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Running The Clock

One tactic that I often run into when discussing religion with the religious is a variation of the old sports strategy called, “running the clock.” The idea is to load the atheist up with stuff and waste our time. Here are a few examples:

The most common example is when religious believers simply make multiple false assertions and we are left to write a virtual book to address every issue. If we leave one issue out, they claim victory just before they make another round of multiple assertions leaving us having to address the one point we left out and all the new assertions made. Sometimes it is useful to do this, but it really depends on the person on the other side. Often times, they aren’t even listening and won’t even bother reading the explanations we put forward.

Another example of the “running the clock” strategy is when religious believers give you a book list to read. Every believer has their own favorite authors that they insist with convert you to their religious belief. If I were to read every book ever recommended to me by a religious person, I would never have time to do anything else. However, there are often some names that come up more than others and it might make sense to read some of those authors if one is so inclined. But don’t waste your time trying to read every recommended religious author.

My final example for today is the old context argument. Most of the time when religious believers demand we read the context of a holy verse, they are simply running the clock. They don’t know the context either. The fact is that most of the time, the context of a particular verse doesn’t really change the meaning of the verse at all. There is a reason why atheists often point out particularly brutal verses and that is because they are brutal even in context. In fact, sometimes the context makes the verse even more brutal (like Numbers 31: 17-18). But my point here is that religious believers will use the context argument just to waste your time.

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