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48 Sure-Fire “gotcha” questions for Atheists! (part 2) June 17, 2015

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Questions, Responses.
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Previous post in this series.

So continuing on with this set of thoughtful answers to stupid questions.

9. Do you know that Jesus loves you?

No, because he doesn’t.  He’s dead, so he doesn’t love anybody.  Dead people don’t feel emotions, it’s one of the major side effects of being dead.  I know that his fan club says that he’s alive and he loves people.  But then some members of Elvis’s fanclub still think Elvis is alive.  They know because they saw him shopping down at the Piggly-Wiggly.

10. If Christianity is false, then why is it popular?

Ah – the old argument ad populum, if it’s popular it must be true.  For hundreds of years bleeding was the most popular medical treatment. That didn’t mean it was effective.  Power Balance bracelets were so popular that the company had the money to buy naming rights to a stadium!  But the bracelets turned out to be overpriced rubber bands with a big campaign of deceptive marketing behind them.  There’s plenty of things that are popular that are still complete rubbish.

And you also have to consider the availability heuristic, which is a fancy phrase that means we give too much importance to the information we see right around us, and ignore other factors.  If you live in the US Bible Belt, it’s easy to think that christianity is the most popular, because it’s what’s around you every day.  But only about 1/3 of the world’s population is christian, the rest are muslim, hindu, buddhist, etc etc.  If christianity were so obviously true, you’d think it would be more popular.

11. If you say Christianity is not true, then why do hundreds of people continue to become saved every day?

Now we need to talk about confirmation bias.  We pay attention to and remember things that are different,  interesting, or that agree with the opinions we already have.  We ignore information that is ordinary,  boring, or that contradicts our opinions.  So hundreds of people are becoming “saved” every day?  How many are quitting?  You don’t actually know.  Your church doesn’t pay attention to those numbers, or at least they don’t tell you if they do, and you don’t notice when somebody stops showing up, unless it’s a friend.  Can you imagine if a church had an announcement in it’s bulletin that said “Well this week we saved two souls for jesus, and five other people stopped believing”?  Yeah, they don’t print that part.

So how do we know whether christianity is gaining or losing converts overall?  Here’s a chart, made with information about the US gathered from the Pew Forum, showing the religion people were raised with, and their current religion.  There’s a lot a switching, but it’s apparent that  a lot more people are switching out of religion than are switching into it.

religion switching

This second graphic shows that all US christian groups declined in membership from 2007-2014, but the numbers of unaffiliated increased dramatically.

religious landscape

So at least in the US, you are not converting more people than you are losing.  Sorry.

12. Why do we not see half trees and half carrots, fronkeys, and crocoducks if evolution is real?

Because that’s not the way evolution works, and this question shows a refusal to even try to understand the basics of it.  If we saw crazy things like that, instead of slow stepwise modifications over time, it would be evidence that our theories about evolution were totally wrong, and we’d have to rethink things.  But we don’t see those.

13. Why is Richard Dawkins afraid to debate Ray Comfort?

He’s not afraid, a debate with Comfort just isn’t worth his time.  There’s several reasons for that.

  • He’s a famous and accomplished biologist and science communicator, and engaging Comfort in a debate would indicate that he thought Comfort was a worthy adversary and raise Comfort’s perceived status.  To paraphrase Dawkins’ comment on this (in American English) “It would look better on his resume than on mine.”
  • Comfort offered $10,000 as a challenge.  That’s much less than Dawkins’ usual speaking fee for a regular appearance.
  • Comfort is not an honest debater.  Matt Dillahunty once accepted a debate with Comfort, agreeing on the format and subject matter ahead of time.  But once the debate started, Comfort declared that he didn’t care what the subject of debate was, he was just going to preach, and launched into his usual soapbox spiel.  I listened to this entire debate, and Comfort was rude and dishonest about his intentions from the beginning.  Matt has said he would never accept another debate with Comfort, and I don’t see any reason why anybody else would want to either.
  • Debates are not a good format for arriving at truth or changing minds.  There are better ways to go about it.

14. Did you know Christopher Hitchens was saved before death?

No, because he wasn’t.  You don’t get to make stuff up and claim it’s true.  He was very definite about not believing, right up to the end, and had harsh words for the people that he knew would try to propagate a fiction like that. This is called “lying for jesus” and it doesn’t make you look like someone who should be listened to and trusted.  If making up stories like that is the best you’ve got to support your religion, then give up now.

15. Are you aware Ray Comfort disproved atheism with a banana?

I’m aware that Comfort made a fool out of himself with a banana.  This is one of the questions that is so silly it makes me think this entire list is a spoof.  But for the benefit of those few people out there that still think this is a legitimate question, I’ll explain.

Ray (with Kirk Cameron) claimed that the shape and tastiness and convenience of bananas was evidence that god had designed them for us.

This is a wild banana.  If a god had designed bananas, this is what he designed.  It’s green and hard and full of seeds and really unappetizing and inconvenient.

Inside_a_wild-type_banana

Sweet yellow seedless bananas don’t happen in the wild.  They are the product of thousands of years of selective breeding by humans.  We selected for the traits we wanted, and over time produced a plant that suited our needs.  So of course it’s handy and tasty and  easy to peel and seedless.  (Duh.)

And how does Ray then explain a pineapple?  The best fruit in the world, hidden under a nasty hard rind that won’t peel off, with spiky leaves in your face.  Is that god saying “pppppbbbbbfttthhhh on you!” or what?

16.Why do people laugh at evolutionists?

It’s a defense mechanism.  Fundamentalist christians (unlike mainstream christians) have based their entire worldview around the literal truth of every single word of their book.  Anything that undermines any small part of that belief is a threat to all of it.  Ask a Presbyterian or a Methodist if the Garden of Eden was a real place and most will say “That’s obviously a myth, meant to teach a moral lesson.  Now lets sing some more happy songs about how great god is.”  They aren’t concerned about the literal truth of every word, so evolution is not a threat to them, and most of them are just fine with it. But for a fundamentalist, if you undermine even a small piece of their book their whole faith could come crashing down.

And another feature of christianity is that it puts mankind up on a pedestal as it were, insisting that the entire universe was created just for us.  We are the center of everything, we are special, we are different.  Everything we discover that puts us farther away from being the center of the universe must be fought tooth and nail. That’s why the catholic church fought so hard against Copernicus and Galileo when they proposed heliocentrism.  Not being in the center of everything made us seem less special, and they couldn’t have that.  Evolution likewise pushes us off that pedestal of specialness and puts us as just one animal among many.

So evolution tells us the bible is wrong and that we are not the pinnacle of creation.  Rather than face that possibility, fundamentalists make up nonsense “creation science” that doesn’t actually discover anything, and ignore inconvenient scientific findings, and tell themselves that all the professional biologists are making it all up.  And they laugh, and cover their ears, and say “LA LA LA!!  I can’t hear you!!” because if they didn’t they might actually learn something that would endanger their fragile belief system.

Next Post in this series.

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Comments»

1. dhoelbinger - June 17, 2015

Spot on again. The only thing I might contest is #9, as it makes the presumption that the biblical Jesus actually existed, for which there is no historical or archaeological evidence. My response to that one might be: (true story) The only Jesus I have ever known was a migrant worker with whom I worked on a potato farm. While he had a strong work ethic, and could repair a sand blaster like nobody’s business, I’m not so certain that he loves me. I could be wrong, but he never said anything about it. I will not lose sleep over this.

Liked by 1 person

2. Daniel Digby - June 18, 2015

Certainly our astute questioner must have mistakenly said Hitchens when he meant Darwin. It is well known that Lady Hope saved Darwin from perdition while he was on his deathbed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cotton,_Lady_Hope#Lady_Hope.27s_story_of_her_meeting_with_Charles_Darwin).

Of course, Henrietta, Darwin’s brazen hussy of a daughter, had the temerity to say that our beloved Lady Hope had never even met Charles Darwin! Who would you believe? Someone brought up in the Truth or someone whose father invented evolution?

Liked by 1 person

dhoelbinger - June 18, 2015

Truth? Not sure what you mean by that. If you mean faith, you should understand that it is not the same as truth, while it could potentially be true, it is presumptuous to call it truth as it has not been confirmed. The claim of a single believer, does not stack up to the claims of Darwin’s ENTIRE family, who actually knew him. Miss Cotton has but a story that is confirmed by no one, once again showing the gullibility of yourself and other believers, and you subsequent denial of anything that goes against your preconcieved notions. Furthermore, your assault on the character of Darwins daughter is not only an ad hominem fallacy, but completely irrelevant to your claim. It is a form of misdirection that probably worked on you when you became compelled to believe in the fairy tale, but you will need more than that to convince most of the people here. Evolution was not an invention, Christianity howerver, was. Mr. Digby, take some time to learn how logic works, and understand that people of faith are actually more prone to lies than nonbelievers are.

Perhaps this is a bit harsh, but your preconceived notions and refusal to accept rationality make you appear not only hateful, but willfully thoughtless and ignorant… Have a nice day.

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ubi dubium - June 18, 2015

I think Daniel was talking about “Truth™”, not “truth”, since he’s also an atheist. That was complete snarkiness on his part, sarcasm does not always communicate well. Poe’s law strikes again!

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dhoelbinger - June 18, 2015

indeed… I was somewhat confused when I saw his page… Good practice for me then, I guess.

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Daniel Digby - June 18, 2015

I guess I’ll have to be a little more careful. I thought my intent was obvious, but this has happened before, so I’m not surprised. Henrietta was an excellent writer in her own right, and she helped Charles edit his later papers and books. I’m sorry that my comment didn’t translate as intended.

Liked by 1 person

dhoelbinger - June 19, 2015

Sacasm doesn’t translate well through the written word… excellecnt POE work though. I’ll keep it in mind when I see your work in the future…

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Sean D Johnson - September 4, 2016

Probably the same kind of person who claimed Hitchens was on the verge of turing to Christianity and wrote a book about it? I would honestly believe the daughter over some person with an agenda. Seriously stating that only a person who believes in a magic sky daddy can be honest is way of saying that you are all disgusting liars and bigots on your own. I know your book teaches you that, but it also teaches that you can BEAT YOUR SLAVES. (Exodus 21:20-21)

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3. mclasper - June 18, 2015

Jesus isn’t dead! He was out mowing my lawn the other day! But I don’t think he can perform miracles…

Liked by 1 person

ubi dubium - June 18, 2015

I saw him a couple months ago too, he fixed my toilet!

Liked by 1 person

4. makagutu - June 18, 2015

Spot on.
I hear Jesus sells pizza at some corner restaurant somewhere. He might not be dead

Liked by 1 person

5. Toad - June 18, 2015

If we can get past the veiled “menial Mexican” references, it might do to point out that most, if not all, of these “gotcha” questions are just stupid questions. I have been asked much more intelligent questions by much more intelligent (and honest) people, which are much harder, though not impossible, to address. The point here is not that Christians shouldn’t waste their time questioning us atheists; the point is that unless they find some better questions, they will always and only BE wasting their time, and ours.

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ubi dubium - June 18, 2015

I would have thought stupid questions like this were a waste of time too, until I was asked one of them by my niece. She’s a very bright young girl, but she’s being brought up in an atmosphere of constant indoctrination. She’s been brought up to think that Ken Ham is a smart person, that the Creation Museum is a real museum, and that she should avoid any actual Natural History museums. These answers are for her and for all the others out there like her.

And I think the plumber who repaired my toilet was from El Salvador, not Mexico. He did a very good job too. I have more respect for a skilled plumber than a ranting apologist any day!

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Toad - June 18, 2015

That is a good point…

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6. Arkenaten - June 18, 2015

Didn’t you see Jesus’ face in the banana? I did!
You have to be saved and believe in Creationism and the Jesus’ face appears everywhere.

Liked by 1 person


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