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Multiple Assertions

Often times when I am discussing religion with “people of faith,” they take a few seconds to make multiple assertions about the implications or consequences of non-belief in the same breath. Each assertion of course takes more time to address than the believer takes to assert.

For example, it is not unusual to hear an argument that without God there can be no morality or purpose in life and that Stalin and Hitler were both atheists. And how can an atheist explain how the universe was formed, the perfect design of the Earth, and the laws of nature?

Wow, that is quite a mouthful to answer and while there are answers that atheists can give for each of those points, those answers would take much more time and energy to answer than the time it took for those assertions to be made. What is the best way or even a good way to approach a Christian who makes statements like this? While there is no one answer to this issue, one way that I have found is to write out the answers to these frequently asked questions ahead of time and either direct the person to those answers or come up with a short answer response for each one.

Coming up with short pithy responses to these issues is difficult and I of course welcome ideas and suggestions. In an online discussion, I prefer to just refer people to my already written responses or to just copy and paste those responses. But in an in person discussion, I think we need to come up with the quick pithy response.

I do think that while many people of faith are just ignorant of any criticism of their positions and simply lack the knowledge of how a non-believer would respond, there are some out there who simply see this as a strategy to “run the clock.” For example, you will see this type of tactic used often when conservative talk shows interview atheists. Of course in those cases, the show host usually also throws in a personal attack at the end so that the atheist has to waste his or her time dealing with the personal attack instead of just one of the assertions made.

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