When we atheists don't know shit, are we qualified to discuss gods, heaven, hell, or life after death?

Many of us have heard the following attack. This morning a woman I know used it in a group discussion.

An atheist seated next to a little girl on an airplane turned to the girl and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go more quickly when people talk with fellow passengers.”

The girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the stranger, “What would we talk about?”

“Oh, maybe about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death.”

“Let me ask you a question first. A sheep, a cow, and a horse all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a sheep excretes little pellets, a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps. Why is that?”

“Hmmm, I have no idea.”

“Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?”

A week earlier, in response to a friend's question, I told some of the same people that I'd seen descriptions of six kinds of atheists. In response to my friend's curiosity I said I would have to review those descriptions before I say much about them. The conversation then turned to other matters, for all but one of us.

It's plainly an adult xian using a little girl's persona to embarrass an adult atheist so I'll probably ignore it. I've thought of devising a satiric reply, perhaps "A bit of reasoning will tell you the answer. The amount of water the animals drink determines the liquidity of their excrement."

Any suggestions?

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The adult xian who adopted a little girl persona did indeed make a strawman atheist. I'm sure he will deny knowing his own limitations.

The woman who told that story deserves a tit-for-tat response, but giving her one would embarrass her in public. Doing that will win me a point or two with people who dislike her but won't win this atheist any points with the other believers.

My thinking right now is to tell her privately That little girl has obviously seen some sheep shit, cow shit and horse shit, but until she sees some god shit she has no evidence for a god's existence.

Tom! Brilliant, as usual. 

"That little girl has obviously seen some sheep shit, cow shit and horse shit, but until she sees some god shit she has no evidence for a god's existence."

~ Tom Sarbeck 

Thank you, Joan. I took 22 hours, including a night's sleep, to get there.

So how can you identify god shit? 

I don't suppose there's a field guide to shit - or is there?  Sort of like a birder's handbook?

Neitzsche's description of xian morality as slave morality?

Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth?

Surely you've seen a bible before?


Nate, Oh go ahead, give a rebuttal. I need to learn some more strategies. 

However, I do like the ignoring strategy. No response, end of story ... not quite ... silence implies agreement. Oh heck, do whatever suits you. 

It's basic to religious faith to believe you DO know, of things that nonbelievers don't.  It's similar to conspiracy theories that way.  The little anecdote illustrates a believer's fundamental assumptions. 

To know and know that you know; 

To know and not know that you know; 

To not know and know that you do not know; 

To not know and not know that you do not know. 

The arrogance, hubris, pride, self-importance, presumption, conceit, egoism, audacity, vanity, and rudeness of imposing unwelcome religious dogma on others makes as much sense as trying to convince an intelligent person to step off the edge of a cliff to prove a fallacious belief. 

I can't even imagine an atheist imposing on another in a proselytizing way. Answer questions? Yes! Correct inaccurate statements? Of course! Offer an alternative view? Certainly! 

Exactly Nate, no self respecting Atheist would bother to talk to any strange little girl in that manner.

It can thus be shown as something dreamed up by an Irrational adult theist. 

Junk created by loons can be easily spotted and portrayed as such.

I would have just laughed at it and put it where it belongs, in the Naive Loony Junk Box.

Maybe we could also state that the disrespectful child should be executed as condoned by Jesus Christ.

LOL  :-D~

Many atheists, like moi, and likely yourself, studied theism from the inside, theology, and many Atheists know more about theism than the vast majority of theists.

I can beat 90% of Christians on Biblical knowledge, so can many of my fellow Atheists.

Certainly destroy any little girl's knowledge base.

Though I'd never bother talking religion to children to begin with and only discuss it with adults who initiate such a discussion.

There are infinitely more interesting and much more fun subjects available.

You could always resort to the "argument from vampires", or "argumentum ad vampirii" i.e. "Christianity must be correct because (real, not satiric) vampires are repelled by crosses."

This reminds me of all the "Atheist professor embarassed by student" stories you see goinga around Facebook and the like. I'm sometimes tempted to point out how they are ridiculous strawman arguments, but then I realize that these aren't actually intended to debate atheists, they're just there to make the believers feel better about their belief.


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