When confronted with certain arguments, particularly about the Old Testament God, most Christians point out that they do not believe that God would have unruly teenagers stoned to death or that Moses ordered his captains to slaughter innocents. They see no wrong in eating shellfish or wearing two types of cloth, and many are happily prepared to work on the Sabbath.
The atheist glibly responds with something like: “Well, that’s what your Bible says… You can’t pick and choose, either the Bible is true or it isn’t…Ha! Got you! I Win!” And that’s that. The atheist sits smugly with his arms folded, inwardly celebrating his victory of perfect logic over the backward and stupid Christian.
The problem is: Yes, they can pick and choose. Who gave atheists the right to determine how and what other people may or may not believe?
The Christian, far from feeling wounded, reflects that it’s pointless arguing with someone who can’t even grasps the basics of Christianity, and just keeps harping on about some Old Testament rubbish that the Christian knows little about and cares even less. The Christian knows that most of the Bible is rubbish, that’s why he’s never bothered to read it – he did try once, when he was younger, but found it a tedious, impenetrable tome and gave up. But you don’t need to know every word of the Bible to appreciate God’s love – Jesus’s message is writ large in every interaction, every observation, every emotion and every experience of every day.
My dear fellow atheists, the ridiculousness of God as espoused in the Bible is a STRAW MAN. No buts. We will never convert any theist by picking on the easy target. Yes the Bible is nonsense; we know it, they know it. It’s pointless arguing with someone about what they don’t believe.
Find out what they do believe, before embarking on a well-constructed, logically infallible, perfectly presented but completely useless rant. If you’re not sure how to find out what their beliefs are, it’s quite simple: ask them, then shut up and listen!
It’s also highly ineffective to argue against any faith-based belief. It is much more constructive to offer them a godless alternative. Illustrate, demonstrate and educate; introduce the faithful to the wonder and beauty of the natural world. The horrific “evil” of nature – tsunamis, parasites, predators, hurricanes, volcanoes etc. are far more impressive than any Biblical story. The beauty of flowers, birds, rainbows, landscapes, birth, cell-structure, the cosmos. The ingenuity of technology – aerodynamics, 3D printers, laser microscopes, MRI and CAT scanners, keyhole surgery, stem-cell possibilities.
Explain to the theist how none of these things requires a god. They can believe if they want, they can even attribute the wonders of the world to a god, but there is really no place for Him among them. It’s time to let Him go.