I went to karaoke last night. At one point a gentleman approached me to compliment my voice and told me I should be singing for a living. I thanked him and told him I’d found a career that I enjoyed much, much more. “What career is that?’ he asked.
“I’m a professional atheist,” I answered.
“Well god bless you!”
“But you know, atheists can’t exist?”
I pointed to myself and said, “Empirically denied.”
“You’re an agnostic, you’re not an atheist.”
“I’m an atheist. I think the evidence is against the existence of a god.”
“Think about it. How can you be against something that doesn’t exist? Meditate on that.” (No, I am not exaggerating. He said that.) I considered pointing out to him that lots of people are against atheists, which would mean we’d have to exist.
Instead, I said “I think bad ideas exist and I’m against them. I think god is a bad idea.”
As though he hadn’t heard me, the man continued. “If you don’t believe in something, that something has to exist for you to not believe in it.” Arguments like this make me wish the world really would end today.
I took a second to wonder if rebutting something so silly was worth it. He’s clearly talking about believing in things as a concept while I’m talking about that concept being, y’know, real. You may think this type of thing is uncommon, but remember that I recently had a ‘philosopher’ do the same thing by trying to convince me that Spider-Man exists.
I elected to continue. “If not believing in something means it exists, and believing in something means you think it exists, then by your logic everything must exist. Surely you can’t honestly believe that.”
He complimented me for being good (presumably at debating) and said he’d meditate on that.
Nice guy. Lame arguments. In the world I wish to create, somebody never makes it into their forties/fifties without having it thoroughly explained to him why such arguments suck. We’re not there, sadly. But you know what they say: be the change you want to see.