Debating with atheists can be difficult because they use “meme logic”. Meme logic is when you either respond in debates with memes, or you parrot arguments you’ve read off of memes. It can often seem as though all atheists are programmed to respond using the same sound bites verbatim. This can be very frustrating when you’re making an original argument, and rather than producing a counter-argument specific to your claim, the atheist regurgitates some one-liner like “which God?”. That’s why I put together this handy guide: Tips on Debating Atheists.
My first piece of advice is sincerity. If you’re not debating because you have the best intentions and truly want to teach the atheist and save them, then the atheist is just going to cover their ears and go “La la la la la! I can’t hear you!”
Assuming this is an online debate, the primary debate tactic of atheists is memegurgitation. That’s when atheists spam the thread with memes unrelated to the debate. You’ll typically see a lot of memes reused because atheists share these memes like trading cards. It’s not worth debating someone this dumb.
Define your terms
No matter what your opening argument is, the first thing every atheist is going to respond with is “which God?” This isn’t a sincere question, atheists believe that because cultures describe God in different ways, some even describing God using multiple deities, this means every culture believes in a different God. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, but is ultimately because atheism is built on their straw man conceptualization of God as a physical person rather than the pervasive essence driving the physical functions of the Universe forward. I will be writing an article about the use of esoteric myths and allegories at a later date.
Along with “which God?” atheists may also claim there are X amount of gods to choose from, where X represents a random number they made up, typically between 2,000 and 50 billion. Be ready for an offhand reference to Thor.
The lesson is to define your terms. Atheists tend to use layman definitions above the actual scholarly definitions of terms, ironic because they treat the dictionary like their Bible. For example, atheists conflate the term metaphysics with “magic” or “supernatural”, when in fact it is the study of being. By the law of cognitive dissonance, if you allow atheists to misuse words they will not allow you to correct them. By defining your terms upfront you are blocking their objections.
Know the difference between an insult and ad hominem
If things get heated, the atheist will start to insult you and you may feel inclined to insult them back. Insulting your opponent will make it difficult to appeal to them with your position, but in the event of name-calling you should at least know the difference between an insult and ad hominem. Here is an example of a debate:
Theist: “Based on Chalmers’ findings, we can reconcile the hard problem of consciousness by determining that the qualitative aspect of conscious experience is an inherent property of systems of integrated information, not excluding the Universe itself.”
Atheist: “Shut up religitard, your word salad Deepak Chopra woo woo isn’t evidence that your sky daddy exists!”
Theist: “Excuse me, but you’re being irrational. You can’t simply ignore that the sensations paired with our experience are immaterial, so if you want to maintain a behaviorist model for the mind-body relationship then you must see our qualitative experience as inherent and universal to matter.”
In this example, who is violating the ad hominem fallacy?
A). The atheist, by calling the theist “religitard”.
B). The theist, by calling the atheist “irrational”.
The correct answer is A.
Atheists assume it is both, but an ad hominem only applies when the insult isn’t paired with an argument which is directed at the opponents position and not their personhood.
Atheists can be dangerous, especially when enraged. Take Dylann Roof as one example, and I have personally encountered aggressive atheists on several occasions. In a debate group I follow, one atheist went so far as killing his opponents dog by injecting it with endogenous virus.
If an atheist becomes agitated during a debate, either stop the debate or find a way to calm them down. Teaching atheists is not worth a life.