I was shown an excellent webpage
, showing a list of arguments Creationists should not use. I love this page, really, and it should be considered one of the first stops on the way to becoming a debater in favor of creationism. Looking at many youtube comments shows, however, that Atheists need such a page too. Weak arguments and rationale hurt not only that individual battle, but the entire war. If atheism becomes associated with weak arguments, it becomes associated with being weak as a whole, and not a credible belief (or lack thereof).
I'm an amateur debater, and I haven't really sparred with anyone other than local people. That being said, even I know the following are terrible things to bring up, if only for people not heavily experienced with the topic:
- ~If there is a God, why does he allow suffering in the world?
I've seen some strong debaters tackle the idea, but rarely successfully. The bible does state, at multiple points, that evil improves good. You cannot have light without dark, it argues. While I disagree, I can't put my disagreement in to strong and convincing words, and odds are most people can't either.
- ~Religion is only a tool for political gain and warfare!
When you want to hit a nail, you will find a hammer. Religion is a very big hammer
, and a little bit too obvious. I'm not going to pull the "if the suspect is too obvious, he's not the criminal" thing here, and while I'm sure a religion could
be created as a tool, that does not mean it always is.
- ~It's so obvious, why can't you see reason/logic/you're an idiot!
Defamatory marks are poor manners, poor technique, and just poor taste. This is listed in the Debating for Beginners
topic, but it goes double for "high horse" atheists. Yes, it makes sense to us. Logic is a domain anyone can approach, while theism is limited to a certain fan club. But your job is to make
it obvious, not just state that it is. Show, don't tell.
- ~God doesn't answer prayers, so he can't.
You can tackle this issue in this topic
. Give it a whirl, but note the common response: God works in mysterious ways. Most theists will say that if you pray for something, not getting it means you're being "too literal" about it, and that prayer doesn't work that way. Argue all you want, saying that "there are no visible results", and you will get one of three common responses. One: You were praying for the wrong thing, and it's too "self satisfactory" instead of right. Two: You were wicked, and thus don't deserve it. Three: He did answer, you didn't see it. There is no way to argue this (that I know of), and asking about prayer will always bring one of these points up in a Maginot Line fashion.
I'm sure my more experienced peers can add to this... or even say that "No, you can argue that point". Please, feel free to- even if this isn't the subforum for debating, I really wouldn't mind being told where I'm wrong as long as it adds to my list of arguments.