1) Quoting From Their Holy Book
Some theists quote scripture to non believers as if they were preaching to the pews. Either these theists don’t know their audience or just don’t care about the futility of their actions. Do Christians care what verse 67:10 of the Quran says? Would Jews renounce their faith and embrace Krishna if they read the Bhagavad Gita? The only people who care what a particular holy book says are those who already believe the book is holy.
2) You’re Going to Burn in Hell
That’s nice. Remind me to bring marshmallows and hot dogs. If I threaten someone with a stocking full of coal, would they be any more likely to believe in Santa? Threatening someone with something they don’t believe in won’t make them believe it.
3) You Can’t Prove God Doesn’t Exist
Well, that all depends on the kind of god being asserted. If a theist is proposing a god that split the moon in half about 1500 years ago then yes, that claim is falsified by the absence of any physical evidence the moon split and the absence of anyone else writing about it other than in the Quran. If someone is asserting a god who created two humans about 6,000 years ago from whom all of humanity is derived, we know that to be genetically impossible. But in general, this is simply shifting the burden of proof. Atheists don’t need to prove a god doesn’t exist anymore than you need to prove there isn’t an invisible dragon in my garage.
4) Everything is Subjective So Nothing You Say Matters
This one usually comes up in discussions on morality. Just because someone says morality is subjective does not mean everything else is. Sometimes it comes up when someone acknowledges perspective plays a role in how observations may be interpreted. But that doesn’t mean everything is subjective either. Flailing straw men around doesn’t help an argument. It just looks like you’re throwing a fit.
5) I’m Not Religious. I Have a Personal Relationship With God
J.Z. Knight is not insane. She just has a personal relationship with Ramtha, the spirit of a Lemurian warrior who fought Atlantis over 35,000 years ago. See how silly that sounds? Belief in a god is itself religious from the perspective of most atheists. Whether or not a theist belongs to a religious organization is a side issue.
6) Who Created the Universe, the Earth and the First People?
This is a complex question fallacy which assumes earth, the universe and people were all “created” and that they were created by a “who.” Obviously these are not assumptions atheists will share, just like adults don’t share the assumption of children who think people are trapped in the T.V. The term “created” is generally used to refer to existing material used in the construction of a new form. But that’s not what theists mean anyway.
These questions also represent an ignorance of geology, cosmology and biology. Atheists shouldn’t have to teach theists what is readily available through Google or any number of inexpensive courses available at your local community college.
7) Why Are There Still Monkeys?
Evolution works in mysterious ways. Or maybe evolution has nothing to do with humans coming from monkeys. Yeah, I’m pretty sure monkeys weren’t mentioned in my genetics course.
Evolution is about population genetics, a group that changes very slowly over time due to random mutation, genetic drift, survival, sexual selection and other factors. Human evolution is not about monkeys morphing into humans. It is not about a group of monkeys evolving into humans. It is about all apes, including humans, monkeys and gorillas, evolving from the same things over millions of years. The word “ape” may not generally be used by laymen to refer to humans, but science classifies all great apes—humans, orangutans, gorillas, chimps and bonobos—under the family Hominidae.
Theists who don’t understand evolution shouldn’t tout their ignorance. Attacking evolution doesn’t get anyone any closer to belief in a deity anyway. We can throw evolution right out the window and there still isn’t any evidence to justify belief in a deity.
8) I’ll Pray For You
They might as well just say “Fuck you.” That’s pretty much how many atheists interpret it. Atheists obviously don’t believe prayer accomplishes anything other than perhaps the same thought and self reflection everyone does anyway. Telling an atheist this would be meaningless if it weren’t for the fact that by repeating this to atheists so often, theists have proven prayer doesn’t work.
9) You Can See God in Everything
Even herpes? What about the flesh eating disease, Necrotizing fasciitis? I suppose if you were looking at it like a Rorschach test you might see God. Europeans thought they saw God in everything back in the 14th century. When the bubonic plague broke out, they figured God must be pretty pissed off so they went and started the Inquisition. Theists tend to talk about fluffier things when saying this though, like bunnies and flowers. Atheists see beauty in the world too, but we don’t need to attribute that to a god.
10) You Can’t See Air, But You Know It’s There, Just Like God
This one is actually taught in Islamic elementary schools. Sorry kids, but when you grow up and you’re still using the same arguments from elementary, that means you haven’t progressed any. We can detect and measure air. We can detect and measure the contents of air. If not seeing something is evidence it exists, there’s a bridge from Seattle to Tokyo I’d like to sell you.