Quick Arguments Against Religion

Do you think I'm going to hell? If yes, why? Why would God condemn me to eternal torture just for not believing him in the face of a huge lack of evidence? Why did he create me with my questioning, rational mind ...
  • Nivek

    Not only would he be condemning you, he would be condemning most of the world. Christians have never been the majority in the world.

    Why would a loving, omnipotent, omniscient being create flawed mortal beings, then desire their eternal praise? Is he not capable of creating beings to better praise him? Why would he even care about such petty desires as praise?

    When I’ve pitched that to Christians, they usually begin a conversation about free will and original sin. Actually, most just say that they will pray for me.

    So then it’s on to sin and prayer.

    Why does God answer prayer or forgive sin? Well who wouldn’t forgive a slight indiscretion, when he’s culpable in the sin and the individual’s desire? If he is, what they claim him to be, then he’s guilty. He’s guilty of it all!

    All praise for the wonders of the universe, but he’s guilty, at least as an accomplice or conspirator, for every death, murder, abortion, war, torture, rape, genocide, abuse, deformity, malice, pain, suffering, and dare I say, sin for all of eternity.

    Maybe that’s why he needs our praise. He’s done such a bad job of it all, that he just wants a few flawed mortal beings to tell him it’s OK.
  • Kat Sullivan

    well said. i'd also add to the list:

    one needs to analyze the world around him with a variety of types of sciences and then objectively make a deduction about the world based on the actual evidence that is verifiable, and falsifiable. this is the only way one can know something for sure. all of these subjects ought to be considered when analyzing the big questions about life, the universe and everything"...anthropology, paleoanthropolgoy, biology, evolutionary biology, evolution, evolution by natural selection, geology, psychology, neurology, astronomy, physics, history of Christianity, history of the bible etc.
  • Morgan Matthew

    I think the best tactic is to get them thinking about why it is obvious to them that other religions are false. The Stephen F. Roberts quote is good for that:

    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
  • Kat Sullivan

    wow, michel poisson, your 4 points against religion are excellent. i couldn't agree more. i'm saving this link so i can come back to your 4 points again in the future to refer others to. thanks.
  • Morgan Matthew

    A quick one I found that I think is good.

    When somebody tells me that they believe in a god, I first ask them "Which one?" That throws quite a lot of them. It's almost as though many of them had never considered the fact that there are actually several different gods that people believe in. When they answer, I simply ask "Why?" and then argue against whatever they answer with if I disagree with it, or probe further if I deem necessary. It's quite telling actually how many people are unable to even begin answering that simple question.

    The most common answer I usually get is "I don't know. I just do." At that point, all I can really tell them is "Well, have a think about it". As somebody once said: "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." The other common answer, although this one has to be dragged out of them usually, is that they were simply brought up to believe it, in which case your argument works very well.
  • Morgan Matthew

    Another Quick add :]

    A argument suggests some kind of dialogue. So, rather then going in with a pre-planned shpiel with the intention of convincing the other that their religion is nonsense (Have they ever listened anyway? Seriously?), I listen, absorb what they say, respond.

    The word 'argument' suggests an exchange, but it seems to me that you're really only interested in preaching.
  • Morgan Matthew

  • Morgan Matthew

    Why would an omnipotent being have a plan?
  • Morgan Matthew

    Some people feel better about themselves by demonizing others. Those people who are truly interested in morals begin by looking for immorality within themselves, not others.
  • Morgan Matthew

    lol
  • Paul Tourville

    I prefer to completely bypass the "religion" and go straight for the god:

    "Ultimately, you can believe whatever you want. If it's inconsistent with reality, eventually, you will be disappointed."

    Sweep the leg, Johnny!
  • Morgan Matthew

    haha Paul I am going to make a We Think Atheist out of your line :]
  • Morgan Matthew

  • Thunder

    "Behaving like animals" does not mean anything, because different animals behave in different ways. A part of human behavior is the ability of people to learn and to modify their behavior according to cultural norms. Evolution teaches that people behave like humans.
  • Morgan Matthew

    In fairness, creation and evolution deserve equal time in science classes.

    Response:
    The teaching of creationism does not belong in science classes because creationism has no science to teach. It is based on personal religious belief, not on evidence. For the most part, creationism can fit with anything we find, making it unscientific. Where creation models do make specific predictions that can be tested against evidence, they fail the tests. Asking for equal time is asking for nonscience to be taught in science classes. Via
  • Paul Tourville

    Re: "In fairness, creation and evolution deserve equal time in science classes."

    I would submit that "Creation" does not belong in Science classes.

    Science begins from a position of ignorance, and through reasoned thought, observation and experimentation, moves to a position of workable understanding, which permits predictions based on evidence, and which allows refinement or correction.

    "Creation" starts from a position of certainty (inerrancy of scripture), repeats the dogma, and does not progress. The dogma is not subject to doubt.

    Therefore, "Creation" is not "Science", or "Science History", and, as such, should not be taught in Science classrooms.
  • Morgan Matthew

    Evolution is almost certainly the most hated scientific theory in history. Many people think it threatens morals, civilization, and their very souls, and virtually nobody wants it to be true. Starting from the first day that Origin of Species was published, it has faced constant challenges from some of the most powerful politicians and religious leaders, not to mention incessant disapproval and attacks from the general public. The only thing evolution has going for it is the evidence. If that evidence were not extremely strong, evolution would have been torn to irreparable shreds decades ago. via
  • Paul Tourville

    Ultimately, tho... the "fairness" plea holds no water with respect to reality. There is what is real, and there is everything else.

    Darwin's foundation, which, as I understand it, has been tweaked over time to fit emerging evidence, is to evolutionary biology what Newton's description of Gravity is to the real behavior of the Cosmos. It's close enough to work in most situations an Earth-bound observer, working on human timescales is likely to encounter.

    Whether Darwin was a racist or a misogynist is not relevant to the empirical value or validity of his hypotheses.

    Whether Darwin's hypotheses threaten the foundation one's morals is of no consequence to whether the hypotheses are consistent with reality.

    If a person's morals cannot operate in the light of Darwin's hypotheses, then that person's morals are flawed, and corrupt, and in need of careful review and refurbishment.
  • Paul Tourville

    Hey... BTW... Pruett and I will be at AAIC in Burbank this weekend... If any T|A'ers will be there, let's touch base! I'll the the one with the KitschKave Gear on!
  • Nix Manes

    "I've outgrown the need for myth and superstition."

    I don't need anything else.
  • Morgan Matthew

    The evolution of new body parts has never been observed...

    We would not expect to directly observe the evolution of new body parts. Major changes occur gradually over long periods of time. Finding a new body part one day where there was none the day before, or even a generation before, would be better evidence for creationism than for evolution.

    What exactly is a new body part? Most evolutionary changes are changes to existing structures, not additions de novo. We have transitional sequences showing the evolutionary transition of fins to legs, plus some understanding of the genetic changes involved (Zimmer 1998, 57-85). Do legs qualify as a new body part?

    We also sometimes see duplication of body parts. It is not uncommon for cats to have extra toes, for example. Should not these qualify as new body parts? Via
  • Morgan Matthew

    I think we need to remember that just about every Christian has two things in common: a belief in the sanctity of a book with talking animals and the expectation of being taken seriously. - Jason Long Via Nelson's page.
  • Morgan Matthew

    The views of Darwin, or of any person, are irrelevant to the fact of evolution. Evolution is based on evidence, not on people's opinions. Via
  • Morgan Matthew

    The Biblical objection to homosexuality is hypocritical, because those who condemn it do not condemn just as vigorously other prohibited behaviors such as wearing clothing made of two kinds of material (Lev. 19: 19), trimming or shaving sideburns (Lev. 19: 27), getting tattoos (Lev. 19: 28), and charging interest (Deut. 23: 19-20). People who condemn homosexuality do so not because the Bible tells them to, but, ultimately, because they want to. People who condemn others should first examine the morality of their own judgments. Via
  • Morgan Matthew

    Ockham's Razor says the simplest explanation should be preferred. That explanation is creation.

    Creationism is not an explanation. An explanation tells why something is one way instead of an alternative way. But creationism does not rule out any alternatives, since a creator God could have done anything. Because of this, creationism adds nothing to any argument. Thus, creationism is an unnecessary entity and, by Ockham's Razor, should be eliminated. Via
  • Morgan Matthew

    Scientific theories are always changing. You cannot trust what scientists say, since it may be different tomorrow.

    Science investigates difficult questions about unknown fields, and scientists are human, so it is inevitable that scientific findings will not be perfect. However, science works by investigating more and more, which means results get checked and rechecked with further findings. The reason some findings change is because they get corrected. This process of correction helps make science one of the most successful areas of human endeavor. The people who cannot be trusted are those who are always right. Via
  • Jacqueline Sarah Homan

    Simply put, Creationism is mental aroma therapy. It's "feel good" stuff, and it's an excuse to claim a "divine right" to some sort of privilege or undeserved authority. There is no "explanation" involved: just a permanent vacation while high on mental aroma therapy on the road of denial all the way to bullshitland.
  • Mark Stout

    I have started a new group called Atheist Philosophers. If you are interested we could always use more members.
  • Wayne Wilson

    Religion depends on ignorance to survive. Especially in this day and age, with all the advances of science and medicine and the knowldge that has been aquired by scholars and researchers of the past few centuries has shown the conscious person much regarding the nature of the universe and reality, history, humanity and nature.
    All of this knowledge must be put aside to mainain the faith that the major religions demand. This is the epitome of ignorance; purposely ignoring what is known to be true in order to hold on to false beliefs that give one a weak and unstable sense of security. Is it any wonder that the world is in such turmoil?
  • Adrian

    @blrayner. Hell may not be a place to you, but it is very real and literal to many Christians. I try not to ridicule the individual for the act of having a belief, but the belief itself is absolutely fair game, and the inherent fallacies, falsehoods and contradictions should be pointed out.
  • Adrian

    Interesting, but I, then, have to wonder why you joined a group called "Quick Arguments Against Religion" and posted these two posts?

    As I said before, there is a difference between ridiculing the people, themselves, (ad hominem) and ridiculing their beliefs. Are we never to correct the error in anyone's belief? No matter how wrong, or how destructive to themselves and others? Can we never call a fool, a fool? An error, an error? How then are we to make progress, at all? What, even, is the purpose of education?

    Are you really sure that you believe that nobody knows more about life than anyone else?
  • Wayne Wilson

    the fact is that many identify personally with their beliefs. if you insult their belief, as far as they're concerned, you are insulting them, their choice in belief, and taking it personally they will react accordingly. they may attack you in return. but sometimes, it can't be helped. remember what was once said about making an omlette.
  • Adrian

    It has often been asserted, correctly in my opinion, in recent years that there is no right to freedom from offence. If someone chooses to take a criticism of their beliefs as an attack on them personally then there is little we can do about that, other than give up our right to criticise, which should be neither acceptable, nor recognised as beneficial to society in general. We have all believed stupid things in our lives, until educated otherwise, and, if we are totally honest, there will be few of us who do not have some irrational belief or habit still. However, there is a clear difference between being told that our residual irrationality is just that, and being told that we, ourselves, are fundamentally stupid. "You are being stupid" is different from "you are totally stupid". And if they take offence at their beliefs being criticised, then they are "being stupid", and it should be permissable to tell them so, as it should be to point out the stupidity of the actual beliefs. Many of them certainly won't hold back from doing the same to you, whether you tell them or not! There are times when we should be offensive about certain beliefs, traditions and practices; it is the only rational response to some of them. We can not allow the taking of offence to dictate the agenda, or to restrict our own rights, especially the right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech should be subject to the accepted legal restrictions regarding the promotion of hatred or violence, but it should not be restricted by the giving or perception of offence, and it should certainly not recognise any special pleading on the grounds of religion.
  • Jake W. Andrews

  • Skycomet the Fallen Angel

    Quick response to religious BS:

    Theist: You know you're going to Hell, right?

    Atheist: [Brings out ipod with speakers... plays ACDC's "Highway to Hell" and laugh's head off]

  • David Finn

    I loved this article and i think you have excellent points...

     

    I especially loved... "Do you think I'm going to hell? If yes, why? Why would God condemn me to eternal torture just for not believing him in the face of a huge lack of evidence? Why did he create me with my questioning, rational mind if I was going to be punished for exercising it? If no, then there's no reason to bother believing in him anyway."

     

    This sums up my beliefs to  "T"  Why can't I think for myself? I was a catholic in my early years then i just started thinking for myself.....didnt a athiest turned catholic do the same thing??

  • bill owen

    Mine goes like this (assuming I'm talking to a christian): Your religion teaches that if you do not accept Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior you will burn for eternity in hell. More or less. No matter if you are a good person, or are equally devout in another faith. The religion you have as an adult is hugely dependent on the time and place of your birth. If God chose to have you born today to a poor family in India, your chances of converting to christianity to be saved are near zero. If you were born in South America before the conquistador's came, you were not going to hear about Jesus. In essence, God chooses certain people to burn for eternity and they have no say in the matter.

    I am sponsoring a child from a poor Indian family named Daktar through a faith based organization. He is a Christian and so is his family. Many others are doing the same. The word of God is becoming available to the entire world. In the past, however, there were those who never got the chance to hear about Jesus. We know that Jesus saves people who accept Him, but we do not know that He does not also save those who have never heard of them.

     

    Religion is like football. Everyone wants to believe their home team is special, but the fact is they only think so because they were born there.

    Countless people have their own beliefs that they were not born into, even many of you who read this.

     

    there is no credible evidence for the existence of god. two things are generally proffered as evidence of god, scripture and the natural world (argument from perceived design).

    Because the natural world isn’t credible? The heavens declare the glory of God. I urge you to watch a presentation called the Star of Bethlehem. There is also the Law of Nature described in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. There are also the universal constants that, if changed by the slightest fraction, would make life impossible anywhere. These universal constants do not vary, and therefore must have been fine tuned to allow life, unless by the smallest chance, they just happened to be the way they were. In this case one cannot use the argument that if you repeat something an infinite amount of times, the impossible becomes possible, because these constants DO NOT CHANGE. They are what they are once and only once.

     

    I like to play the morality card, e.g. what motivates you to be a good person? If the answer is religion, cue argument about people with different religions (or no religion) still being good people, thus morality does not come from religion. So, what's the point of religion then?
    If they bring in heaven and hell, I counter by saying that if there is a god, I would hope that he would judge people on their actions (i.e. morality) rather than their superficial beliefs/practices.

    The answer is not religion, the answer is God. God gave you a sense of morality whether you believe in Him or not. He has written the law on our hearts. The Word is there simply to feed your sense of morality and keep it healthy, it is not the source. Additionally, God does not judge based on superficial beliefs/practices, nor the superficial actions that you wished to be judged by. God judges people by what is in their heart. That is more genuine than either of the two things you mentioned.

     

    Do you think I'm going to hell? If yes, why? Why would God condemn me to eternal torture just for not believing him in the face of a huge lack of evidence? Why did he create me with my questioning, rational mind if I was going to be punished for exercising it? If no, then there's no reason to bother believing in him anyway.

    God does not condemn  people for not believing in him, He condemns people for sinning. I was condemned before, but now I am saved. Would you rather He didn’t create you with a rational mind? He wants you to choose Him out of your own free will. He wants you to love Him because you want to, not because He forced you to. That is the purpose of free will; genuine love.

     

    Do you believe in Zeus? Do you believe in FSM? How about unicorns or fairies? How about Xorplax, a god I just made up? Why not?... Well that's why I don't believe in your god, and why you shouldn't either.

    No. No. No. No, you just made him up. Because I’m not an idiot. Ok. I’m glad we had this conversation.

    I want to believe as many true things as possible and not believe as many things that aren't true as possible. The best way to do this I have come across is the scientific method. I require evidence to substantiate claims, and a preponderance of evidence to substantiate extraordinary claims.

    The inexistence of God isn’t an extraordinary claim? I though atheists were a minority?

     

    Faith is a weakness. Faith is the excuse we give ourselves to believe something when there is no good reason to. Faith actively stands in the way of looking for evidence and seeking further knowledge. Instead of faith, let us use reasonable expectation based on observation, and use hope for the things we cannot control.

    In a game of musical chairs, one boy had no faith in the chair he was about to sit on, so instead he studied it to make sure it would support him.  He lost.

     

    All religious beliefs are so far objectively unjustifiable. If you can justify yours, please do so. Personal experience is fine for you, but know that if that is your only basis for belief, you have no footing on which to convince others your religion is valid; it is entirely possible you have misinterpreted your experience, or that your senses were unwittingly impaired at the time.

    I believe in God because He has revealed Himself through scripture and through the world. I have had doubts. I have had questions. They have been answered. I can see His work being done in my life and the lives of those around me. He LIVES through the church; the body of believers. Countless prophecies of the Bible have been fulfilled. The heavens declare the glory of God. From where I stand, He is undeniable.

  • Derek

    Religinut: "You are going to hell"

     

    Me: "It's better to burn in hell than to spend a life of abject servility."