Atheists have a lot of tricky arguments against religion but one particular argument has gotten a lot of traction on social media because of figures like Richard Dawkins and Ricky Gervais. The argument goes like this:
“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Atheists just go one god further.”
In a viral video British comedian Ricky Gervais goes on a talk show with Christian Stephen Colbert and what Ricky Gervais said to Colbert was the following:
SO YOU BELIEVE IN ONE GOD. BUT THERE ARE 3,000 TO CHOOSE FROM. SO BASICALLY, YOU DENY ONE LESS GOD THAN I DO. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN 2,999 GODS. AND I DON’T BELIEVE IN JUST ONE MORE.
What makes this argument effective in the age of social media and two hundred eighty characters and clickbait is that it’s a short argument that sounds clever and it has a sort of “gotcha” quality to it. Unfortunately on social media that’s really all you need, even if you have a completely moronic argument. So how do you respond to this argument?
Some theists will try to write a long drawn-out essay about the human condition and the nature of belief and on and on and on. It doesn’t matter how good your argument is, it’s not going to be effective in the social media context where, remember, people have very short attention spans and the nature of the beast is that the more that you speak and the more words that you use, the less convincing you’re going to sound to that audience. When the Atheist has an argument that sounds clever, is a “gotcha” in just one sentence or two sentences, then you have to match that if you want to be convincing. if one side uses a meme, you have to have an even better meme. If one side has a “gotcha,” you have to have an even better “gotcha.” To respond with a long drawn-out essay is just not going to be effective.
So what is an effective way to respond to this? If an atheist comes to you and says that we’re all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has believed in. Atheists just go one God further, don’t panic. Just look him in the eye and say that well:
“We are all vegans when it comes to not eating most animal products. Vegans just go a few animal products further.”
Or how about:
“We are all Amish when it comes to not using most of the technology humanity has ever invented. Amish just go a few technological devices further.”
Or how about this:
“We are all flat-earthers when it comes to rejecting most of the models of the universe humanity has ever produced. Flat-earthers just go one cosmological models further.”
In the words of Ricky Gervais, scientists believe in one model of the earth and the solar system, of a round earth revolving around the Sun but there have been many models of the solar system or of the earth geocentric, Ptolemaic, so on and so forth. There have been many different models so scientists today reject all of those models except one and flat earthers just go one model further.
So imagine a Flat Earther using this kind of argument to justify his flat eartherism. We would immediately recognize it for being completely and totally ridiculous but this is exactly the type of argument that Richard Dawkins or Ricky Gervais and other atheists are using.
When you respond like this, you demonstrate the inherent absurdity of the atheists argument and when it comes to arguments, it’s a thousand times better to demonstrate the incoherence of an argument as opposed to explaining it. If you can demonstrate it, that’s going to be much better, it’s gonna be much more convincing and compelling to your audience on social media.
We could spend a lot more time dissecting and analyzing this argument but I want to take my own advice and keep this video as short as possible. If you have ideas for how to effectively and concisely dismantle this atheistic argument, then please leave comments below.