How to irritate an atheist...

RationalResponseSquad's picture

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.


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.

Nearly all the participants of the Secular Web's FHJE board contributed to this list in some way -- those who did not may share in the credit anyway.)

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.

Some people I have talked to

Some people I have talked to have used these. Although it is no more irritating a statement like "not all Muslims are terrorist, but all terrorists are Muslim" in other words the dumb ass ones...

And you can add to the list....

Insist that his god is really deep time, science, etc.
... and when he explains to you that this trivializes the meaning of God, exclaim that: "God means everything to me!"

Diaphanus's picture

Quote:34) Use Latin a

34) Use Latin a lot.

Actually, that would make me happy (because I like Latin). Laughing out loud

Hey didn't you forget this

Hey didn't you forget this one?


Tell him that when he uses logic he presuppposes that god exists.


Also,i'd like to add:

tell him that since he can't control the movements of planets that god must exist (heard on TBN by me).

 When he refutts one argument you make keep changing to a different topic until you find one he is unknowledgeable about.

Telll him old arguments in the most aboslutely obtuse manner imaginable.

When told that he already knows the argument you're going to make and preceeds to start rebutting him telll him "Can i just say what i'm going to say?" Then get angry when he looks impatient, as you give him the exact argument he knew you would.

After asking many questions about what they believe and/or don't in a setting which is exactly then, continue to say "Well this is what i believe"


I'll add that all of these but 2 happened to me within 1 debate i had recently. 



FreeThoughtMakesMeTingle's picture

It'd be on like donkey kong

It'd be on like donkey kong if when I do have children someone invites them to a churce or takes them against my wishes (my mother "threatened" to take them to church if I ever let them stay for a weekend).

Religion at BEST - is like a lift in your shoe. If you need it for a while, and it makes you walk straight and feel better - fine. But you don't need it forever, or you can become permanently disabled.

---George Carlin---


Or you could just tell them you're religious.

...Although that would probably result in laughter and sympathy more than irritation. Smiling

What's sad is, almost every

What's sad is, almost every christian I've spoken to has used these as sincere arguements...


One step closer to the NWO guys, you're only helping them.



Subject: Alt.Atheism FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Newsgroups: alt.atheism , alt.atheism.moderated , news.answers , alt.answers


Archive-name: atheism/faq
Alt-atheism-archive-name: faq
Last-modified: 3 June 1994
Version: 2.0



This document contains responses to points which have been brought up
repeatedly in the Usenet newsgroup alt.atheism. Points covered here
are ones which are not covered in the "Introduction to Atheism"
document; you are advised to read that article as well before posting
to the newsgroup.

These answers are not intended to be exhaustive or definitive. The
purpose of FAQ documents is not to stifle debate, but to raise its
level. If you have something to say concerning one of these questions
and which isn't covered by the answer given, please feel free to make
your point in the newsgroup.

Overview of contents:

* What is the purpose of the alt.atheism newsgroup?
* Adolf Hitler was an atheist!
* The Bible proves it
* Pascal's Wager (Why God is a safe bet)
* Lord, Liar or Lunatic?
* What is Occam's Razor?
* Why it's good to believe in Jesus
* Why I know that God exists
* Einstein and "God does not play dice"
* Everyone worships something
* Why there must be a causeless cause
* The universe is so complex it must have been designed
* Independent evidence that the Bible is true
* Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem
* George Bush on atheism and patriotism
* I know where hell is!
* Biblical contradictions wanted
* The USA is a Christian nation/state
* The USA is not a Christian nation/state
* How come nobody has answered this point?
* The Bible says 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'...
* What does "xian" mean?
* The Bible says pi is 3!



What is the purpose of the alt.atheism newsgroup?

"Why have a newsgroup about atheism? Why do atheists organize in
groups? What is there to discuss?"

Many things are discussed in alt.atheism, including:
* Whether it is reasonable to pretend to be religious in order to
avoid upsetting one's family
* Prayer in schools
* Discrimination against atheists
* Sunday trading laws
* The Satanic Child Abuse myth
* Whether one should be an overt atheist or 'stay in the closet'
* How religious societies prey (sic) on new college students
* How to get rid of unwanted proselytizers
* Whether religion is a danger to society and/or the individual
* Why people become atheists

Of course, inevitably alt.atheism tends to attract evangelical
Christians looking for someone to convert. Most readers of the
newsgroup don't want to be preached to, although a few seem to derive
perverse pleasure from tearing apart particularly ill-considered or
uninformed postings.


Adolf Hitler was an atheist!

"Hitler was an atheist, and look at what he did!"

Adolf Hitler was emphatically not an atheist. As he said himself:

The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in
his own denomination, of making people stop just talking
superficially of God's will, and actually fulfill God's will, and
not let God's word be desecrated. [original italics]

For God's will gave men their form, their essence, and their
abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the
Lord's creation, the divine will. Therefore, let every man be
active, each in his own denomination if you please, and let every
man take it as his first and most sacred duty to oppose anyone who
in his activity by word or deed steps outside the confines of his
religious community and tries to butt into the other.


Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will
of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am
fighting for the work of the Lord. [original italics]

-- Adolf Hitler, from "Mein Kampf", translation by Ralph Mannheim.

Hitler certainly believed that he was a Christian:

The Führer made it known to those entrusted with the Final Solution
that the killings should be done as humanely as possible. This was
in line with his conviction that he was observing God's injunction
to cleanse the world of vermin. Still a member in good standing of
the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy ("I am now
as before a Catholic and will always remain so" [quoting Hitler]),
he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of
God. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of
conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of God --
so long as it was done impersonally, without cruelty.

-- John Toland (Pulitzer Prize winner), from "Adolf Hitler", pp 507,
talking about the Autumn of 1941.

The "I am now as before a Catholic..." quotation from Hitler was
recorded in the diary of Gerhard Engel, an SS Adjutant, in October
1941. Hitler was speaking in private, not before a mass audience, and
so it is difficult to dismiss the comment as propaganda lies.

Of course, someone bad believing something does not make that belief
wrong. It's also entirely possible that Hitler was lying when he
claimed to believe in God. We certainly can't conclude that he's an
atheist, though.


The Bible proves it

"In the Bible it says that..."

Most atheists feel that the Bible is of questionable accuracy, as it
was written thousands of years ago by many authors who were recording
oral tradition that existed many years before. Thus, any claimed
'truth' in it is of questionable legitimacy. This isn't to say that
The Bible has no truth in it; simply that any truth must be examined
before being accepted.

Many atheists also feel that because any passage is subject to
"interpretation", any claim that a passage 'means' one thing and one
thing only is not legitimate.

Note that this feeling tends to extend to other books.

It is also remarkable to many atheists that theists tend to ignore
other equally plausible religious books in favour of those of their
own religion.


Pascal's Wager (God is a safe bet)

"If you believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you have lost
nothing -- but if you don't believe in God and turn out to be
incorrect, you will go to hell. Therefore it is foolish to be an

This argument is known as Pascal's Wager. It has several flaws.

Firstly, it does not indicate which religion to follow. Indeed, there
are many mutually exclusive and contradictory religions out there.
This is often described as the "avoiding the wrong hell" problem. If a
person is a follower of one religion, he may end up in another
religion's version of hell.

Secondly, the statement that "If you believe in God and turn out to be
incorrect, you have lost nothing" is not true. Suppose you're
believing in the wrong God -- the true God might punish you for your
foolishness. Consider also the deaths that have resulted from people
rejecting medicine in favour of prayer.

Another flaw in the argument is that it is based on the assumption
that the two possibilities are equally likely -- or at least, that
they are of comparable likelihood. If, in fact, the possibility of
there being a God is close to zero, the argument becomes much less
persuasive. So sadly the argument is only likely to convince those who
believe already.

Also, many feel that for intellectually honest people, belief is based
on evidence, with some amount of intuition. It is not a matter of will
or cost-benefit analysis.

Formally speaking, the argument consists of four statements:
1. One does not know whether God exists.
2. Not believing in God is bad for one's eternal soul if God does
3. Believing in God is of no consequence if God does not exist.
4. Therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God.

There are two approaches to the argument. The first is to view
Statement 1 as an assumption, and Statement 2 as a consequence of it.
One problem with this approach, in the abstract, is that it creates
information from no information. This is considered invalid in
information theory. Statement 1 indicates one has no information about
God -- but Statement 2 indicates that beneficial information can be
gained from the absolute lack of information about God. This violates
information entropy -- information has been extracted from no
information, at no "cost".

The alternative approach is to claim that Statements 1 and 2 are both
assumptions. The problem with this is that Statement 2 is then
basically an assumption which states the Christian position, and only
a Christian will agree with that assumption. The argument thus
collapses to "If you are a Christian, it is in your interests to
believe in God" -- a rather vacuous tautology, and not the way Pascal
intended the argument to be viewed.

The biggest reason why Pascal's wager is a failure is that if God is
omniscient he will certainly know who really believes and who believes
as a wager. He will spurn the latter... assuming he actually cares at
all whether people believe in him.


Lord, Liar or Lunatic?

"Did Jesus exist? If not, then there's not much to talk about. If he
did, he called himself Lord. This means that either:
* He was Lord,
* He was a liar, or
* He was a lunatic.

It's unlikely he was a liar, given his morals as described in the
Bible, and his behaviour doesn't sound like that of a lunatic. So
surely we must conclude that he was Lord?"

Firstly, note that this argument hinges on the assumption that Jesus
did in fact exist. This is at least debatable.

Secondly, the argument attempts a logical fallacy which we might call
"trifurcation", by analogy with "bifurcation" (see the Constructing a
Logical Argument FAQ). That is, the argument attempts to restrict us
to three possibilities, when in fact there are many more.

Two of the more likely alternatives are:
1. He was misquoted in the Bible, and did not claim to be Lord.
2. The stories about him were made up, or embroidered with fictitious
material by the early Christians.

Note that in the New Testament, Jesus does not say that he is God. The
claim was first made after the death of Jesus and his twelve

Finally, note that the possibility that he was a "lunatic" is not
easily discountable. Even today in the western world there are
numerous people who have managed to convince hundreds or thousands of
followers that they are the Lord or his One True Prophet. People like
L. Ron Hubbard, Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones and David Koresh continue to
peddle their divinity. In more superstitious countries, there are
literally hundreds of present-day messiahs.


What is Occam's Razor?

"People keep talking about Occam's Razor. What is it?"

William of Occam formulated a principle which has become known as
Occam's Razor. In its original form, it said "Do not multiply entities
unnecessarily." That is, if you can explain something without
supposing the existence of some entity, then do so.

Nowadays when people refer to Occam's Razor, they often express it
more generally, for example as "Take the simplest solution".

The relevance to atheism is that we can look at two possible
explanations for what we see around us:
* There is an incredibly intricate and complex universe out there,
which came into being as a result of natural processes.
* There is an incredibly intricate and complex universe out there,
and there is also a God who created the universe. Clearly this God
must be of non-zero complexity.

Given that both explanations fit the facts, Occam's Razor might
suggest that we should take the simpler of the two -- solution number
one. Unfortunately, some argue that there is a third even more simple
* There isn't an incredibly intricate and complex universe out
there. We just imagine that there is.

This third option leads us logically towards solipsism, which many
people find unacceptable.


Why it's good to believe in Jesus

"I want to tell people about the virtues and benefits of my

Preaching is not appreciated.

Feel free to talk about your religion, but please do not write
postings that are on a "conversion" theme. Such postings do not belong
on alt.atheism and will be rejected from alt.atheism.moderated (try
the newsgroup talk.religion.misc).

You would doubtless not welcome postings from atheists to your
favourite newsgroup in an attempt to convert you; please do unto
others as you would have them do unto you!

Often theists make their basic claims about God in the form of lengthy
analogies or parables. Be aware that atheists have heard of God and
know the basic claims about him; if the sole purpose of your parable
is to tell atheists that God exists and brings salvation, you may as
well not post it, since it tells us nothing we have not been told


Why I know that God exists

"I know from personal experience and prayer that God exists."

Just as many theists have personal evidence that the being they
worship exists, so many atheists have personal evidence that such
beings do not exist. That evidence varies from person to person.

Furthermore, without wishing to dismiss your evidence out of hand,
many people have claimed all kinds of unlikely things -- that they
have been abducted by UFOs, visited by the ghost of Elvis, and so on.



Einstein and "God does not play dice"

"Albert Einstein believed in God. Do you think you're cleverer than

Einstein did once comment that "God does not play dice [with the
universe]". This quotation is commonly mentioned to show that Einstein
believed in the Christian God. Used this way, it is out of context; it
refers to Einstein's refusal to accept the uncertainties indicated by
quantum theory. Furthermore, Einstein's religious background was
Jewish rather than Christian.

A better quotation showing what Einstein thought about God is the
following: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the
orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with
fates and actions of human beings."

Einstein was unable to accept Quantum Theory because of his belief in
an objective, orderly reality; a reality which would not be subject to
random events and which would not be dependent upon the observer. He
believed that QM was incomplete, and that a better theory would have
no need for statistical interpretations. So far no such better theory
has been found, and much evidence suggests that it never will be.

A longer quote from Einstein appears in "Science, Philosophy, and
Religion, A Symposium", published by the Conference on Science,
Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of
Life, Inc., New York, 1941. In it he says:

The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events
the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the
side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature.
For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exists
as an independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine
of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be
refuted [italics his], in the real sense, by science, for this
doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific
knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.

But I am convinced that such behavior on the part of representatives
of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a
doctrine which is to maintain itself not in clear light but only in
the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with
incalculable harm to human progress. In their struggle for the
ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up
the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear
and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of
priests. In their labors they will have to avail themselves of those
forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the
Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure, a more difficult
but an incomparably more worthy task...

Einstein has also said:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious
convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not
believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have
expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called
religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of
the world so far as our science can reveal it.

The latter quote is from "Albert Einstein: The Human Side", edited by
Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, and published by Princeton University
Press. Also from the same book:

I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider
ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman
authority behind it.

Of course, the fact that Einstein chose not to believe in Christianity
does not in itself imply that Christianity is false.


Everyone worships something

"Everyone worships something, whether it's money, power or God."

If that is true, everyone is a polytheist. Theists care just as much
about those things that atheists care about. If the atheists'
reactions to (for example) their families amount to worship then so do
the theists'.


Why there must be a causeless cause

"Sets of integers that have a lower bound each have a smallest
member, so chains of causes must all have a first element, a
causeless cause."

The set of real numbers greater than zero has a definite lower bound,
but has no smallest member.

Further, even if it is true that there must be a causeless cause, that
does not imply that that cause must be a conscious supernatural
entity, and especially not that any such entity must match the
description favoured by any particular religion.


The universe is so complex it must have been designed

"The presence of design in the universe proves there is a God. Surely
you don't think all this appeared here just by chance?"

This is known as the Argument From Design.

It is a matter of dispute whether there is any element of design in
the universe. Those who believe that the complexity and diversity of
living creatures on the earth is evidence of a creator are best
advised to read the newsgroup for a while.

There is insufficient space to summarize both sides of that debate
here. However, the conclusion is that there is no scientific evidence
in favour of so-called Scientific Creationism. Furthermore, there is
much evidence, observation and theory that can explain many of the
complexities of the universe and life on earth.

The origin of the Argument by Design is a feeling that the existence
of something as incredibly intricate as, say, a human is so improbable
that surely it can't have come about by chance; that surely there must
be some external intelligence directing things so that humans come
from the chaos deliberately.

But if human intelligence is so improbable, surely the existence of a
mind capable of fashioning an entire universe complete with conscious
beings must be immeasurably more unlikely? The approach used to argue
in favour of the existence of a creator can be turned around and
applied to the Creationist position.

This leads us to the familiar theme of "If a creator created the
universe, what created the creator?", but with the addition of
spiralling improbability. The only way out is to declare that the
creator was not created and just "is" (or "was&quotEye-wink.

From here we might as well ask what is wrong with saying that the
universe just "is" without introducing a creator? Indeed Stephen
Hawking, in his book "A Brief History of Time", explains his theory
that the universe is closed and finite in extent, with no beginning or

The Argument From Design is often stated by analogy, in the so-called
Watchmaker Argument. One is asked to imagine that one has found a
watch on the beach. Does one assume that it was created by a
watchmaker, or that it evolved naturally? Of course one assumes a
watchmaker. Yet like the watch, the universe is intricate and complex;
so, the argument goes, the universe too must have a creator.

The Watchmaker analogy suffers from three particular flaws, over and
above those common to all Arguments By Design. Firstly, a watchmaker
creates watches from pre-existing materials, whereas God is claimed to
have created the universe from nothing. These two sorts of creation
are clearly fundamentally different, and the analogy is therefore
rather weak.

Secondly, a watchmaker makes watches, but there are many other things
in the world. If we walked further along the beach and found a nuclear
reactor, we wouldn't assume it was created by the watchmaker. The
argument would therefore suggest a multitude of creators, each
responsible for a different part of creation (or a different universe,
if you allow the possibility that there might be more than one).

Finally, in the first part of the watchmaker argument we conclude that
the watch is not part of nature because it is ordered, and therefore
stands out from the randomness of nature. Yet in the second part of
the argument, we start from the position that the universe is
obviously not random, but shows elements of order. The Watchmaker
argument is thus internally inconsistent.


Independent evidence that the Bible is true

"The events of the New Testament are confirmed by independent
documentary evidence. For example..."

The writings of Josephus are often mentioned as independent
documentary evidence.

Early versions of Josephus's work are thought not to have mentioned
Jesus or James; the extant version discusses John in a non-Christian
context. Many scholars believe that the original mentioned Jesus and
James in passing, but that this was expanded by Christian copyists.
Several "reconstructions" of the original text have been published to
this effect.

Much information appears in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius
(about 320 C.E.). It is worthless as historical material because of
the deliberate falsification of the wily Eusebius who is generally
acknowledged as 'the first thoroughly dishonest historian of
antiquity.' It is Eusebius who is generally given the title of
authorship for this material.

Aside from the New Testament, the biographical information about Jesus
is more well-documented. For further information, please consult the
Frequently Asked Questions file for the newsgroup


Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem

Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem demonstrates that it is impossible for
the Bible to be both true and complete.

Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem says that in any consistent
formal system which is sufficiently expressive that it can model
ordinary arithmetic, one can formulate expressions which can never be
proven to be valid or invalid ('true' or 'false') within that formal
system. (Technically speaking, the system must also be recursive; that
is, there must be a decision procedure for determining whether a given
string is an axiom within the formal system.)

Essentially, all such systems can formulate what is known as a "Liar
Paradox." The classic Liar Paradox sentence in ordinary English is
"This sentence is false." Note that if a proposition is undecidable,
the formal system cannot even deduce that it is undecidable.

The logic used in theological discussions is rarely well defined, so
claims that Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem demonstrates that it is
impossible to prove (or disprove) the existence of God are worthless
in isolation.

One can trivially define a formal system in which it is possible to
prove the existence of God, simply by having the existence of God
stated as an axiom. (This is unlikely to be viewed by atheists as a
convincing proof, however.)

It may be possible to succeed in producing a formal system built on
axioms that both atheists and theists agree with. It may then be
possible to show that Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem holds for that
system. However, that would still not demonstrate that it is
impossible to prove that God exists within the system. Furthermore, it
certainly wouldn't tell us anything about whether it is possible to
prove the existence of God generally.

Note also that all of these hypothetical formal systems tell us
nothing about the actual existence of God; the formal systems are just

Another frequent claim is that Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem
demonstrates that a religious text (the Bible, the Book of Mormon or
whatever) cannot be both consistent and universally applicable.
Religious texts are not formal systems, so such claims are nonsense.


George Bush on atheism and patriotism

"Did George Bush really say that atheists should not be considered

The following exchange took place at the Chicago airport between
Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press and George Bush, on August
27 1988. Sherman is a fully accredited reporter, and was present by
invitation as a member of the press corps. The Republican presidential
nominee was there to announce federal disaster relief for Illinois.
The discussion turned to the presidential primary:

RS: "What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are

GB: "I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God
is important to me."

RS: "Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of
Americans who are atheists?"

GB: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as
citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one
nation under God."

RS: "Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the
separation of state and church?"

GB: "Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just
not very high on atheists."

UPI reported on May 8, 1989, that various atheist organizations were
still angry over the remarks.

The exchange appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on Monday February
27, 1989. It can also be found in "Free Inquiry" magazine, Fall 1988
issue, Volume 8, Number 4, page 16.

On October 29, 1988, Mr. Sherman had a confrontation with Ed Murnane,
co-chairman of the Bush-Quayle '88 Illinois campaign. This concerned a
lawsuit Mr. Sherman had filed to stop the Community Consolidated
School District 21 (Chicago, Illinois) from forcing his first-grade
atheist son to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States as
"one nation under God" (Bush's phrase). The following conversation
took place:

RS: "American Atheists filed the Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit
yesterday. Does the Bush campaign have an official response to
this filing?"

EM: "It's bullshit."

RS: "What is bullshit?"

EM: "Everything that American Atheists does, Rob, is bullshit."

RS: "Thank you for telling me what the official position of the
Bush campaign is on this issue."

EM: "You're welcome."

After Bush's election, American Atheists wrote to Bush asking him to
retract his statement. On February 21st 1989, C. Boyden Gray, Counsel
to the President, replied on White House stationery that Bush
substantively stood by his original statement, and wrote:

As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither
supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily
encouraged or supported by the government."

For further information, contact American Atheist Veterans at the
American Atheist Press's Cameron Road address.


I know where hell is!

"I know where Hell is! Hell is in Norway!"

There are several towns called "Hell" in various countries around the
world, including Norway and the USA. Whilst this information is mildly
amusing the first time one hears it, readers of alt.atheism are now
getting pretty fed up with hearing it every week.


Biblical contradictions wanted

"Does anyone have a list of Biblical contradictions?"

American Atheist Press publish an atheist's handbook detailing
Biblical contradictions. See the accompanying posting on Atheist
Resources for lists of other such books.

There are also files containing some Biblical contradictions available


The USA is a Christian nation/state

"Because of the religious beliefs of the founding fathers, shouldn't
the United States be considered a Christian nation?"

Based upon the writings of several important founding fathers, it is
clear that they never intended the US to be a Christian nation. Here
are some quotes; there are many more.

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on
society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual
tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they
have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no
instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the
people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found
an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government,
instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." -- James
Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785.

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal
example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has
preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of
grief has produced!" -- John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people
maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of
ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders
will always avail themselves for their own purpose. " -- Thomas
Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt, 1813.

"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father,
expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is
even infinitely above it." -- Benjamin Franklin, from "Articles of
Belief and Acts of Religion", Nov. 20, 1728.



The USA is not a Christian nation/state

"Is it true that George Washington said that the United States is not
in any sense founded upon the Christian religion?"

No. The quotation often given is in fact from Article XI of the 1797
Treaty of Tripoli (8 Stat 154, Treaty Series 358):

Article 11

As the government of the United States of America is not in any
sense founded on the Christian Religion, -- as it has in itself no
character or enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of
Musselmen, -- and as the said States never have entered into any war
or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by
the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall
ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two

The text may be found in the Congressional Record or in treaty
collections such as Charles Bevans' "Treaties and Other International
Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949", vol. 11 (pp.

The English text of the Treaty of Tripoli was approved by the U.S.
Senate on June 7, 1797 and ratified by President John Adams on June
10, 1797. It was recently discovered that the Arabic version of the
treaty not only lacks the quotation, it lacks Article XI altogether.

The person who translated the Arabic to English was Joel Barlow,
Consul General at Algiers, a close friend of Thomas Paine -- and an
opponent of Christianity. It is possible that Barlow made up Article
XI, but since there is no Arabic version of that article to be found,
it's hard to say.

In 1806 a new Treaty of Tripoli was ratified which no longer contained
the quotation.


How come nobody has answered this point?

"Since nobody has been able to refute this point, it must be true."

Ignoring the obvious logical flaw in such statements, it could be that
nobody saw whatever comments were made.

Because of the high volume of alt.atheism, it's a safe bet that many
readers have "kill files", sets of instructions for their newsreader
programs to perform automatically when they enter the newsgroup. Kill
files can be used to perform all kinds of useful tasks, such as
picking up replies to your own articles, picking out subjects you're
interested in, or skipping articles about things you find boring.

Sometimes someone will manage to annoy the readership of alt.atheism
enough that many people will program their newsreaders to discard all
his postings. It's even possible to get some newsreaders to skip over
all articles which even mention a particular person.

For this reason, never assume that silence in response to a Usenet
argument means that it cannot be refuted. More likely, it means nobody
is even reading it. Very few arguments presented on alt.atheism pass
without comment.

Please do not re-post entire articles with a note saying "Please
refute this, somebody". If everyone skipped the article, the chances
are they did so because they didn't want to see it. Watch the
newsgroup for a while, and you'll get a pretty good idea of who's in
lots of kill files.

If you want to know how to set up a kill file, consult the manual page
for your newsreader. If you use rn, trn or strn, you can look at the
"rn kill file FAQ", posted to news.answers regularly.


The Bible says 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'...

"The Bible says "Thou shalt not kill", yet many Christians serve in
the military. What hypocrites!"

The commandment is more properly translated as "Thou shalt not
murder". Most modern translations of the Bible express it that way.


What does 'xian' mean?

"What does the abbreviation 'xian' mean? Is it an insult?"

"Xian" is short for "Christian", in the same way that "Xmas" is short
for "Christmas". The letter X represents the initial letter chi of the
Greek 'kristos', meaning "Christ". It's not an insult.

Another variant often seen is "Xtian".


The Bible says pi is 3!

In I Kings 7:23, the Bible says:

And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other:
it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line
of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

If you make a molten sea with a circumference of thirty cubits, you'll
find that the diameter is 30/pi or 9.55 cubits. Or ten cubits, to
round to the nearest integer.

In short, the Bible does not say that pi is three, unless you are
going to assume that the numbers given are accurate to more than two
significant figures, which is unjustifiable given the wording.




approach you with a child a try real hard to "help you save yourself from your sins2 the list

Vastet's picture

What a list. I'd be worried

What a list. I'd be worried about theists commandeering it and utilizing it were it not for the fact they already have been for millenia.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.