How to Defeat Modern Day Atheism With Three Easy Questions.

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This is a valuable post penned by the author of the blog, Shadow To Light, and one that is definitely worth the share within the sphere of the atheism-theism debate. It particularly focuses on the question of evidence for God’s existence, and, through three simple questions, looks to determine whether or not the evidence demanded by the atheist is reasonable, or if the atheist is himself being reasonable when he engages the theist. Admittedly, I believe the headline is somewhat disingenuous given that the questions within the article to do not argue against atheism as opposed to the methodology employed by some atheists within discussions. Note that the views expressed by the author are not all necessarily shared by me. According to Shadow To Light,

Steve Greene wrote a web article entitled ‘How to validate atheism in one easy step’ and gives us the most common defense of atheism that is out there:

“So this is how you validate atheism in one easy step: Ask the god-believer to produce actual, credible, real world evidence of this god. He will never do it. He will always engage in word games employed to try to conjure up his god – while never even attempting to produce actual, relevant, empirical evidence of any god. He will talk about everything else under the sun, engage in rhetorical trickery, misdirection (red herring), misrepresentation (i.e., straw man criticism of atheism), all based on denying obvious facts about reality (like the problematic nature of “eyewitness testimony,” and the subjective nature of subjective beliefs about imaginary things making you feel good), while never getting around to producing any actual evidence of any god – oh, and then, a lot of times you even get the religious apologist who specifically employs some sort of “Divine Hiddenness” argument to try to pretend that his god arranged things deliberately that we would not have any actual evidence of its existence because religious faith (i.e., believing in the god based on faith, not evidence) is a virtue, believing without evidence is a virtue, and doubt (i.e., critical thinking and being skeptical about bogus claims that don’t have good evidence to back them up) is the influence of Satan or some other evil spirit.”

Once again, we see how atheism is built on the Demand For Evidence. But we also know that such a demand is more of a rhetorical trick than a sincere expression of intellectual curiosity.

First of all, Greene is working with a shallow, superficial understanding of evidence. He seems to think that if certain data were indeed evidence for X, then these data would be universally perceived and acknowledged as evidence for X. But that is not how evidence works. Evidence is not objective reality that is detected by the senses; evidence is perceived by the mind. The mind converts data from objective reality into the subjective perception of evidence. Because the perception of evidence depends on interpretation from the mind, evidence itself is something that has a distinct subjective element to it. In fact, it would not be too far from the truth to note that evidence is in the eye of the beholder. So the fact that Greene is not convinced by “evidence” from religious people (appeals to eyewitness testimony, appeals to personal experience, and variants of the fine-tuning argument) means only that Greene finds such evidence to be unconvincing. But since the world does not revolve around Greene, the failure to convince him does not mean the evidence does not exist

What Greene is doing to “validate” atheism is simply trying to posture and set the stage so he can act as Judge and Jury. The religious person is supposed to come before him and “plead their case” with their “evidence.” Greene will then decide the outcome of that case. Amazingly, many Christians fall for this tactic and play right into the hands of people like Greene.

When someone like Greene comes to you demanding “actual, credible, real world evidence of this god,” there are three simple questions you can ask to expose the sham nature of the inquiry and thus defeat the backdoor attempt to “validate atheism.”

Question 1: What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?” If the atheist refuses to answer, he/she will be exposed as Hiding the Goalpost, demonstrating the inherent intellectual dishonesty in such a demand. If the atheist finally answers, there is a very, very high likelihood he/she will cite some dramatic, miraculous, sensational demonstration of God’s power. And that leads to the second question.

Question 2: Why would that dramatic, miraculous, sensational event count as evidence for God? At this point, the atheist will likely try to change the topic. But persist with the question. What you will find is that the reason why the atheist would count such an event as evidence for God is because it could not possibly be explained by natural causes and science. In other words, because it was a Gap. Modern day atheism is built on God of the Gaps logic.

At this point, you can ask the third question.

Question 3: Is the God of the Gaps reasoning a valid way of determining the existence of God? If the atheist has not bailed on you yet, he/she will likely run now. For if he/she answers NO, then it will become clear that nothing can count as evidence for the existence of God. Why? Because if the only “evidence” the atheist “Judge/Jury” will allow in his/her kangaroo court is a Gap (something that cannot be explained by science/natural law), and God-of-the-Gaps reasoning is also not allowed by the atheist, then it is clear the atheist demand for evidence is a sneaky, dishonest game of “heads I win, tails you lose.”

Of course, if the atheist answers YES to question 3, then the theist is free to raise Gaps as evidence for God (origin of Life, origin of the Consciousness, etc.). This is why the atheist will run or change the topic – his/her demand for evidence puts the atheist in the position of having to a) acknowledge the deceitful nature of their demand or b) acknowledge there is evidence because of certain existing gaps.

Finally, there is a Bonus question that can be used to supplement or replace the above approach. Since the atheist wants to judge and proclaim whether or not I have evidence for God’s existence, I need evidence this “judge” is open and fair-minded. What rational person would willingly put himself in a position of being judged by a hostile, biased, prejudiced judge? So you can ask the following question.

Bonus question: I’ll provide evidence for God’s existence, but can you first provide evidence that you are capable of considering my evidence in an open- and fair-minded manner?

Given that so many New Atheists are pompous, closed-minded verbal bullies, expect such a question to be ignored. And then you can simply point out that the atheist is simply not qualified to pass meaningful judgment on your beliefs. For prejudgment is not meaningful judgment.

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28 responses to “How to Defeat Modern Day Atheism With Three Easy Questions.

  1. # The ‘evidence’ issue: Atheists refuse to consider the possibility of a supernatural cause for Anything.
    There is a famous quote by atheist Richard Lewontin demonstrating the common atheist closed-mindedness.

    http://creation.com/amazing-admission-lewontin-quote

    No matter how loudly the evidence screems “DESIGN”, it is dismissed with “Someday we will find that elusive naturalistic explanation for this problem.”

  2. Denying Jesus or YHWH or Allah is not the same as denying god. The universe is completely coherent and not a single one of these three faiths is free from significant incoherent absurdities!

  3. Actually, you’re wrong on all accounts.

    If there is actual evidence of a god or goddess or supernatural entity, the overwhelming majority of Atheists would not deny said thing exists.

    By evidence, it is meant that if this so-called god is all powerful, all knowing, that it should be willing and consider according to the commandments he is a VERY jealous god, you think he would be able as this all-powerful being to present himself to all life on the planet simultaneously.

    If said god cannot do this task, then he, she, it, is not all-powerful, or all-knowing.

    Being a supposedly all-powerful, all-knowing entity, it should know that the people would want confirmation of its existence.

    Atheists get upset by those who wish to have a non-constructive argument using circular logic. Which is the use of “How do you know your god exists? -“The Bible tells me so.” “How do you know your Bible is right?” -“God tells me so.”

    It’s this circular logic that brings out the “pompous, close-minded” Atheists that you so clearly hate.

    Atheists are the most open-minded individuals on this planet.
    We accept anyone into our community with open arms and don’t ask a person to sign their life away to some unknown entity without any proof.

    We don’t judge a person based on their sexual preferences, we don’t judge people based on their appearance, we don’t judge people for their lack of knowledge. We also don’t judge people based on their identity or their gender.

    You cannot say that about your religious organizations that shun those who don’t believe exactly as you believe. You shun those who are homosexual, bisexual or somewhere in between.

    Most Atheists are willing to converse about your religious beliefs as long as you bring a constructive and logical argument to the table.

    Many religions claim there is evidence of their god, yet refuse to show it or produce it. Many Atheists are very curious about everything from the grass to the trees and astronomical prospects, and therefore if there is truly evidence of a “higher power”, we gladly want to see it.

  4. Your accusations against atheists are over-blown. Let’s do this: Let’s agree to use the same standard of evidence for all extra-ordinary claims, supernatural or not. Sound good? Now, let’s look at the evidence for the Resurrection:

    The Christian argument for the bodily resurrection of Jesus would be a little stronger if the majority of NT scholars believed that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, but they do not. Only a small minority of mostly evangelical Christian NT scholars (with an agenda—biblical inerrancy—) hold this view.

    But even if the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, or even if we could be certain that the four resurrection stories in the Gospels were originally told by eyewitnesses, who today would believe the eyewitness testimony of a bunch of mostly uneducated, rural peasants claiming that they had just eaten a broiled-fish lunch with their recently executed former fishing buddy???

    It is a silly story, folks. Modern, educated people should not believe that it was a literal historical event.

    Eyewitness testimony may be sufficient evidence for car accidents and murder trials, but it is not sufficient evidence to believe claims of sea monsters in Scottish lochs, alien abductions, or zombie sightings. If twelve guys told you that they had all eaten lunch with Big Foot on a recent hunting trip would you believe them? No. So why believe a second-hand report that eleven fishermen (and one tax collector), two thousand years ago, ate a broiled fish lunch with a walking/talking dead guy (zombie)?

    https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/eyewitness-testimony-is-sufficient-for-car-accidents-and-murder-trials-it-is-not-sufficient-for-alien-abductions-or-zombie-sightings/

  5. I’m an Atheist and if “God” appeared in front of me, fed ALL of the starving children in the world, ended war or truly punished evil people where EVERYONE could see I’d believe that there is, in fact, a “God”. Simple, really.
    Playing word and logic games will NEVER convince a true Atheist that there is a “God” or that, specifically, your “God” is the correct one to believe in.
    I go out of my way to respect EVERYONE’S beliefs. The fact that 99% of religious people can’t respect Atheism is really sad.

  6. Excellent thanks for this. Atheists like to set themselves up as judge and jury. I think this method you have outlined exposes the soft underbelly of their presuppositions and exposes the fraudulent nature of their supposed objective rationality. I will be using these questions on the future in discussions with them

  7. Pingback: Vridar » Four Atheist Responses to a Theist’s “Three Easy Questions”·

  8. Question 1: What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?”

    Answer 1: First we need to ask the Christian to be more specific. Is he (or she) asking what evidence we would count as actual, credible, and real world for the existence of a CREATOR God, or, is he asking us for actual, credible, real world evidence for HIS god, Yahweh/Lord Jesus?

    For the first question regarding the existence of a Creator, I suggest that we defer to the expertise of cosmologists, physicists, and other scientists who are currently studying the origin of the universe. And what is the conclusion of these experts? Answer: There is insufficient data to make a consensus opinion at this time. In other words, the evidence available could indicate the existence of an Intelligent Creator, but it might not. The experts can’t say for sure at this time. I suggest that we non-experts adopt the same attitude. Let’s not rule out the possibility of a Creator, but let’s not assume his/her/or its existence either. Let’s wait for more evidence.

    Now, what about the second question, the existence of Yahweh/Lord Jesus?

    Christians claim that Yahweh/Lord Jesus is a real being, however, they also claim that, currently at least, he is not visible to the human eye. He is INVISIBLE. Now, who do we turn to for expert opinion on invisible entities. Answer: Scientists! Scientists will tell us that many entities exist which are not visible to the human eye. They can give us evidence for their belief in such entities.

    Have scientists discovered any evidence for the existence of invisible BEINGS? Answer: No.

    When scientists detect evidence for the presence of invisible beings, then we non-theists will take seriously the possible existence of Yahweh/Lord Jesus. Until then, we will reject any attempt based on subjective feelings, perceptions, and the reliability of ancient religious texts to convince us of Yahweh/Lord Jesus’ existence.

    So you see, we skeptics are being very consistent in our world view. We believe in invisible protons, quarks, and oxygen molecules because scientific experts have discovered these entities using the Scientific Method, the most reliable method to date for evaluating universal truth claims. Scientists have NOT discovered any such evidence for the existence of invisible fairies, goblins, devils, or gods. When they do, please let us know! We will be all ears.

  9. Pingback: Is it True that Atheists and other Skeptics Refuse to Accept Any Evidence for the Existence of God? – Escaping Christian Fundamentalism·

  10. Once again, we see how atheism is built on the Demand For Evidence. But we also know that such a demand is more of a rhetorical trick than a sincere expression of intellectual curiosity.

    Um, no. The burden of proof always rests with the person making the positive claim. The theist is making the positive claim.

  11. You are exactly right, John. Even Christians use this standard with all other very extra-ordinary claims EXCEPT those of their “faith”.

    Imagine if a group of people who had just recently formed a new religious sect begin claiming that individuals and groups of their sect are being abducted by three foot tall, green Martians and taken to the Red planet for mind probing. Would Christians believe this very extra-ordinary claim simply because of the alleged eye-witness testimony of these people? No. Would they believe the alien-abduction claims of this religious sect if the members of this sect are willing to be tortured and killed for their alien-abduction belief? No.

    As John said, in our culture, the burden of proof is always on the person making the positive claim, not on the person who doubts the claim. Christians are making the extra-ordinary claim that a first century corpse came back to life. Therefore the onus is on THEM to prove this claim, not on us skeptics who doubt it.

  12. Wow, how incredibly judgemental! I can’t remember who said ‘judge not that you be not judged’ but I guess it can’t have been anyone important.
    As for evidence of God that would convince an atheist such as myself:
    How about he shows himself? We know President Trump exists because, unfortunately, we can experience him, see him, hear him. Similarly Tokyo, spaghetti and microbes – so why not God? Why is a different order of evidence needed to demonstrate God than for anything else? Shouldn’t an omnipotent being be… well, just a bit more obvious?
    Or how about he acts, not through an intermediary, but in person. Let us experience his presence and love directly, first-hand, not merely through other fallible human beings who claim to know it. Let him do anything – anything at all – that is independent of and separate from human agency.
    Let there be evidence that is other than circumstantial (ruling out things like the natural world, which is far better explained by other means); show us phenomena that are indisputably, undeniably divine, like those suggested by commenter Jack above.
    Believers of various stripes have had millennia to provide just such evidence, yet here we are in the 21st century still without anything remotely conclusive. A book of doubtful provenance doesn’t, as Gary suggests, cut it. Far from defeating atheism, your judgemental assertions merely emphasise the paucity of your belief in a God.

  13. Question 2: Why would a dramatic, miraculous, sensational event count as evidence for God?

    At this point, the atheist will likely try to change the topic. But persist with the question. What you will find is that the reason why the atheist would count such an event as evidence for God is because it could not possibly be explained by natural causes and science. In other words, because it was a Gap. Modern day atheism is built on God of the Gaps logic.

    Answer from Skeptics: Atheists and other skeptics demand no more nor less evidence for the existence of the Christian god, Yahweh/the resurrected Jesus Christ, than we do for the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, the Abominable Snow Man, and Bigfoot.

  14. Pingback: Is the God of the Gaps Reasoning a Valid Method of Determining the Existence of God? – Escaping Christian Fundamentalism·

  15. Question 3: Is the God of the Gaps reasoning a valid way of determining the existence of God?

    Answer from Skeptics: Yes, a dramatic miracle would be good evidence for the existence of the Christian god, Yahweh/the resurrected Jesus. Something like this: He appears in the sky simultaneously, to every person on the planet, telling us all, in every language known to mankind, who he is and what he wants. That would be a feat pretty hard to fake. I would bet that most people, including myself, would believe in his existence due to such an event. But I (and I would bet most skeptics) don’t insist on this level of dramatic evidence to believe in the existence of the Christian god. I would be satisfied with the same evidence that it would take for a Christian to believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, the Abominable Snow Man, or Big Foot. No more. No less.

  16. Hi James. I’m John MacDonald from over at the Palpatinesway Blog (see http://palpatinesway.blogspot.com/ ). I’m secular, but there are any number of things, if they happened, that would persuade me that the supernatural exists. For instance, my family buried my grandfather 10 years ago. If tomorrow my family and I were visiting the grave site, and suddenly my grandfather emerged from the grave and came over to me and took a selfie with me to prove my family and I weren’t hallucinating, I would definitely be receptive to the idea that something supernatural occurred, even though there are other “possible explanations (like a scientifically advanced alien species in an invisible ship brought my grandfather back to life).” Establishing that something has a supernatural cause (assuming it is possible to execute such an investigation) doesn’t mean this supernatural cause has attributes of a particular type (like being the Judeo-Christian God). Arguing “that” something exists and arguing “what” that thing is like are two different questions. In Philosophy, this is the difference between the “Existential” and the “Essential” aspects of describing something’s Being (in Latin: the “Existentia” and the “Essentia”). I would never try to argue that my raised, zombie grandfather was evidence of the existence of the Judeo-Christian God, just that I was receptive to the idea that something supernatural occurred.

  17. I’m an atheist, and I would answer your first question thusly. What would I count as actual, credible, real-world evidence for God? I’m not sure. Maybe there cannot ever be evidence for God. But if there can, I am not aware of any.

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  19. “Once again, we see how atheism is built on the Demand For Evidence. But we also know that such a demand is more of a rhetorical trick than a sincere expression of intellectual curiosity.” Is it? Don’t you believe based on evidence in any other situation in your life? Don’t you cross the road _after_ you’ve looked whether or not there are passing cars? Don’t you buy items _after_ you’ve investigated them, checked the expiration date, etc? Don’t you read restaurant reviews and smiley reports? Don’t you get a tour of a house or a test drive of a car before you pay? Don’t you live by the evidence in all aspects of your life? It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for evidence.
    “Evidence is not objective reality that is detected by the senses; evidence is perceived by the mind.” So you’re trying to undermine the importance of evidence by attempting to talk it down to a state of useless personal opinion? As an excuse for why it’s okay that you don’t have any evidence? Do you have any evidence or not?
    “The mind converts data from objective reality into the subjective perception of evidence.” And we can test for when the objectively existing evidence is distorted. That’s how we identify illusions and hallucinations.
    “So the fact that Greene is not convinced by “evidence” from religious people (appeals to eyewitness testimony, appeals to personal experience, and variants of the fine-tuning argument) means only that Greene finds such evidence to be unconvincing.” If you think that it’s all nothing but your personal opinion, rather than objectively existing data in the real world, then we don’t care. You’ve redefined the entire thing to be about opinion. Two way street. Then “God exists” is just your opinion too, despite whatever you could possibly present. And I don’t care about your opinion. “the failure to convince him does not mean the evidence does not exist” Yes it does; according to you. You yourself just said that the evidence doesn’t exist. You just dismissed evidence by defining it as something that isn’t real. You defined it as mental; not real. This is the last desperate attempt at saving yourself; tearing down _all_ standards by which we detect what’s real … because you can’t live up to them. You know that evidence exists objectively in the real world. But if you lived by it, you would have to say that there’s no evidence, because there isn’t. So you’re making up excuses for why it’s okay that you don’t have evidence. Would you try to make the same case for _any_ other claim? Is there a tiger in the room you’re in right now? You’re arguing that the lack of evidence for there being a tiger is just your personal subjective opinion, so there could be a tiger in the room with you, who knows. You wouldn’t think that way in any other situation other than your religious views that you have to defend no matter what reality is. You’re defending your religion against reality itself. That’s exactly what you’re doing. And yet you want to present that we are the ones playing tricks. We are living by the standards of the real world; standards that you accept in all other aspects of your life … except for this one case.

    On to the questions.

    “What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?” Manifestation. Just like I would for planets or cars or ants or anything else in the real world. But it’s not my problem that believers insist that their god doesn’t manifest in the real world; that it is invisible intangible silent can’t be hard seen touched, doesn’t manifest, They have defined their god so that there can be no evidence for it, not even in theory. That’s not my fault. “If the atheist finally answers, there is a very, very high likelihood he/she will cite some dramatic, miraculous, sensational demonstration of God’s power.” Action isn’t evidence of existence. Beings that don’t exist have no power; they can’t do anything. Beings that haven’t been demonstrated to exist can’t be asserted to have done anything. This is why we don’t accept it when people say that blooming flowers prove that fairies exist, even though they assert that the act of blooming is a demonstration of the power of the fairies. People have pointed to events and claimed all kinds of causes for ages; and they have been wrong. Existence is only demonstrated in one way; manifestation.
    “Why would that dramatic, miraculous, sensational event count as evidence for God?” It wouldn’t as I just explained. And I’m far from the only one to have figured that out. “At this point, the atheist will likely try to …” So instead of having the conversation and seeing where it goes, you have constructed a slippery slope of a script. I don’t think I have to read on then. It’s clearly a constructed slope where one point stems from the _expected_ response to a previous point. And clearly I don’t fit into that. I don’t think for a second that an event would be evidence of existence of someone’s proposed cause for it. Because we have the cases where people thought like that and were wrong. So if someone believes as you portray, they can answer to the rest. But I think you should teach people to have conversations rather than to pretend you know where a conversation is going.

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  21. So does your “evidence” and 3 questions only apply to the Christian god? Your questions are not convincing and deals with only one aspect… the existence of your own god. Even if he existed he is still cruel to allow only some people to be born into households of Christianity. He is cruel to not make his presence known to everyone. He is cruel to help an average christian with something small like a new car yet let millions suffer because of evil he created himself. Believe is dangerous… like believing rhino horn can cure cancer… just based on your validation of why something is true… I see you as a pompous bully the same as your god

  22. >> Question 1: What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?”

    I have no idea. What is your definition of ‘God’?

  23. Even if I saw Moses rise from the dead and appear to Jesus, and had spent 3 years with Jesus, watching him perform miracles, and even if he had given me personally the power to raise the dead (Matthew 10), I would still desert Jesus.

    Because that is what the disciples allegedly did.

    So you will need more evidence of a god than the disciples got , which included seeing Moses rise from the dead. That wasn’t good enough for them.

  24. Nobody is trying to validate ‘atheism’.
    Atheism is simply a lack of belief – regardless of anything; atheism is not a ‘belief’ or a philosophy!

    We are those who simply ask for evidence of the claims by the theists; evidence which is not forthcoming!
    Evidence would eliminate this shallow statement: ”What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?””

    The whole article is disingenuous, from one who knows that he will never have anything.
    [just prove a god exists (why has this god continued to allow this insult?)]

  25. I like Bill Maher’s response:

    “I would believe in Lord Jesus the Christ if he slowly descended from heaven onto the 50 yard line of the SuperBowl and simultaneously turned everyone’s French Fries into loaves of bread and two fishes.”

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