Here’s how to become an atheist in three very short steps:
- Pick any god besides your own
- Give reasons why you don’t believe in it
- Apply now same reasons to your own god
Voila! You should be an atheist instantly.
Except that it is an entirely fallacious heuristic.
I came across this meme, the preferred mechanism for atheismists to disseminate and absorb knowledge, that stated the above Insta-atheist formula, in a bright yellow background and typographic chaos. You can view it here, but I warn you, it looks like an 8-year old’s third day ever using Microsoft Paint. We made alterations to the meme to suit the mood.
So what’s the problem with these steps? Actually, there are quite a few but first and foremost is that it commits the false equivalency fallacy (we’ll call it FEF). This fallacy is committed when two arguments are made to seem equal but are not. In our context, the FEF is that all gods are equal. The basis for this equalization is the unproven assumption that there is no evidence for God.
The way to counter this fallacy is to first identify the assumption embedded in it and then pick it apart. Doing so will force the indoctrinated atheismist to commit several other fallacies which you can call them out on and correct. Here’s a simulation:
Atheismist: “..apply now same reasons to your own god! Aha! I’m so clever!”
You: “Your approach is only valid if all gods are equal. Prove all gods are equal.” [Tease out a claim]
Atheismist: “Your an idiot! There is no evidence of any god!!” [Makes a claim, usually coupled with a spelling error / insult combo]
You: “Prove there is no evidence of any god.” [Place burden of proof]
Atheismist: “Your such a child! Prove your God!” [Shifts burden]
You: “I made no claims about God, you made a claim no evidence of god exists, prove it.” [Refocus on claim]
Atheismist: “You can’t prove god exists? I thought so!” [Ad hom]
You: “There is no burden of proof on me since I made no claim. Do you refuse to prove your claim?”
Atheismist: “I don’t need to prove it, you need to show evidence that I’m wrong!”
You: “Are you suggesting you can make a claim and I need to prove it?”
Atheismist: “It’s unfalsifiable, dude! Everyone knows that! It cannot be proven!”
You: “Therefore you cannot claim it. And if you can’t claim it, you cannot use it as an assumption to arrive at conclusions.”
And they are done, minus the hysterics, repeated demands, insults and theatrics that will follow.
Usage? Rinse and repeat. After over 2,000 debates with atheists, I guarantee this will more or less be the structure of their debate. The key is to remain calm and just deliver the counters. Be careful that they don’t reverse a question that you ask and conveniently and fallaciously turn it into a claim, i.e.
You: “Prove gravity exists.”
Atheismist: “HAHAHA hey guys check this guy out he thinks gravity is not real”
The additional set of assumptions that are conveniently made include:
- The assumption that each god is mutually exclusive
- The assumption that each god doesn’t in effect represent a belief in one higher God
- The assumption that polytheists do not believe in one higher God
- The assumption that the epistemology, or how we come to gain knowledge about God, are identical for all gods
- The assumption that a different name for god is a different god
The atheismist’s strategy is to divide and conquer (and theists do help atheismists in this regard, I must admit, in their constant quarreling with other theists) and segregate out gods as independent objects. What they will refuse to acknowledge is the general consensus among theists, deists and most polytheist is the general notion that a higher power exists and we differ in some of the interpretations. Because the name of God may differ with different peoples, atheists wish to sever that tie that bonds theism and create and leverage friction.
Let’s look at this another way. Imagine a true god X exists. Not everyone believes in true god X because not all people necessarily choose to believe in things that are true. Theist A believes in god X. God X has revealed a text and that text somehow, for argument sake, establish its authenticity and integrity as being from god X. Theist B does not believe in god X. B’s reason for rejecting A is that the moral code in the text does not fit with her worldview of justice. So she commits a false negative in rejecting god X.
Using the heuristics proposed by atheists above, the atheismist should also reject god X. Because, after all, someone rejected god X and therefore god X should be rejected.
We can also play around with this set of heuristics, for illustration purposes only:
- Pick any set of morals besides your own
- Give reasons why you don’t believe in it
- Now apply same reason to your own morals
Conclusion: Everybody’s morals are wrong. If that didn’t make it clear how fallacious the heuristic is, this should:
- Pick any country besides your own
- Give reasons why you don’t live there
- Now apply same reason to your own country
Huh? All of a sudden, this should all stop making sense. The atheismist will complain well not all countries are the same and so on so forth, which is exactly the point. It is unproven that all gods are the same and it is on the atheismist to prove that.
Let’s revise our 3 steps to becoming an atheist. They are:
- Make an unproven assumption
- Pretend the assumption is true
- Derive a conclusion from that assumption
That’ll do it. Its worked for millions.