After my post Apologetics Infographic #1, I planned to do a related series titled, “Stupid Atheist Memes.” I see, however, that Ed Brayton had the idea first. (See here for the latest in his series; the others so far are here, here, and here.) I trust he won’t mind if I do my own series with the same title.
For the inaugural entry, I’d like to discuss this.
The meme is attributed to the fictional atheist Dr. House. (See here; I’ve avoided posting the infographic to avoid any potential copyright issues.)
If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.
At best, this meme is an unsupported generalization. Even if you think you know with absolute certainty that God doesn’t exist, it doesn’t follow that every religious person on the planet is unreasonable. An additional argument would be needed to justify the universal generalization implied by the meme. And I have no idea how a finite being would go about gathering such information about every other theist on the planet.
But I think this meme is worse than an unsupported generalization. I think it’s false. There are religious people and then there are religious people. Say what you will about the “average believer” (whoever that is), I think the existence of professional philosophers like Richard Swinburne and Daniel Howard-Snyder, both of whom are theists and very reasonable people, clearly refute this meme.