Like many of us in the atheist community, being confronted by relatives, friends, trolls on discussion boards, and co-workers that have faith in one deity or another is a part of everyday life. Some folks, you just know not to even waste your breath on. Others you might converse with, merely like the debate. Of course, a confrontation isn’t a good one unless it involves someone on a mission to “save your soul from eternal damnation”. Ultimately though, pent up frustration with confrontation, the exchange of viewpoints and sometimes just flat out shitty behavior of slams, verbal slaps and sarcastic twits, keeps us coming for more sharp tongue abuses.
Whilst coming back for more ignorant lashings, I wondered how many take a few minutes to breathe before pounding out a smart ass reply on their keyboards? Do you take the argument that no God is worthy of worship when he encourages prejudice, bigotry, murder and degradation? Or do you start taking apart “facts” of the Bible with scientifically proven facts? Do you just pull out Hawkings, Krauss, Dawkins, and De Grasse, and just pummel the shit out of creationism in general? When asking this, I am coming from a straight laced Atheistic point of view, no room for agnosticism. You outright do not believe there is a deity of any kind whatsoever. Period. No wiggle room.
See, that is where I come from in my arguments. There is nothing out there in the present, or future for that matter, which would ever have the qualitative substance to be considered a deity. For me, it is an impossibility simply because the term “deity” doesn’t exist to me as anything more than what a mermaid represents to everyone else. Deities, leprechauns, faeries, unicorns, and ghosts are terms for folk lore and mythology in my reality. I cannot label something a deity just because it can pass judgement, tell me what I am thinking, or even heal my wounds and make my mind free of sorrow. These are not powers of an omniscient being that created the world and passes judgement on its creatures. These are the powers of something I do not understand. Fin. This basis for my line of reasoning, while many can attack it, holds up like a dam because it is impossible to debunk my line of thought, and there are a plethora of examples one can use to clearly, factually, and rationally, demonstrate my point.
Instead of pointing out the erroneous nature of the Bible, Talmud and Quran, I go further to the definition of faith and deity. Once I make it clear that none of the latter terms exist as a reality and why, there isn’t any further argument really, just petty attacks, moving of goal posts, or just outright lack of comprehension of what I am trying to explain. If I were to argue over points of the Bible that do not agree with one another, or point out that revisions have been mistranslated, used and abused, I would get nowhere. It allows for circular arguments. It enables those blinded by faith to manipulate and translate their points however they wish, which is the malevolent nature of the holy works to begin with – to twist their meaning in to what you want.
I could insist that cherry picked scriptures be put in context. I could easily expose ignorance of certain passages that are taught in mainstream churches inaccurately. And still, my challengers would have footing to continue arguing till they are blue in the face. Asking someone why it was moral for their idol to condone drowning billions, or to explain why incest was condoned in the story of Lot, or even further, why killing first born innocents of Egypt was appropriate to punish the parents, will get you no where. I can understand why as well. Most Christians will agree that God has His own way of doing things that are at times beyond our understanding. Kind of like the movie Rubber, which pays a tribute to the typical movie detail of “no reason”.
Why did she pick the blue pants before going on the date? No reason.
Why did Mel Gibson decide to choose a plaid tartan for his costume in Braveheart that didn’t match everyone else’s? No reason given, just is the way it is.
Why did God kill the firstborn of Egypt as a punishment instead of their parents? No reason given, just how the story is going to go.
How can you argue morality of a deity’s actions if the decision doesn’t really have a basis to begin with anyway? You can’t. So why bother arguing the details so much?
Now to switch gears for a moment. Why not just smash these religiously ignorant bigots with science and proven fact? I will tell you why. Purposely keeping oneself ignorant, while a dirty tactic, is still a smart one. If you are too ignorant to understand the basics, nay, purposely ignorant to not understand the basics, you are still going to win. Why? Because in ignorance, one can win any fight. Lack of knowledge gives one the authority to reject any answer given. For example, you can’t blame someone for not wanting to fly a plane when they don’t understand the basic mechanics. For some, aviation is overwhelming in its technical knowledge requirements. Can you really blame everyone out there who doesn’t know how to fly a plane for not showing initiative and go to school and learn? I think not. And we purposely decide to stay ignorant for many reasons. To some, physics and the known Universe is so vast a topic, it is overwhelming, much like aviation. They are sticking to what they know when they cite the Bible and quote Jesus. You can only blame them so much. There really are those out there who are too intellectually weak minded to grasp their world. That is why I stay away from fact and fiction arguments with theists for the most part. I find those I do engage on a more scientific level of debate are willing to listen, willing to use rationale, and 98% of the time admit right off the bat that the Bible facts are rather misguided and ill-informed foundations of thought.
Really, when arguing, your best line of persuasion is going after the source: God. Not so much whether He exists, but rather, what his definition is, and why the definition isn’t possible. See how easily you can dismantle it by making it clear the definition alone makes him impossible to exist.