As the title says..."what's your favourite question to ask a theist"?

You may have many favourites...I would like to hear from you guys about yours.

I have a personal favourite which I often use when they start spouting their spew that GOD wrote the bible at the beginning of time, he created everything....

"OK. If GOD wrote the BIBLE at the beginning of time like you say...some 14.5 BILLION, that's BILLION years ago, What language was it written in?"

Most theists I know don't even know what language JESUS spoke. It's sad really.

Another of my favourites is this one...

"Why did it take GOD 10 BILLION years to make the planet EARTH and then a further 4.5 BILLION years to make MAN?"

There's always a spewy reply of some sort or another which usually gets my goat and the theist is appalled at my outburst of laughter.

So come on you guys....let 'em have it....share your ammo with us.

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I must admit I've heard the term, but have no familiarity with the definition, much less the technique - you, on the other hand, whom I freely acknowledge to be wiser in all matters nefarious, likely would. Could you elucidate from your infinite well of wisdom?

Six hours, and still no response from the Un-one --

I think its a Zen response, Arch.  I think he is saying that your red herring is a red herring.  Which arguably, it is.

Most of the herrings I have ever seen, have been a silverish color, I have neither ever seen, nor know what is meant by, a red herring.

Oh ok - that's the point, really.  A red herring is a false trail, seems real, smells real but isn't the real thing - ergo 'red'.  It's an old English saying, maybe it didn't make it across the pond.  I know a lot of good phrases fell out of the boat, along with an entire crate of 'U's.

I grew up with the expression in Canada, which is probably the Queen's fault somehow. Though I've heard different versions of where the term comes from, they have all involved idea of using the pungent scent of kippered herring to (mis)lead tracking dogs.

I didn't grow up with kippered herring though, so I don't really know what that smells like.

I FOUND ONE!! "Colour"!!

Australians use the red herring statement. Herring could possibly be red, because of the process of 'smoking', as is cod when smoked.

OR, it could just be a Communist fish --!

The most common question I get: any question the theist believes cannot be answered.

Thus, the theist tactic is (1) get you to acknowledge ignorance, and (2) pin God to that ignorance. It goes like this:

1. Crackpot: How did life arise on earth?
2. You: That's one of the most difficult questions in science. It's never been fully explained.
3. Crackpot: (Triumphantly) See? God MUST have done it! It's the ONLY explanation! 

Note the theist can substitute almost any question in #1. Where did the universe come from? How does human consciousness work? Why are there "gaps" in the fossil record? How did my cousin survive terminal colon cancer? The tune changes but the dance is always the same.

For the theist, actual ignorance works best. But willful ignorance will do. For instance, the theist may be genuinely unaware of the evidence for evolution. Or he may be fully aware, but denies and refuses to become informed by it.     

No matter the question, the answer in this situation is the same:

4. You: Why must it have a supernatural explanation? Why can't it have a natural explanation we don't understand yet?  [If possible, add:] Before science discovers how it works, it's God. Once sciences discovers how it works, God vanishes. History has countless examples, including; earthquakes, disease, ocean tides, fire, lightning, fertility, and meteorites. Not once has the supernatural ever been the explanation for ANYTHING.

That answer is more effective at producing flabbergasted silence than stuffing a mattress down the throat of a braying jackass. Try it and see for yourself. 

That's very good indeed.

It prompts me to interject a thought I had when I read your reply about another thread that was about the dictionary meaning of God. Assuming it has not been coined already I'll put out that God could mean :- The temporary explanation for something that has not yet been supported by facts.

I love the mattress gag at the end too...exquisite.

Thanks for sharing.

"Will you please get off my doorstep?"

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