What are some of your favorite rebuttals when someone questions your atheism?

Especially when they say something that makes you feel like an insensitive human being.

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I usually explain my opinion that we were all born atheists and that some of us were told what to believe along the way (by parents, teachers, etc.)  I was allowed to make up my own mind and in so doing have rejected theism, and that despite my lack of religious dogma, I live a great life and am kind and considerate to the people that I meet. Not that I have 100% ruled out the possibility of a deity (probably 99.9%), but that based on the lack of evidence, there is no reason to even ponder the existence of a "god". And if they have evidence, I would be happy to listen to it and if it is convincing enough, maybe even reconsider (it would have to be pretty amazing evidence though). I also remind them that gaps in our understanding and the existence of ancient texts (written by men) do not count as evidence. I have never been presented with any evidence after saying this. I have convinced several people that they do not want anything to do with me...I would guess that I am better off without them.

Very nicely put Joe! I like this - clear, concise, rational and to the point. I suspect that Catholics may take issue with the idea that we were all born atheists -they would probably argue that if your parents are catholic then you are born catholic, an idea that I find disturbing.

I also like Richard Dawkins idea that even religious people are atheistic since they reject the other 3,000+ gods that humans have worshiped through history. Atheists have just gone one god further!

I usually just reply that I believe in one god less than most people. If it becomes a discussion, which is often for me, I use much of the same discourse.
yes, it can be lonely live with intellectual integrity. I have a dog.
I like the "he/she/it". I frequently use "he/she/?", never thought of adding the "it" instead.
I say that as I grew out of Santa, I also grew out of "god"™, there being as much evidence for the one as for the other. And, since I taught the bible as literature for 30 years and know great swatches of it by heart, that argument ain't doin' too well against me either.
In a similar vein, I often reply that I gave up "magical thinking" a long time ago, probably before the age of five.
All of the above and I usually corner them on the gender question. If they refer to god as 'he' does he have male chromosomes and a penis? And if so what for?

You'd be amazed at the number who say "HE is neither male nor female". Whoops!
That's pretty funny - after all, according to the bible we are supposed to be made in his/her/ it's image, er, aren't we? Could get a bit confusing there. It's amazing how quickly religions start to look rather silly in the face of innocent and reasonable questions.

I want to tell them, "I don't agree that atheists are immoral or insensitive.  And many believers are insensitive".




The contexts, the questioners' styles, vary.

The mildest was the man who helps anyone he can but, from in the two years I've known him has not once shown me he is capable of a complex thought. In as calm a manner as I've ever heard, he told me I would come around some day. I ignored him that time but we are both members of a writers group and a Toastmasters club so we communicate on other issues. The harshest was the man who last year, with as much certainty as I've ever heard from anyone on any subject, told me that after I die I will be on my knees to Jesus. I learned from his wife that before a recent stroke he hadn't talked like that. He and I nod when we see each other.

To those on the polite end of this range, when a response is necessary I say either "If my dad hadn't sent me to Catholic schools I might still believe a god exists" or "I'm a born again agnostic; I knew nothing of gods until I heard of one in the Catholic school my dad sent me to. In college I returned to agnosticism, but having seen no evidence since then I climbed down off the fence on the atheist side."

To those on the harsh end of the above range, when a response is necessary I say "Religion is the biggest fraud that has ever been perpetrated on humankind." It has shock value.

While in college a few Catholics told me I shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. For a while I had no reply. Then I realized that the baby, Catholicism, had so polluted the bathwater that I had to throw them both out.

About 15 years ago, when a woman announced with conviction that I was on a fence, I took several minutes to tell her how much skill being on a fence, and not falling off, requires. She soon looked so confused that I almost felt sorry for her.


So far, i can hardly get a sentence out without being cut off or shouted down. Alot of the time, they look around for support, and won't answer, but try to talk loud and bring attention "he's an atheist!". In their mind they think that the moment of embarassment would be too much, and i would give up being an atheist. Sad. I may have to initiate more, and try to get some answers, if they can stay calm. It's too much work to try to explain the bible, that's why they deflect. It's so nice not having to worry about explaining nonsense, but i have to say, they are good at trying.




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