I’ve previously posted August Berkshire‘s list of the 34 Unconvincing Arguments for God.
But Ted Stoltz has something slightly different: A list of bad atheist responses to Christianity:
Over the years of debating, I’ve noticed there are a number of arguments which atheists routinely present, but are ineffectual at convincing Christians that Christianity might have problems. The problem for atheists is that these arguments make perfect non-theistic sense, and so why anyone else shouldn’t see the logic is baffling to them. I don’t claim these arguments are fallacious, only that they will be unconvincing. I’ll try to explain why they’re unconvincing and suggest a more effective course of action. The thing to keep in mind is that these arguments are not worth pursuing, and if you bring them up, you’re just not going to gain any ground. It would be better for the atheists to avoid these and concentrate their efforts elsewhere.
The explanations are easy to follow and the suggested courses of action are extremely helpful.
1. There are a lot of gods Christians don’t believe in.… This does not work, because the Christian does not disbelieve in these gods per se. The explanation you’re likely to hear is that these gods were fallen angels, exercising their dominion over the Earth… Appealing to their disbelief of other gods is unlikely to work because within the framework of Christianity, there’s an explanation of their origins.
Try this instead: use an example that’s less super-naturally based. Santa Claus might work, although that seems a bit condescending to me. You could go for Russell’s Teapot. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Whatever you choose, don’t lose site of the real reason for bringing up this argument in the first place. You’re trying to get them to admit they don’t believe in something because there’s no evidence to support its existence. Why don’t you believe in tiny pink unicorns on Mars? Because there’s no evidence for it.
Of course, if logic doesn’t work, it’s hard to think of anything that will… But it is a helpful list if you’re trying to talk to someone who isn’t bound by rules of reason.
Is there any other argument that atheists should not use that should be added to the list?