Responding to Theistic Claims Guide

In this guide you’ll find responses to common religious claims, submitted by a range of educated, witty, popular, unknown, brilliant and/or simply sensible freethinkers.  First time visitors, please read How To Submit and Use Content.   Click on a theist claim below to access the list of styled responses or to submit your responses.  Key: *** = Active Pages     (The Guide is being assembled.  Please pardon the slow process and help out if you can. Thanks!)

Christian Scripture, Gospels, Jesus:

Logical Arguments:

Claiming Atheist Ignorance, Delusion, Evil or Faith:

Challenging Evolution: 

Questioning Scientific Conclusions (other):

  • *** The Earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old.  All scientific dating techniques are flawed
  • Believing scientific conclusions is based on faith.
  • Scientific conclusions are atheistic and biased toward disproving religion.
  • Abiogenesis is just a fairy tale. Life can’t come from non-life.
  • The Big Bang fails to explain how something comes from nothing.
  • God is outside of time and space, so he is the only possible first cause.
  • The scientific method fails because scientists start with their desired conclusions.
  • The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is broken with life organizing toward complexity.
  • All scientific dating techniques for determining age of the Earth, the universe and fossils are flawed.
  • The geologic column’s layering and fossil distribution, confirms that the great flood happened.

Intelligent design:

Supernatural, Miracles, Experiences & Prayer:

  • If you won’t consider unexplained experiences as supernatural, you are close minded
  • God answers prayers with Yes, No or Wait
  • Answered Prayers & Miracles happen. Its documented, but you refuse to see.
  • *** God answers my prayers all the time.
  • I have visions of Jesus and his predictions in the vision have come true.
  • My personal experience proves God exists. I can feel him. He talks to me.

Opinion, Fallacy and Subjective Claims:

  • God did it! When science can’t explain things completely or at all, the supernatural is a justified, reasonable belief.
  • Religious beliefs should be respected and never challenged.
  • God is not Evil. His actions are beyond our imperfect judgement.
  • Morality is not explainable without God.
  • Without divine and biblical morality, we can’t be good people.
  • Eternal Damnation is a fair punishment for denying your savior.
  • The United states is founded on Christian ideals. Its a Christian Nation under god.
  • The vast majority of the world believes in God.  It must be true.

Equal Rights, Same sex marriage:

  • Homosexuality is wrong by the word of God.
  • Marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Islamic Specific Claims:

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12 thoughts on “Responding to Theistic Claims Guide

  1. “The Bible is the inspired word of God. Its perfect.”
    Countless resources exist that showcase in great detail the dozens of inaccuracies, contradictions, and illogic in the Bible.

    “God is real because my holy book says so.”
    Logical fallacy: petitio principii.

    “The Bible is Inerrant and makes perfect sense if you understand how to read it.”
    If the alternative to accepting the Bible is eternal perdition in hellfire, then “god” should have created it in such a way that it is not open to interpretation or “understanding” “how” to read it.

    “The Bible is an accurate historical document.”
    Again, many resources exist that demonstrate how many events — including the historicity of “Jesus” — described in the Bible are either not corroborated by independent sources or greatly deviate from them.

    “Biblical Prophecy is fulfilled, proving Jesus was the messiah and God is real.”
    There is no independent evidence that either “god” or “Jesus” exist now or ever existed in human history; the claim is, therefore, irrelevant.

    “The advanced science knowledge in the Bible, proves divine influence.”
    “The advanced and accurate science in the Quran, proves divine influence.”
    There exists not a SINGLE scientific discovery made by virtue of reading/following/interpreting the Bible or the Qur’an. All such claims were made ex post facto, i.e. discovery made by scientists first, tenuously latching onto a vague verse decades or centuries later.

    “Jesus sacrificed himself for you and me, taking away our sins.”
    Apart from the fact that the historicity of a “Jesus” is highly questionable, I never asked to be “sinful” or for anyone to “sacrifice” him-/herself for me. Further, if I am “sinful,” then that is the fault of the “god” that “created” me such.

    “Many contemporary historians noted Jesus[.]”
    There is not a single one who did so.

    “Jesus was divine, proven by the resurrection, miracles and witnesses in the bible.”
    There is as much evidence for either “Jesus” or his opus being real as there is for the Little Mermaid, i.e. NONE.

    “People in the time of Jesus were credible and not gullible.”
    They were simple and uneducated, without access to what scientific information was available. In any event, not one single person alive at the time “Jesus” was supposedly shooting off miracles left and right made any kind of record of him or his actions.

    “We don’t follow [] all the laws of the Old Testament, because Jesus died for us.”
    Firstly, why do we follow ANY of them if “Jesus died for us”? Should not ALL of them have been abrogated by virtue of his death? Secondly, could an alternative explanation not be that we do not follow them because we have become civilized societies since the Bronze Age in which they were devised (such as stoning people for adultery)? We do not follow others because they are inconvenient (sacrificing livestock for various infractions or notable dates) or ridiculous (not wearing clothes made of mixed fabric) or harmful (“assessing” if a suspected adulteress is guilty by having her drink a cocktail of water and dust). Lastly, who selects which indeed are followed and which are not, and on what basis?

  2. The universe is too perfect for life to be an accident. (finely tuned by design)
    Let’s examine this finely tuned by design premise. The universe is so hostile to life that to think we humans got this far is amazing. If we leave this planet, we die instantly unless we take our atmosphere with us. Cosmic radiation is deadly.
    The Earth is quite hostile as well. Seventy-five percent of its surface is covered with water that we cannot drink because the salt content will kill us. If we venture into the ocean or lakes, we have to take our atmosphere there as well. Just swimming in the ocean is dangerous to us from predators. Tsunamis are a danger if we live near the coast.
    Earthquakes and volcanoes constantly threaten us. We can’t live at the poles because it’s much too cold for our frail bodies and no food grows there. That leaves about 20% of the land mass that’s accessible to us. Of that 20% there are mountains that are much too high to support our inefficient air intake system. And there are many desert areas that are much too hot for our inefficient cooling system.
    We must be very careful about the foods we eat because much of the plant life is poisonous. We must thoroughly clean our food to prevent the intake of bacteria. There are predators on the land that will kill us.
    We are constantly being threatened by viruses, bacteria and poisons.
    FINE TUNED INDEED!

  3. Macro-evolution is unproven and has never been observed.
    There is no such thing as macro-evolution (or micro-evolution). There is only evolution. Evolution is change in a species due to small changes in DNA. These changes aren’t always for the good. Nature is constantly changing species without plan or reason. If a change in a species is beneficial, it will be bred into future generations because the parent with the change survived to make offspring. If a change is not beneficial, there is a good chance the being with that change will die before making offspring.

  4. Answered Prayers & Miracles happen. Its documented, but you refuse to see.
    Prayers are not answered because there is no one to pray to. Here’s a solid question to give to a believer: Of all the people in the world who have lost a limb, there must have been at least one who believed enough that when he/she prayed to have the limb grow back, God would have provided a new limb for that person. Just one.
    Answers to prayers are coincidence at best.

  5. DNA is far too complex, to develop by chance. Its proof of Design.
    Almost every living thing on the planet shares the same DNA in different levels of complexity. The only ones that don’t share our DNA are some extremophiles that live deep in the ocean near hydrothermal vents. If you start with the most complex DNA (such as humans) and work your way back down the complexity chain, it can be traced all the way back to single celled animals.

  6. There are no intermediate (half and half) fossils.
    EVERY fossil is an intermediate fossil. Every fossil we find narrows the gap between them. Yes there are gaps that we continue to try to fill. The fossilization process is very complex and not all dead creatures become a fossil.

  7. There are no Inefficiencies in living organisms, which translates to design.
    If this were true, we could breath under water. Or creatures would never develop diseases. Cancer is an inefficiency in a cell which causes uncontrolled growth. If our food intake and processing were efficient, we would be able to use 100% of the food we intake. If our kidneys were more efficient, our waste production would be complete instead of leaving wastes in our blood stream (same for our liver). If our eyes were perfect, we wouldn’t need glasses.

  8. “Complex things must have a designer and complex design is everywhere, so god exists.”
    “Complex” is a normative term (i.e. can mean different things to different people). Many things that could be deemed complex occur through transparent natural processes, without any external intervention. In any case, if the Big Bang theory is true, then the origin of the universe was extremely simple: energy, which gradually and naturally converted into matter. There is no need for a “god” to explain any of it. By the way, which “god” are we talking about?

    “The W.L. Craig Kalam Cosmological Argument proves God [e]xists.”
    If everything needs to have a cause, then so does “god.” Who/what created “him”? And if the response is that “god” is “eternal” and needs no creator, then why can the same not hold true for the universe? By the way, which “god” are we talking about?

    “The universe is too perfect for life to be an accident. (finely tuned by design)”
    The universe is a total mess. If stars and planets were drivers, they’d all long have had their licenses revoked. they are born and they die every day, they bump into each other, they explode, they cause cataclysmic disasters to each other… – it happens over long period of time and is not readily visible… – until an asteroid hits us one day. Anyway, is it so inconceivable that on one out of trillions of planets during billions of years atoms and molecules aligned in just the right way as to give rise to a simple life-form, which then evolved over hundreds of millions of years into various species?

    “You have everything to lose if you’re wrong about God, so why not believe just in case?”
    Pascal’s Wager. (1) Would “god” accept such opportunism in lieu of genuine affection? (2) Which of the thousands of “gods” should one believe in, and what if one chooses wrongly? Statistically, the odds of choosing the “correct” “god” are much worse than the odds that no type of “god” exists at all.

    “You worship science, logic and yourselves, so Atheism is a Religion.”
    (1) What does it means to worship science?!? What does “worshiping” chemistry look like, exactly? (2) We do not worship logic. We use logic and the power of deduction — “given” to us, according to you, by your “god” — to perceive and assess the world around us, including various hypotheses and arguments. Should you not be praising your deity that we do not let “his” “gifts” atrophy? (3) We do not worship outselves. We merely recognize our value as individuals. We appreciate the human mental complexity and intellectual prowess. Is that not, in fact, more edifying vis-a-vis your “god” than acting like brainless parrots, imbibing and regurgitating doctrine without any critical thought? (4) Atheism is an absence of belief in the supernatural. How can an absence of religious sensibilities equate to religious belief? That is an oxymoron.

    “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist, so I am justified in believing he does.”
    “Atheism is not a justified position, since atheist claims are unproven.”
    (1) The burden of proof lies with the party making a claim. The claim is that a “god” exists; we refuse to accept that claim. If we claimed that leprechauns existed, would the burden be on us to prove it or on you to prove they do not? Q.E.D. (2) You can believe whatever you wish; that is a non-sequitur. On a personal level you are indeed justified to believe as you please, in the same way a schizophrenic is justified in believing the voices in his/her head are real. On an objective level, however, since you cannot prove the existence of a “god,” you are NOT justified to believe it.

    “Atheists are indoctrinated. (with science, reason, told to hate god & lied to)”
    It may be that some indeed declare themselves as atheists by virtue of persistent indoctrination. Most, however, turned to atheism after a period of intense introspection and logical though, and come from a background that contained religion to some degree. Rather, since religious belief is not innate, it is the religionists who are indoctrinated to believe.

    “It takes more faith to be an atheist.”
    It takes more faith to be an atheist in the same way it takes a lot of oxygen to make vacuum.

    “Non-believers choose to go to Hell. Jesus is not sending them there.”
    (1) If “god” had provided unequivocal proof of “his” existence and designs for us, there would be no atheists. We used our faculties of reason and logic to deduce that the notion of a “god” is an absurdity. (2) Is “god” not supposed to be omniscient? Would “he” thus not have known since the beginning of time what my eventual choice would be? Can it hence be said to be my choice at all? Am I not merely acting out a script know to and designed by your “god” at the moment of creation of spacetime?

    “Atheists ignore obvious evidence for creation. Its all around us.”
    “Life and Earths conditions couldn’t have happened by random chance.”
    You see evidence for creation. I see evidence for randomness, happenstance, coincidence: It is a simpler, more logical explanation (Occam’s Razor).

    “Atheists believe single cells transformed into humans. Talk about having faith.”
    That is not a belief nor is it based on faith. It is premised on sound evidence and empirical precepts of biology and chemistry.

    “Atheists are fools, with hardened hearts, so your logic can’t be right.”
    “Atheist words and actions are controlled by Satan himself.”
    Ad hominem. A self-fulfilling prophecy. We do not believe in “satan” either, so the statement is meaningless.

  9. “You don’t believe in Jesus, yet you celebrate his holidays.”
    I personally do not; those atheists who do enjoy the atmosphere rather than any religious facets. In any case, those holidays were originally pagan and were co-opted by Christians. Even the symbols attached to them (the tree, the bunnies, the eggs) are pagan in origin.

    “Islam is the religion of peace.”
    From its earliest days Islam has been an aggressive, expansionist philosophy. Muhammad’s hordes did not advance to Morocco, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Indonesia, or Mindanao by holding round-table panel discussions about the merits and demerits of various religions; they spread by conquest: through extortion and intimidation. Even today, when a group of Moslems gets together to make a public point, it is never to advance peace; rather, it is to start trouble or advocate starting trouble.

    “Islamic women and children want to follow the word of Allah.”
    Children under the age of reason cannot be said to want to embrace a particular ideology. As far as the women and kids (and males, too) who supposedly want to follow the “word of ‘allah’,” are they free to inform themselves and decide? Do they have as much freedom to reject the “word” of “allah” as they do to follow it?

    “If you won’t consider unexplained experiences as supernatural, you are close minded[.]”
    “Answered Prayers & Miracles happen. Its documented, but you refuse to see.”
    Previously unexplained phenomena have progressively been studied and explained through scientific research, and this continues to happen. Currently-unexplained occurrences are no more divinely actioned than were epileptic fits, sternutation (sneezing), thunder, and a bevy of other things in decades and centuries past. Just because something is unexplained does not mean the answer defaults to “god” or the/a “supernatural.” As far as prayers, there are far more documented cases of prayer not working. In fact, most incidences of the trauma of physical or mental abuse, accident, misfortune, malady, poverty, rape, crime, starvation, etc., etc. are proof of prayer not working.

    “God answers prayers with Yes, No or Wait[.]”
    In other words, it is totally random. If you flip a coin a hundred times, pray for heads, and the coin lands on the heads fifty times, it doesn’t mean that “god” answers prayer half the time. It means that prayer doesn’t work.

    “God answers my prayers all the time.”
    (1) You are asking for things likely to happen. (2) You make an effort to attain the things you ask for, thereby increasing the likelihood of them materializing.

    “I have visions of Jesus and his predictions in the vision have come true.”
    “My personal experience proves God exists. I can feel him. He talks to me.”
    (1) How are your “visions” and “personal experience” in any way different from hallucinations of someone on drugs or a schizophrenic? (2) People of other religions and of none experience “visions,” too, which come true. If anything, it is an indication of a possible “sixth sense” in human rather than being a vindication of your particular religion. (3) Individuals hearing voices that are inaudible to anyone else is a sign of a mental disorder: You may want to get yourself checked into an institution for observation.

  10. “God did it! When science can’t explain things completely or at all, the supernatural is a justified, reasonable belief.”
    “The supernatural” is merely one of dozens of other possibilities, and it is no more — and often far less — probable than any one of them. Tens of thousands of phenomena that were once unexplained have since been rationalized and explicated by science, eliminating any “divine” or “supernatural” element; the current mysteries are bound to be one day, too.

    “Religious beliefs should be respected and never challenged.”
    Religious beliefs are worthy of respect as much as a schizophrenic’s voices. Just because an individual has strong opinions does not make those opinions impervious to scrutiny, critique, and criticism.

    “God is not Evil. His actions are beyond our imperfect judgement.”
    This argument is a cop-out to try to evade the very logical proposition that if there existed a benevolent and caring god, the millions of atrocious, painful, inhuman events would not take place in the world every single day. The same system of morality and ethics we use to judge and control ourselves and others has to be applied to any “god.” If killing innocent people is a wrong thing to do by the human, it is the wrong thing to do by a “god.”

    “Morality is not explainable without God.”
    “Without divine and biblical morality, we can’t be good people.”
    Morality predates religion, and is explained by the concepts of natural law.

    “Eternal Damnation is a fair punishment for denying your savior.”
    (1) I didn’t ask to be created “sinful.” I have used my supposedly “god”-given abilities to reason, rationalize, discover, and deduce to critically assess the arguments presented by religionists, and have found them to be lacking. How is it fair that I be punished for either? (2) What about those who never heard the “good news” because they lived before it was construed or because they live(d) in different parts of the world? Do they suffer “eternal damnation”? If yes, how can it be considered equitable that they be punished for breaking a rule they never knew existed? If not, how is it fair that they be judged by a far lower standard than those of us who heard “the word” but dismissed it?

    “The United [S]tates is founded on Christian ideals. Its a Christian Nation under god.”
    The United States is founded on humanistic ideals. It is a nation of Christians (by virtue of demographic majority), but is not a Christian nation: The Constitution is unequivocal about that. As far as being “under ‘god’,” where was “god” when tens of thousands of our young men were being slaughtered in Vietnam?

    “The vast majority of the world believes in God. It must be true.”
    Argumentum ad populum. Majority belief proves nothing. At one time or another the vast majority believed all kinds of things, which were later on shown to be utter nonsense (rain indicated that the “gods” are sad; the Earth is a plate, etc.).

  11. “The genetic evidence doesn’t support evolution”
    If we had never found a single fossil, we would still know evolution was true thanks to the genetic evidence, that’s how strong it is.
    1. Ubiquitous genes: Not only do all organisms on Earth use the exact same DNA codes, but also, in many cases, the same genes. You can replace the cytochrome C gene in yeast with the cytochrome C gene from humans, insects or birds and the yeast cells don’t know the difference.
    2. General patterns: Humans are more genetically similar to chimps than to to dogs, more similar to dogs than to fish, more similar to fish than to lobsters, etc. If each species were created independently, we would not see this pattern. On the other hand, the pattern is perfectly explained by common descent.
    3. Specific changes:
    a. We see the same exact mutations in the same exact places in the same genes of both humans and chimps. In many cases, the mutations destroy the functioning of that gene. There would be no reason to purposefully mutate the genes in this manner, and the odds of having the same exact nucleotide altered in the same way in two species would be astronomical. The best explanation for this observation is that the mutation occurred only once in the common ancestor of chimps and humans. All of that ancestor’s descendants carry the mutation.
    b. Sometimes viruses get permanently fused into an animal’s genome. The descendants of this animal will all have the exact same viral sequence in the exact same place in their genomes. The same viral sequences in the same places can be found in both chimps and humans despite the fact that these viral insertion events are completely random.

  12. “The Big Bang fails to explain how something comes from nothing.”

    This common claim from theists merely demonstrates a lack of understanding of Big Bang Cosmology. The Big Bang Theory (BBT) does not in fact describe creation from nothing, but rather an expansion event that led to the formation of the universe as we know it. 
    BBT posits that all the matter in the universe was condensed into a singularity of infinite density, and that 13.7 billion years ago this singularity began rapidly expanding, creating the universe as we currently observe it. 
    The “cause” of this expansion is not yet understood, and in fact might not even be discernible. All the laws that we currently understand to govern the universe, including our concept of space-time, break down at the singularity. 
    Stephen Hawking has been quoted as saying that because events before the big bang have no observational consequences they may as well be cut out of the theory.
    The BBT does not preclude the possibility of the universe having always existed in some form, and that the BBT was merely the beginning of a new configuration of the universe.
    Whilst there are still several unresolved areas of big bang cosmology, the BBT is widely accepted by the scientific community as the best current explanation for the origin of the universe, and is supported by a variety of observational evidence including; the cosmic microwave background radiation, Hubble’s law and studies of galactic evolution.
    As with all areas of Science, the BBT is continually under scrutiny and subject to change dependant on new evidence.

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