) Tell him that he can’t love anyone — that’s why he can’t love God.

118) Offer to drive, then insist on listening to Christian Talk Radio.

119) …and laugh when you hear “This condom-nation will face condemnation.”

120) Claim that Einstein was a Christian.

121) Claim that Darwin recanted evolution on his deathbed.

122) Tell him that he’ll come around just like your daughter did . . . when she got confirmed just so that she could get married in a big church.

123) Vehemently claim that the theory of evolution is incompatible with theism, then turn around and blame the theory for promoting atheism.

124) Say that evolution is not proven — therefore the Bible is correct.

125) Tell him it’s his responsibility to prove that God doesn’t exist.

126) Invite him to a church social function, and show up late.

127) …because you were with his wife.

128) Deny that his child looks like him.

129) Ask what he believes in, if not God.

130) …then tell him that nonbelief is also a worldview, therefore there is no such thing as an atheist and Christianity is true.

131) Explain that Buddha’s last words were “Jesus, forgive me.”

132) …and tell him that you were “saved” when you heard that story.

133) …and when he explains that Buddha died 500 years before Jesus was born, give him a blank look.

134) Say that God can’t reveal himself with any real proof, because that would remove the need for faith.

135) When something awful happens, tell him not to blame God — he doesn’t interfere.

136) When something wonderful happens, tell him to credit God — he made it happen.

137) Tell him not to ask what happens to those who have never heard of Jesus . . . HE has, and what is HE going to do about it?

138) Explain that it doesn’t matter whether or not he thinks he’s sinned — all humans were imbued with original sin at the moment of their birth.

139) …then tell him that babies automatically go to heaven.

140) …and mentally retarded people.

141) …and those with Down’s Syndrome.

142) Treat nothing he says as credible, because he is possessed by Satan.

143) Show that the Bible must be true because when you take the original Hebrew letters, spread them out and twist them around, you can spell words.

144) …and when he points out that that will work with literally any work in any alphabet, accuse him of closed-mindedness and blasphemy.

145) Spell it “athiest.”

146) Spell it “evilution.”

147) Tell him that the Bible is true because the Bible says it is.

148) Tell him that Hitler was an atheist.

149) …and all atheists are therefore Nazis.

150) Tell him that he’s playing right into Satan’s hands, because Satan’s greatest ploy is convincing people that God doesn’t exist.

151) Use the word “atheist” as a verb.

152) After your argument has been effectively refuted, wait a few days and then repeapt the argument, adding, “You still haven’t addressed this.”

153) Make up your own language, and claim that his inability to understand is due to his atheism.

154) Claim that Jesus is the God based on the Old Testament, then turn around and say that the Old Testament has nothing to do with the New Covenant.

155) Use the word “presupposition” incorrectly, repeatedly.

156) Argue the most insignificant point you can think of; when he doesn’t address your pettiness, claim victory.

157) Constantly attempt to equate atheism with theism.

158) Argue that the translation “errors” in the KJV were actually God-inspired improvements, and therefore the KJV is the most accurate of all trnslations.

159) Say that God believes in him, whether or not he believes in God.

160) Call the Branch Davidians a “cult,” but insist that your particular faction is a “religion.”

161) …and argue that a practical distinction actually exists.

162) State with a straight face, “Yes, I believe that an invisible fairy god king magically blinked us all into existence in order to punish us for our salvation and that we must all humble ourselves and eat his flesh and drink his blood,” and then claim your belief is perfectly rational and supperior to the atheist “mind-set,” which can provide no answers.

163) Tell him that he can’t use absolute logic because God is the only absolute.

164) Tell him the signs are there — he’s just not looking.

165) Tell him he wouldn’t believe even if someone rises from the dead.

166) Play Matthew McConnaghey: “Do you love this person? Prove it.”

167) Tell him that the third hour was Jewish time; the sixth hour was Roman time.

168) Try to perform an exorcism on him.

169) Claim to be speaking in tongues when actually you’re just babbling incoherently.

170) Say that the Bible (as opposed to other holy books) is true because it’s an eyewitness occount.

171) When he points out an apparent inconsistency of God’s attributes, just say that God is infinite. The atheist, with his finite, human brain cannot begin to understand God.

172) For Muslims only: Say that it’s perfectly reasonable for anyone to convert to your religion, but no one has a valid reason to leave Islam; it is the perfect religion.

173) Tell him that everyone has faith in SOMETHING.

174) Say that whatever you turn to in your hour of need is God.

175) Make him clean out your car.

176) Include cosmology and abiogenesis when discussing evolution.

177) Tell him he won’t understand unless he believes, and he can’t believe unless he understands.

178) Ask how he can have any morals if he doesn’t believe in God.

179) Say that you know in your heart that belief in God is perfectly logical and rational.

180) Say that going to church is fun.

181) …and when he says it’s boring, act surprised.

182) Leave little Jesus cards on the tables at restaurants.

183) Talk about all the great things Dubya is going to do for our nation.

184) Insist that homosexuality is a choice.

185) Insist that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian.

186) Tell his that it’s not a religion — it’s a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

187) Sing.

188) When asked what’s wrong with evolution, tell them that it doesn’t account for the origin of matter.

189) Tell him he only doesn’t believe in God because his family hates him.

190) Advertise for heaven and hell.

191) Send a child over to witness to him.

192) …when he tells the child he’s not interested, send over two adults to say the same things.

193) …when he refuses again, give a Chick tract to a 3 year old to give to him.

194) Send a chat room message that he is a black-hearted sinner.

195) …then turn your IM off so that he can’t respond.

196) Tell them that Darwin recanted evolution on his deathbed.

197) …and when he tells you about the Lady Hope myth, cry.

198) Create a website challenging evolution.

199) …and when he actually does, close it down.

200) Create a term for a blatant paradox in your religion, then call other religions false because they don’t have it.

201) Get into a chatroom argument with him, then start SCREAMING the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” while your friends write “Amen, brother” and other such nonsense as the atheist tries to make his point.

202) After losing an argument horribly, say that you will pray for his eternal soul.

203) …then begin praying loudly without his permission.

204) Yell and scream about how he is going to hell during a debate.

205) …and when he gets tired of your yelling and screaming, back out of the debate.

206) When losing a debate, take advantage of his good nature by punching out somebody near you until he stops talking.

207) …when you see someone else do this, stop him by saying that his religion is a peaceful one.

208) Put gigantic crosses on everything he owns that you can get your hands on.

209) Counter every argument that begins with “God is defined as…” with “So you believe in God?”

210) Cry foul when he tries to create a club that is not religious.

211) Fail to have a basic grasp of history. (Spanish Inquisition? What’s that?)

212) Have your pastor hunt him down and force him into a debate over dinner.

213) When all else fails, never talk to him, and convince a lot of other people to never talk to him either.

214) Treat his Christian wife like shit.

215) Complain to him about your own church, but don’t leave it.

216) Send the DEA an anonymous tip that he has bundles of cocaine in his garage.

217) Put a large cross in his yard.

218) …then set it on fire with your hooded brethren.

219) PUT ALL ARGUMENTS IN CAPITAL LETTERS TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU’RE YELLING AND SCREAMING!

220) Start your own university dedicated to religious narrow-mindedness and restriction of free choice.

221) …and name it “Liberty.”

222) Perpetually ask saps for money on your television show.

223) Avoid taxes and regulations because you’re doing God’s work.

224) Ask why he only focuses on the bad parts of the Bible.

225) Accuse him of closed-mindedness for not accepting your extraordinary claims.

226) Tell him he has to believe before he can understand the evidence.

227) Tell him he is innumerate.

228) Tell him he is illiterate.

229) Tell him he is pissed.

230) Tell him he won’t agree with you because the Holy Spirit has closed his eyes to the truth.

231) …then continue preaching to him.

232) Insist that you’ve already refuted everything he said.

233) Ask God to bless his dark heart.

234) Threaten to sue his university for infringement of free speech after he heckles you.

235) Tell him that long hair is the Devil’s work.

236) Tell him that all your music is the Devil’s work.

236) Tell him that the fossils in the earth are the Devil’s work.

237) Create hoaxes to prove cerationism (i.e. a human footprint alongside a dino’s footprint).

238) Claim that God can cure HIV if one prays hard enough.

239) …then say that it is God’s choice who he will cure, and anyway having HIV is better than an eternity in Hell.

240) Turn up your amps so that everyone within three blocks has to listen to him rant about Jesus.

241) Double park on Sunday. Claim the principle of righteousness.

242) Ask who he turns to when he’s in danger.

243) …when he says himself, say “No — when you’re REALLY in danger.”

244) Grossly misunderstand the word “theory.”

245) Declare that everyone knows in his heart that God exists, but just want to worship themselves.

246) Declare that without God there are no ultimate answers to anything.

247) …then declare that WITH God there is an ultimate answer to everything — and that answer is God.

248) Declare that without God you finally die alone.

249) Declare that atheism gives you nothing to hope for except the false promises of this world.

250) Use transitive verbs intransitively (e.g. “Jesus raised from the dead”).

251) …when corrected on the above (e.g. Jesus ROSE or WAS RAISED from the dead), shout “Then you really do believe!”

252) Announce that God was watching over a loved one who survived a terrible tragedy.

253) …and when the loved one later dies from his wounds, announce that it was God’s will.

254) Get him to admit that he KNOWS God exists, but Satan has seduced him.

255) Invite every single person in your church to give Chick tracts to everyone they know.

256) Ask if he’s ever heard of Jesus Christ.

257) Show up on his front porch at 9:00 on Saturday morning, and take advantage of his groginess by shoving copies of Watchtower into his hands and getting him to read the Bible with you, then walk away before he has any idea what’s going on.

258) When he finally gets tired of you and launches several “Do Not Feed The Troll” campaigns against you, change your handle.

259) When confronted with a sound logical argument, respond with “Yes, but I don’t believe that.”

260) Have the Gideon Bible waiting in the hotel room that he pays for.

261) Regale him with questions such as “Who do you think wakes you up in the morning? Isn’t that a miracle?” while you, the bus driver, should be watching the road.

262) Scrape your fingernails on a blackboard.

263) If you’re an ISP, repeatedly cut him off during a net session, so that he must spend 90% of his time dialing.

264) Program your church bells to play very loudly at really odd hours.

265) Every time the subject of his being an atheist comes up, burst out laughing.

266) Ask how he can possibly raise children in a godless environment.

267) Accuse him of having more than one personality.

268) Talk to him with the assumption that he shares your beliefs — i.e. start a sentence with “You know how God wants us to…”

269) When the subject of homosexuality comes up, say “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

270) …and expect it to be taken as an intelligent remark.

271) Insist that the Bible is completely true.

272) …and when he conclusively proves otherwise, acknowledge that the Bible is trash, but remain a Christian.

273) …then take him to church.

274) …and tell him he really must come more often.

275) Reply to every statement he makes, “That’s only your opinion.”

276) Post something inflammatory about him, wait for him to respond, then go back and either delete or edit your post so that it appears that the ateist is attacking you for no reason.

277) Become completely and totally paranoid about him.

278) After bringing up a number of topics, explain your lack of response by referring to some organized sport that you participate in.

279) Point to something in nature that’s really cool, and call it proof of God’s existence.

280) When he shows up at your wedding, bearing an expensive gift for you, return the favor by sicing your minister on him after the ceremony.

281) If he has cancer, tell him with a sickeningly sweet smile that you will pray for his recovery, because someone needs to.

282) Refuse to give him your wallet after he quotes Matthew 5:42 to you.

283) Insist you believe in the literal truth of the entire Bible, except for Matthew 5:42.

284) Take advantage of a horrible national tragedy, caused in large part by religious fanaticism, by pushing your own religious fanaticism as the only thing that will save us all.

285) …and announce that the tragedy only happened because of those who ignore your religious fanaticism.

286) When ask why you bother praying to ask for things if God has a Divine Plan, tell him that you’re not really asking for things, but you’re trying to get closer to him. (It’s a lie, of course, but don’t let that stop you.)

287) Insist that a denomination of Protestantism founded in the nineteenth century is the only true way.

288) Insist on deathbed conversions.

281) When ending your conversation with the atheist, promise to read whatever book the atheist may have mentioned, knowing darned well that you yourself never made it through Leviticus.



The religious people who complain…

May 11, 2013

complaing religiousRe



Bad Arguments for the Existence of God

May 9, 2013

Bad Arguments for the Existence of God

Here’s a list of the bad arguments I get, from most to least common:


1. I just know that God exists

I get this argument or claim from the more level-headed folks who respond to me; they’re usually very sincere.  Such sincerity is appreciated when compared to the hellfire I often get, but sincerity without evidence won’t cut it as an argument. After all, there’re thousands of people who deeply believe that Elvis is alive, that UFOs exist, that the earth is flat, and that the Virgin Mary shows up in tortillas. (Or worse, that God is waiting behind the next comet and you have to kill yourself to meet Him.) Problem is, none of them can truly back it up. I can respect when people say “I am certain God exists,” but if your goal is to convince me you’d have to explain why I should take your word over all the other sincere folks who say the same thing about other God(s) or belief systems(I’ve had such responses from Wiccans to followers of Islam to Satanists.)

2. You’re really just an agnostic: 

Not as far as I’m concerned.  Some definitions are in order:

  • Agnostic: One who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists.  
  • “Soft” Atheist: One who presumes there is no god based on lack of evidence.
  • “Hard” Atheist: One who claims with certainty that there is no god.

I find myself somewhere between “soft” and “hard” atheism.  “Agnostic” implies a sense that God is just as likely a possibility as No God, but my feeling is that the probability is strongly favoring No God.  In other words, I acknowledge that I can’t know for certain that God doesn’t exist, I also don’t know for certain that unicorns don’t.  

I feel that the existence of God is about as likely as the existence of Leprechauns.  If that makes me “Leprechaun-agnostic” to you, then call me an agnostic as far as God’s concerned.  

3: You’re just trying to be rebellious:

Wouldn’t that be easy for you if I were? However, if you really knew me you’d know I wasn’t that type. (Unless you consider dropping by the record store and buying indie music on the way to my suburban home from my 9-to-5 job rebellious.) 

4: Prove that God doesn’t exist, Mr. Smartypants:

I’ll do that as soon as you prove to me there aren’t any green swans, unicorns, or leprechauns.  Difficult, isn’t it?In fact, there’s an entire mock religion based on the undisprovability of Gods: the Flying Spaghetti Monster  If you can disprove the existence if the FSM, then I’ll disprove the existence of your particular flavor of God.  

Essentially, the burden of proof is on the person claiming that something does exist. 

5: Pascal’s Wager: If you believe in god, you go to heaven. If you don’t, you go to hell. If God doesn’t exist, you die whether or not you believe.  So why not believe in God just in case He exists?

If I had a Euro for every time I heard this one, I could buy Luxembourg!  Like with most bad arguments, there are some hidden assumptions in this wager:

That it would even be possible to truly believe based simply on a decision to believe. 

Think about it: could you believe in Leprechauns if you simply told yourself to? 

God wouldn’t see through this ploy. 

It seems to me He’d be a pretty stupid God to get hoodwinked by this loophole. 

There’s no harm in believing in God even if He doesn’t exist. 

Really? How about all those wasted Sunday mornings, where I could’ve spent time reading the newspaper more carefully and learning more about the world as it trulyis?  How about the ongoing worries about God’s disapproval?  Or the wasted energy in deciphering an ancient text?  

As one funny page says, “Stay Home on Sundays, save 10%!”

God is the Christian version of God, or even the particular flavor of Christian God you’ll happen to choose.

You may think I’m being facetious, but think about it! Would I become a Catholic? Seventh-Day Adventist? Mormon? Sunni or Shia Muslim?  I can imagine the reply: “Why,my religion, of course!” 

6: The evidence is everywhere, you just need to believe first. 

You’re making a common logical error called “Begging the Question.”  This is a favorite style of argument among delusional people.  Essentially, you’re saying that I need to be biased and interpret everything with my “God Glasses” on.  As a philosophical Frankenstein monster would say: “Bias baaaaad!”

Besides, this argument admits that the evidence for God isn’t really out there, that it’s all a matter of interpretation, not evidence.  

Here’s a relevant quote, thanks to atheism.about.com:

Every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out, “It is a matter of faith, and above reason.”
– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

7: CS Lewis’ “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic” Trilemma: 

The claim here is that if Jesus said what he said in the Bible, that he was either truly the Lord, was an utter Liar, or was a complete Lunatic.  Lewis (and others) then try to argue that “Lord” is the only real option.  However, are those really the only three choices? A more complete set would be “Lord, Liar, Lunatic, Deluded, Misquoted, Fabricated, or otherwise Fictionalized.”  Click here for a more fleshed-out rebuttal.  

8: The Bible is Historically Accurate. Therefore what it says about Jesus is accurate. 

At a gross level the Bible is occasionally historically accurate.  However, with many important details the Bible is the sole source of data, so it’s impossible to independently confirm its claims. Worse, much of the Bible is hearsay (and based on the Gospels, there’s some discrepancy within the Bible between what was heard and what was said.)  Even concerning the issue of the very existence of Jesus, the only independent sources of evidence are suspect (such as a transcribing Monks’ suspected forgery in Josephus, for example). Besides, just because the Bible says there was a war between the x’s and y’s doesn’t validate the whole thing. After all, that’s like saying that everything in “Gone With the Wind” is true because there really was a Civil War. 

9: Being an Atheist requires faith.

Oh, pshaw.  Ever heard of doublespeak?  How can a lack of faith require faith?   It’s not that I have faith that there isn’t a God, I simply lack faith in a God.  Understanding this distinction will help you understand what I believe.

10: Deep down you really believe in God.

Such folks can’t grasp that it’s really possible to disbelieve. It is. In fact, it’s easy.

11: You’ll go to hell, heathen!

Why does anyone think this will convert people? Why would I want to adopt a belief system that condemns free thought?  Why respect a God that uses extortion to get people to worship Him?

12: Evolution is only a theory (and other Creationist claptrap)

Yeah, and so is Newton’s theory of gravity, but you won’t be floating away anytime soon.  (I recommend looking up what the word theory means in science, and why it doesn’t mean “hunch” like it does outside of science.  As Stephen Jay Gould put it, “Evolution is a theory.  It is also a fact.”)  

There’s a delicious irony here: those who say there isn’t enough evidence supporting evolution despite tons of concrete data have a shifting set of criteria when it comes to the existence of Jesus, where the evidence is purely anecdotal.  If anything is “only a theory,” it’s Christianity.  

But I should get to the main point, in bold and underlined in case the drooling hordes of Creationists miss it:  

Anyone who tries to argue against Evolution should make an effort to understand what Evolution claims.  Every single Creationist who has responded to me has been ignorant of some of the basic tenets of Evolution.

Chances are, if your evidence against Evolution comes from Creationist literature, your argument has been soundly defeated. 

My Favorite Bad Creationist Argument: Using the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as evidence against Evolution. Evolution doesn’t break the 2nd Law any more than infant development or even tree growth does. Look up “open versus closed systems” in any science text discussing the 2nd Law, and you’ll see how ignorant and/or dishonest this Creationist argument is.

If you insist on spewing Creationist dogma to me, you’d better read The Blind WatchmakerScience on Trial, and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea before even trying this with me.  At the very least surf to this site and give it a spin.  

Don’t even try Behe’s “Darwin’s Empty Box” or other Intelligent Design theories without looking into other Biochemists’ reactions to Behe.  And if you’re not intellectually honest enough to try that, at least go to The General Anti-Creationism FAQ before wasting your keystrokes. Evolution’s support is as strong as the support for a heliocentric solar system. Period.

Why am I so hostile to Creationism?  Aside from its willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty I also feel that Creationists share some responsibility for the fact that American children are slipping when it comes to basic competence in science.  When Biology teachers are afraid to teach a basic tenet of Biology to students, we all suffer.  I can respect religious beliefs I disagree with, but to deny Evolution is as maddening as to deny that the earth is spherical.  There is simply no excuse in the 21st century to be so blindingly ignorant.  

FYI, here’s a great quote from Paul Doland on Evolution and Probability: “I will borrow an analogy that I read somewhere, but I cannot remember the source. In this analogy, the person said to imagine someone driving a car, ignoring all signs and just making random turns. A few days later he calls me and tells me he is in Chicago. I explain to him that is impossible. The probability that he would have taken each and every turn necessary to end in Chicago is so small that he couldn’t possibly be there. Of course he had to wind up somewhere. Yet anywhere he ends up, I could calculate the probability that he ended up there to be very small. Any probability discussion on whether life exactly as we know it could evolve faces a similar problem. Yes, the probability that life exactly as we know would evolve is very small, but it proves nothing about the probability of life as we do not know it evolving.”

13: “There are no Atheists in Foxholes”

In other words, when things get stressful, I’ll change my mind.  

Usually this one is offered in a nastier way: “You’ll be groveling before the Lord when it’s time for you to die.”  Such respondents apparently relish the idea of 1) my experiencing a horrible event, and 2) getting my comeuppance for simply questioning God’s existence. 

Either way, it’s a crappy argument.  There are, and there have been atheists in foxholes (and here).  Aside from that, even if there weren’t any, how would this be evidence for God’s existence?  Because people decide to believe in God at their neediest and weakest moments?  

What this argument is really trying to say is that atheists don’t have the strength of their convictions.  Again, even if this was true, what would it prove?  Would this be any better of an argument than if an atheist told you that many Christians have crises of faith?  

Actually, I have lived through some pretty awful experiences (major surgeries, deaths, layoffs, etc.), and God never crossed my mind during any of them.    

14: You’re Just Mad at God

In other words, I really believe that God exists, but I think he’s a jerk.  While it’s true that I think the Christian God would be (at best) an insecure codependent and (at worst) murderously psychotic if He existed, that doesn’t mean that’s the reason I disbelieve.  

Those who make this argument blithely ignore all of my arguments against the existence of God; they feel their only option is to offer a hand-wave like this.   

15: You Just Want to Live an Amoral Life

Here, the claim is that my disbelief arises from pure selfishness.  How better to justify my nonstop orgies, crack addiction, and Napster use than to believe that I won’t be judged in the hereafter?  

Of course, if I wanted to live an amoral life, I’m doing a pretty bad job of it.  For the most part I’m a straight arrow: good job, suburban home, pregnant wife, clean teeth and gums…  Sure, I’ve had a few ethical lapses in my life, but I never justified those lapses by invoking the nonexistence of God.  

The basis for this argument is the smug assumption that atheists are immoral.  This belief is  so astonishingly ignorant of ethical Philosophy that I can only see it as intellectually dishonest.  

16: “Why do you care so much to create this page?”

I think there’s an implied argument here: “You can’t be an atheist. Why else would you dwell on the issue of the existence of God?” I won’t get into this too much, since anyone with a whit of imagination could come up with some perfectly valid reasons for an atheist to care about the issues I bring up on this site:

1. The US faces a religious/spiritual majority, and in my own small way I hope to offer an antidote.

The current political climate in the US seems to be “mostly spiritual, with a near-100% chance of Christianity by nightfall.” Lately, everyone from Bible-bumping fundamentalists to the muddle-headed feel-goodian Oprah/Chopra/VanPraaghery have poisoned the country’s intellectual well and are now trying to do the same to our legal and educational systems.

In the spirit of living by example, I try to show that there are valid reasons to be skeptical of the claims of religion. I don’t do this necessarily to convert believers to atheism, but to foster respect for atheism. We aren’t amoral goons who eat kitten kebabs for breakfast. Nor are we all sad, bitter people with a “god-shaped hole” in our psyches.

2. With my CDA Protest, I hope to show that “Theological Correctness” is more pervasive and dangerous than “Political Correctness” is claimed to be.

3. The intellectual exercise.  Even if I lived in a society that valued free thought, I’d probably still keep this page going. After all, arguments about the existence of god interest me on an intellectual level. It fascinates me how wishful thinking colors people’s logic, and it’s fun to pick apart arguments to see where the logic ends and the fantasy begins. (My favorite is the Cosmological Argument, where the wishful thinking starts with the premise and doesn’t let go. No unbiased person would be convinced by it.)

3. My religious past.

As a former Christian, I have a soft spot for Christianity. Many family members and friends whom I love and respect are devout Christians, and many seem to be deeply disappointed in my lack of faith. With this page I hope to offer a respectful but truthful explanation for my disbelief.

4. As a connection to like-minded people

And I don’t necessarily mean those who agree with me to the letter.  Many of my favorite responses have been from deeply religious people who understand the importance of critical thought.

5. Fame, Fortune, and Groupies

😉

17: God doesn’t need to be visible to us, since he wants us to have faith.  

The claim here is that it would somehow not be challenging to God if we knew He existed.  So, he hides from us and wants us to have Faith all the while.  (Never mind the punishment if you don’t muster this faith!)  

What if your true love decided that it would be best for your relationship if they disappeared for years and expected you to trust in them and have faith in them?  

Perhaps this parable is more appropriate:

Imagine if an airplane engineer, for his own self-gratification, designed an airplane knowing that a hefty percentage of its passengers would die. Imagine also that this engineer dictated that the only way for a passenger to survive a flight on this plane would be to deliberately contact him and flatter him in some way. Worse, there are different engineers, each with different sets of rules, and the passengers have to figure out which engineer they are supposed to be in touch with.

It gets worse. Because this engineer wants his passengers to have Faith in him, there’s no reason for him to make his presence known. That way, the passengers can’t really be sure that any engineer exists at all. If a human behaved like this, most people (including Christians) would want his head on a plate. But since this is God’s doing, this situation is somehow supposed to make sense.

18: “Look at all the wonderful things in this world!  They must be from God.” 

Well, not to be a downer, but look at all the evil, awful, nasty things, too.  Would a loving God allow attacks like the one on the World Trade Center?  

Don’t blame all of this on sin and Satan; imagine the countless innocent infants dead from disease and disaster.  

And consider that even if Satan is responsible, I remind you that Satan is God’s creation, too. 

Want to try blaming it all on Free Will?  Don’t you think God would’ve known what humans would do with their Free Will?  God would have to have been pretty dim not to know what Eve would do with the Forbidden Fruit, don’t you think?  

Here’s a great quote from Richard Dawkins:

“The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all
decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this
sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are
running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being
devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying
of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time
of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the
population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.

In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and
genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are
going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any
justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should
expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good,
nothing but pitiless indifference.”
[Richard Dawkins in “God’s Utility Function,”
Scientific American, November 1995, p. 85.]

19: Somebody had to start everything!  (aka the Cosmological Argument)

Here’s the argument in a nutshell: every event has a cause that precedes it in time.  However, time can’t extend backward infinitely, so something has to set the whole thing going, and that “something” is God.   

Problems:

1: You’re assuming that time is linear and finite.  Sure, it seems so from our limited perspective, but who’s to say that this is the case at the edges of time and space?  Check into modern physics: the “Big Bang” isn’t as stupid a theory as you think.  

2: Even if time is linear and finite, does God really solve the infinite regress problem?  Essentially, you’re saying that God extends infinitely backward in time.  Yet again, God is patched into a mystery not because of evidence but because it’s easier to assume there’s a conscious process instead of trying to truly understand the mystery.  

Click here if you want to look deeper into this issue.  Especially this article.  

20: God is the source of all morality.

Sadly, this is one of the most ignorant (and prejudiced!) replies that I get, as well as the most common.  Otherwise intelligent people seem to lack the imagination to understand how moral behavior doesn’t necessarily have to come from the dictates of a deity.  (In fact, when you think about it, it’s frightening to think that the only reason you’re not murdering me right now is that a Big Ghost told you not to do it.)  

Because this is such a commonly held belief, I’m drafting a separate page to explain where my standards of conduct come from.  When I’m done, I’ll post a link.  In short, my morals come from the simple fact that certain behaviors allow people to live peacefully together.  We all have one shot at life, and certain codes of conduct mean that you and I can pursue happiness without treading on each other.  This may be familiar to Christians as “do unto others,” but they shouldn’t assume this philosophy is unique to Christianity.

Until my essay is done, I recommend surfing here for more on this issue.   

21: “You can’t see air, and you believe in that!” (aka Miscast Empiricism)

Ugh.  This one’s so bad I don’t even know where to start.

First I’ll start with a physiology lesson: we have five senses, not one.  Remarkably, these senses often tell me of things that I cannot see: I can feel air when it moves, and smell it (for better or worse).

Most important, “air” is a really bad example for someone to use, since air, unlike God, can be probed scientifically.  (And it can be seen, but I won’t get into that.)

People who say this to me are feebly trying to say that empiricism is a terrible way to determine whether something exists.  On the contrary, it’s the best way to determine if something exists!  If a being or object has any bearing on the universe, that means that this entity’s existence is capable of empirical measurement.  Simple as that.  

Some versions of this argument use intangible concepts such as “love” instead of “air.”   This is harder to dismiss, though it’s an equally bad argument.  “Love,” for example, isn’t an object or a being like God is claimed to be.  Rather, love is a concept.  The very fact that there’s a word for love proves its existence as a concept, but that hardly means that there’s anobject called love.  The same is true with God: God exists as a concept, but that doesn’t mean he/she/they/it exists as an entity. 

It’s particularly amusing when creationists accuse me of being overly empirical.  They seem to have a love-hate, all-or-none relationship with this mental power-tool called empiricism.  If I suggest that the independent evidence for Jesus’ or God’s existence is sketchy, they accuse me of being overly empirical.  But bring up evolution, and they’ll claim that because no scientists witnessed human evolution firsthand, there’s no evidence.  (One creationist’s mantra to biologists: “But were you there?”)  I’m just glad these folks aren’t in charge of investigating homicides: “Well, even though Gacy has countless bodies in his basement, nobody ever saw him kill anybody!  Set ‘im free, boys!”