I had a run in with a Jehovah’s witnesses that bore a striking likeness to John Lithglow a couple of days ago, which inspired me to write this post. I’m an atheist that loves talking about philosophy and theology, and I quite like hearing people’s theories about things even though I don’t necessarily agree with them. That being said, there are some reoccurring arguments that seem to come up when someone tries to convince you that their religion is the way to go, and I can’t imagine they’re efficient. I decided to put together a little post about what kind of arguments are pretty much pointless when talking to an atheist.
1) Argument: “The theory of evolution is cold and meaningless. Believing that god created the earth means that you believe someone is looking after you and that there is a purpose in life”.
Why it’s pointless: Few people would recommend believing in whatever reality makes you happy despite the evidence for or against it. I would be happier believing there was a purpose in life, that any thoughts, feelings and memories I ever had didn’t just disappear when I died, that my dog is smiling down from dog heaven or that my letter from Hogwarts will show up any day now (and it just got lost for 12 years). Most people don’t believe in evolution because it makes them happy, they believe in it because they are convinced of the evidence supporting it. Telling them what they want to believe is like telling them they would like pancakes but there’s no ingredients to make it.
2) Argument: “The science behind evolution is flawed and misleading, but the science supporting the existence of god is perfect”.
Why it’s pointless: Some people are going to disagree, but to cut to the chase: Unless you’re being really objective about this it’s just embarrassing to try to support your claim with science. You can’t trash evolution, one of the most accepted scientific theories of our time, and then in the next breath highlight a small selection of research supporting the existence of god and expect people to find it credible. Five minutes on Google and whoever you tried to convince will side eye you for presenting misleading information. Personally, I don’t believe people should look for god in science at all, but if you’re going down that route it’s something to keep in mind.
3) Argument: “It says so in the holy book, so it must be true”
Why it’s pointless: It’s pretty self-explanatory, really. A religious text is only holy to the people who already believe in it; to everyone else it’s just a text like every other. If you want to use these kind of argument for decisions in your own life, that makes more sense, but when trying to convert others into your religion or make a case why something is immoral it’s really quite pointless. Best stay clear of that kind of argument all together.