What is the best way to stop your child becoming an atheist?

This is an old one, but I thought I’d share it just in case you hadn’t seen it yet. A couple years ago, somebody asked the following question on Yahoo! Answers:

What is the best way to stop your child becoming an athiest[sic]? I don’t want any of my children to be punished by God.

-JT (user no longer exists)

Most of the answers given were about what you may expect, following the “don’t scare them with religion/leave it up to them” route, but one particular answer must have charmed the pants off of everybody else, because it was chosen (by other users; not by the original asker) as the best one of the bunch:

Do not educate them, or expose them to critical thinking, logic or science.

Lie to them constantly about how the world works. Feed them a steady diet of mumbo jumbo dressed up like real knowledge – the jumbo jet in the whirlwind for example – and pretend that it is deep wisdom.

Make them loathe their own natural bodies and functions. Convince them they are small and weak and worthless and need redemption. Tell them everything enjoyable is grievously wrong to even think about, and that their only fun should be in grovelling to an invisible friend.

Ensure that they resent anyone who is not like them in every way – skin color, nationality, political opinion but especially creed. Make such people out to be evil and vile and give them – impotent minorities all – the fictional power to somehow oppress and persecute the vast majority who do think like you.

Teach them to laugh at and dismiss out of hand any faith but their own. Early – early mind you – make sure they are taught the difference between superstitious deadly error – that one raving lunatic in the desert told the truth about a vicious god who killed people, and divine eternal truth – that another raving lunatic in the desert told the truth about a vicious god who killed people.

Instruct them with all severity and import to never question for themselves – to never think for themselves – to never live for themselves – but to seek answers only in one – just one – particular set of semi-literate bronze age folk tales.

Above all – and this cannot be overemphasized – make sure they cannot spell, use correct grammar, or understand basic English words.

That should do the trick.

-David M

I think the final sentence about spelling and grammar was a bit unfair. Sure, a lot of theists show a particular lack of finesse in that department, but so do plenty of atheists. But it is what it is; despite that unnecessary jab at the end, I probably would have voted it as the best answer as well. Here’s a link to the original question/answer on Yahoo! Answers, so you may read some of the other answers offered to JT’s question.

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65 thoughts on “What is the best way to stop your child becoming an atheist?

    • Atheists cannot stop being retarded. Retardation is required to maintain their atheism. Its a self induced cognitive inhibition that is derived from their inherently dishonest and irrational outlook. They tend to be extremely glib, superficial, spiteful and arrogant and often continuously argue in fallacies. They have no idea how they make examples of themselves and how their methods, attitudes and reasoning are really one of the absolute best evidences that God exists that anyone actually pursuing truth, honestly and sincerely, can ever hope for. The way their atheism necessitates the most tenacious kind of dishonest intransigent irrationality, really highlights the absolute weakness and incoherence of their position better than any argument for the existence of God could ever manage, in my humble opinion.

  1. I would have added that the concerned parent should be aware of how insidiously critical thinking can enter a young mind and be on constant guard against it.

  2. I understand where the writer was coming from. I can empathize with his concerns and sincerely understand the basic premise of what he’s saying due to how some act while trying to adhere to religious methodology. But let me ask this: where would Einstein, who embraced Judaism, fall into this category? What about DaVinci, who while not formally educated, was educated and embraced Christianity (Catholicism)? Or, what about Goethe, who was incredibly educated and was a devout Christian (Protestant)? Lastly, what about Gahndi, who was likewise educated and a devout Hindu? Four men, who were highly educated men of science and law, much more so than the average man or woman of their era and yet each embraced the idea of a higher form of diety or God. These four men are still today consider the top minds to ever walk the face of earth in various areas of expertice. These men had an intellect that we could not even began to imagine how to measure. Yet each man believed. Can we honestly say that to educate is to eradicate the thought of religion? Not so sure.

    • So you’re saying Einstein was a theist? check your facts buddy. Though Gahndi was a great man, he was so for his work on social reform, not science or facts. Both DaVinci and Goethe were born in a different era, and so can’t quite be included.

      The fact that they were great and intelligent men does not mean every idea they ever had was a good one. That’s for unquestioning theists.

      • No Alex, you’ve missed my point. The author at the top of this page is stating that if one is educated, he or she would conclude that there is no God or higher being. My point was while I can understand what he’s saying, it’s not entirely true. The four men were highly educated in the areas of critical thinking, logic and science, yet all four were theists. Yes, DaVinci in the 16th Century through Einstein in the 20th. At the same time, there are uneducated people the world over who don’t believe either based upon various experiences and thoughts.
        So goes for educated individuals. There is no simple explanation. But to elude to what “David M.” wrote is just not right.

        Einstein was a practicing Jew. Gahndi studied law in the UK, which is critical thinking, logic and the application of facts.

        Again, the author’s writing, while popular holds no water.

        • I think the problem here is a misstep in logic.
          Just because A implies B does not mean non-B implies non-A.
          If a mouse eats cheese does not mean if you see a mouse eating it must be cheese.
          The article clearly states the only way to prevent atheism would be to do the above. It does not mean all intellegent people are atheists. He is only saying the only sure way to ensure that their child does not BECOME an atheist would be to block their critical thinking. Critical thinking does not an atheist make.

          Hope that clarifies things for people.

          • That may be, but the premise is still very flawed. The article states that critical thinking is a necessary condition for atheism. No critical thinking = no atheist. So no, he’s not saying that all smart people are atheists, but he IS saying that all atheists are smart people, which is…difficult to express how absurd that is.

            • The article does not say that… (You must be a theist since you don’t seem to have a firm grip on “the partial conversions of logical statements”… ha ha 8-)

              If I give you a list of predicates to a condition, say “How to be a millionare and never pay taxes: -first- get a million dollars and then, -second- never pay your taxes.” you do -not- get to select a subset of the predicates and say that it fulfills the dependent condition. In short, you can not say it is sufficent to never pay taxes to be a millionare who never pays taxes. Without the million dollars you are just a poor person who never pays taxes.

              So the article says that to ensure the child never becomes athiest he must be incapable of critical thought, but he must also have been conditioned accept only the one set of mad rantings as true, he must not be clear on how definition and grammar impact the truth of a statement, and so on.

              A person who is not good at critical though can indeed still become an athiest. A weekly indoctrinated person can become an athiest. There are a long list of ways people -can- become an athiest. None of them are -sure- to produce an athiest. But if you deprive the child in quesion of -all- of the means to acheive athiesm then they will remain theist.

              Keep all this in mind the next time someone says they don’t want to hear your views on something. They have not said they don’t think you should be allowed to hold those views. They just don’t want to hear them.

              So the primary article doesnt say “make sure they are not critical thinkers” or that’s not all it says. It says you must strip the child of all options for free thought and all consideration for the beliefs of others -and- raise them a theist -and- strip them of critical thought if you want to make sure they -never- wake up to athiesm.

              It’s as if -all- the words in an argument matter… strange hua… 8-)

        • It is beyond absurd that you think Einstein was a practicing Jew. If you are going to use examples to make your point at least make sure they are true. Einstein deplored the attempts by theists to make him sound religious and he spoke out against it. Einstein never had a personal god in his adult life and at best could be considered a pantheist but he was closer to an agnostic atheist. The attempts to rewrite his positions by theist are similar to the attempts to rewrite the last moments of Darwin and Thomas Paine. Neither one repented but theist continue to insist they did even though it has been thoroughly refuted

  3. Also an important point – everyone is born atheist – you only become religious if you have it thrust upon you from an early age. You don’t become atheist unless I suppose you have been indoctrinated in one of the many made up gods but then you see the light. Just a thought. Thanks for posting Dave. Good luck, keep holding on to the truth.

  4. If I really wanted to stop my child becoming a card-carrying atheist I think I’d simply show them the answer above (“Do not educate them, or expose them to…”) and thanks to the upbringing they’d already received to date they’d quickly see what a bigoted, uninformed view it is. That answer has such a narrow view and contains such a bitter tone that it’s laughable it is regarded as the “epitome” of “rational” atheism. People like that do the best job of making atheists look like fools in much the same way that all the crazy fundamentalist religious people give the REAL spiritual people a bad name. No real spiritual person would be close to encompassing HALF of the description given in that answer. If you’re a rational person – atheist or religious or spiritual – you don’t paint a whole swath of people in such ridiculous broad strokes – and you don’t “big up” the fool who does.

    • Who said this was the “epitome of rational atheism”? :D Yeah, it’s a good reply but it hardly represents the whole atheist community. Maybe theists should take a look at all the damage they have done in the name of religion throughout history and then we’ll see whether or not we have the right to generalise.

  5. As a theist, I feel I ought to offer a humble response to the brilliant challenge offered here:

    “Do not educate them, or expose them to critical thinking, logic or science.”
    Ok, well, maybe it’s not all brilliant. But I’m sure it gets better.

    “Lie to them constantly about how the world works. Feed them a steady diet of mumbo jumbo dressed up like real knowledge – the jumbo jet in the whirlwind for example – and pretend that it is deep wisdom.”
    Do you really think that people that believe in God would be lying to their children when they tell them God exists, or is this an example of atheists taking the absolute least charitable view of their opponents. An example of them resenting, laughing at and dismissing others. This is an important point that will come up later.

    “Make them loathe their own natural bodies and functions. ”
    No mainstream Christian does this. This is a pathetic example of a straw man, and the author seems to be a pyromaniac among a field of them.

    “Convince them they are small and weak and worthless and need redemption. ”
    If you don’t think that you need redemption then the arrogant world of the atheist is indeed the place to go. As for being worthless, that view seems more at home among the atheistic tribe than anywhere else. Displacement?

    “Tell them everything enjoyable is grievously wrong to even think about, and that their only fun should be in grovelling to an invisible friend.”
    Look at that straw man burn!

    “Ensure that they resent anyone who is not like them in every way – skin color, nationality, political opinion but especially creed. Make such people out to be evil and vile and give them – impotent minorities all – the fictional power to somehow oppress and persecute the vast majority who do think like you.”
    It would be sad if the author didn’t recognize the self condemning nature of his comments. So, to summarize the post, theists are:
    1- unexposed to critical thinking, logic, and science
    2- habitual liars, and to their kids no less
    3- self hating
    4- racists and generally bigots
    5- Blind followers
    6- and most devastatingly, bad at grammar and spelling.
    Luckily the atheist doesn’t engage in resentment or dismissive behaviors.
    As for impotent minorities oppressing theists, Google the ADF and take a look at their cases.

    “Teach them to laugh at and dismiss out of hand any faith but their own. Early – early mind you – make sure they are taught the difference between superstitious deadly error – that one raving lunatic in the desert told the truth about a vicious god who killed people, and divine eternal truth – that another raving lunatic in the desert told the truth about a vicious god who killed people.”
    Try taking off your knee-jerk, self congratulatory atheist hats for a moment and try some of that vaunted logic. According to this thinking, if option A is shown to be false, then option B, which is somewhat similar, must also be false. A crushing critique. Imagine that we are in a hallway in a burning building trying to find a way out. The hallway extends to the right and left and we don’t know which way leads to the exit. After running down the left route we come to an end in a conference room. No way out. The atheist then sits on his hands and says, “The left path failed, and the right path is just another hallway, so the building must not be on fire.”
    I am so glad the self-proclaimed critical thinkers were here to save us.

    “Instruct them with all severity and import to never question for themselves – to never think for themselves – to never live for themselves”
    I can picture the author sitting there, cackling maniacally, screaming “burn, straw man, burn, bwahahahahahahaaha”

    “but to seek answers only in one – just one – particular set of semi-literate bronze age folk tales.”
    Yeah, because if something’s old, it can’t be true. I wonder if they thought that 2+2=4. What if another tribe didn’t believe that, would it then be silly to believe that one particular tribe’s bronze age beliefs were true? Apparently so.

    “Above all – and this cannot be overemphasized – make sure they cannot spell, use correct grammar, or understand basic English words.”
    Ouch.

    • You too have failed.

      The article -never- makes the claims you seem to “restate” for it, on it’s behalf.

      The original article -only- asserts what you must deprive a child of in order to ensure that it -never- -can- become an athiest.

      It makes no claim that critical though -will- cause a child to become an athiest. It also never claims persons possessing critical thought -must- become athiests.

      See, you need to go look up “Carl Sagan’s Balony Detection Kit”. There are these common mistakes people make when thinking. You have made several of these mistakes and made them multiple times. The worst mistake was getting defensive. The most prevalant was not understanding that “arguing to the inverse” and “arguing to the converse” are not valid tactics.

      Lets pretend that “all fish live in water” (Not a strict truth, but let’s pretend it is).
      The inverse is “what is not a fish does not live in water” (clearly false).
      The converse is “all that lives in water is a fish” (clearly false).
      The contrapositive is “all that does not live in water is not a fish” (always true).

      So every time in your life that people have said “conversely” or “inversely” to you in an argument, you shuld have stopped them and said “prove it”.

      So you have victimized yourself, mayrtered yourself on the sentiments of the article because you took its assertion and decided that the article was true to its inverse. You have decided that the predicates of athiesm must be universally inverse to the predicates of theism, and then painted others with your flawed view.

      The article says “deny a child all these things and they will remain theist”, you have clamed the article says “provide a child any one of these things and they will invariably become athiest”.

      Oddly enough, your failure at this most basic lesson in constructive logic and core competency in critical thought undermines your own position because you have demonstrated that you have -demonstrated- that you do not have a firm basis in critical thinking… Sorry…

  6. none of the hundreds of so called gods that there have been in history have ever been real… end of story.

    • Hmm. If there was no “the real thing,” why would people make counterfeits of it? No one makes counterfeit Jurongis b/c that currency simply does not exist, but counterfeit US dollars flood the capital markets because people know that the USD is real and that it has real purchasing power. The hundreds of counterfeit gods could just as well be proof that the real thing must exist.

        • Hi there,

          Please consider the context of my reply. I was simply objecting to the previous poster who claimed that the hundreds of gods (taking as given that they are fake) is proof that there is no god. I am arguing that such a conclusion is not inevitable.

          As for your unrelated question, I don’t claim there’s proof for my God. It’s called faith, just like with any other relationship. You can’t get to know someone until you decide to try. You just have to take the next step and take the leap of faith — accept Jesus Christ and confess your sins. Please don’t immediately shun this step as irrational and “religious/ non-scientific.” Sure, we call it “faith” but you science-types have the same thing, you just call it something else — “leap of premise.” Everyone and every world view have their own set of first principles that they accept without evidence, a worldview/framework that they necessarily accept in order to be able to look at and interpret everything else in the world through that framework.

          To quote C.S. Lewis, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

          Hope that clarifies.

          • Does not work for me. Thomas Jefferson: “To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of NOTHINGS. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial, is to say they are NOTHINGS, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those of which we have NO EVIDENCE.” The Founding Father of Modern India – Jawaharlal Nehru – was also of the same view as Thomas Jefferson.

  7. Listen, David. What you wrote about Christians/non-atheists was 100% unfair. Yes, there are a LOT of Christians out there with behavior much like that. I’ve seen them, I’ve met them. But the fact is your answer was just as stereotypical as it was to say this.
    “To make sure your child stays atheist, just make sure he is a self absorbed wad of cruelness to anyone who thinks there is a God. Make sure he thinks that by being educated he is better than everyone else. Make sure he thinks that just because someone ISN’T Atheist, they are therefore ashamed of who they are because of their ‘God’, hate anyone who doesn’t believe exactly what they do.”
    You were absolutely wrong in every way to believe what you wrote was a fact, and are even more wrong to think it is now. I’m VERY Christian, I’m VERY, religious. But I have friends who are Jewish, Atheist, Buddhist, etc. I don’t hate people for it. My religious book, my BIBLE, does not say to hate! It says to love each person as my neighbor, to treat them kindly and leave Jesus to do the judging. It says we are all forgiven, and we are made right when WE choose to be.
    Who are YOU to say that worshipping Him isn’t ‘fun’? Who are YOU to say things we do that are religious aren’t FUN? You wouldn’t know, sir, because you haven’t done it all. You have no proper convictions to lay false and very offensive claims, generalizing all non-atheists like that.
    Try actually reading the Bible at more than just a level one view. Read INTO it. You’ll actually see pretty much EVERYTHING you wrote is very, very, VERY wrong.
    Please, feel free to answer me. And be nice about it, since I was to you. I do not condemn you because you condemned me.

  8. It’s been a while since the last time someone’s commented on this…anyway, I agree completely with David M. (besides, of course, the thing about spelling/grammar). This truly is the only way to stop your kids from being atheist.

  9. If you are under the delusion , that if people didn’t have religion they wouldn’t find other things to kill each other over, you are kidding yourself. As long as there are greedy political leaders out there, there will be people finding ways to make the weak minded into fulfilling their ways. If someone is intellectual in all other facets of life, but they believe Capt. Crunch is the Great Architect of the Universe, someone else will find a way to exploit this, if their is something of value to be gained. You don’t have to take religion away from people, let them have their crutches, you need take out the people manipulating ancient doctrine for their own agendas. The Big Bang theory is just as ridiculous a concept as organized religion, Darwinism and being Solipsistic. There is no right answer or correct belief system. No one person will ever know until after they are dead. Will their souls move on to another plane of existence, will they come back as a camel, will they get lots of virgins or will they just take a nice long dirt nap and nothing else? Who knows? I treat each person as an individual instead of lumping them into mass groups. I might be Lutheran, but that one fact does not define me. I may live in NJ, but that doesn’t mean I had never lived out of this state and have awesome life experiences to draw from. I say, as long as you are a good person and do good things for other people, believe whatever you want and I’ll respect your convictions. I just ask, you please don’t force your beliefs or your non-beliefs, down my throat.

  10. The vast majority of theists are not like that, it’s that vocal minority who is out there making waves and attempting to force their beliefs on others who gives the rest of us a bad name.

    While this is true for some theists it is also true of some atheists. I have met quite a few of them who hold up their atheism as a religion while dismissing and denying the validity of faith. The most common response I receive when questioning their faith in there being no God is that His existence can not be proven. When asked if His existence can be disproved they, more often than not, either fail to see the limitations of science or deny the possibility that there are things it can not explain.

    Things we take for granted today would be seen as magic by our grandparents. Who is to say that someday, when we better understand the workings of the multiverse, we won’t find God?

    • wow really? atheism is not a religion! & the burden of proof falls on the person who is claiming the extraordinary claims of gods, or god. There is no shame not knowing.The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior
      Fill the vacuum left by ignorance.
      Neil deGrasse Tyson

      (a-the-ism) disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

      • I suppose you fail to see the similarities between viewing someone who doesn’t share your beliefs as a Godless heathen and viewing them as irrational and ignorant.

        My point is to live and let live, keep your judgment to yourself, and live life the way that brings you fulfillment.

        Isn’t that the same thing I so often hear from atheists?

        Little snips at people, like the “answer” the author linked, are no different from standing on someone’s lawn with a sign condemning them to Hell.

        • you don’t get to call atheism a belief, or a religion, it’s not any of those. And
          Religion needs to be treated with ridicule, and hatred, and contempt! & anyone who claims it as truth needs to be ridiculed for their belief. Religion should be governed by the first rule of fight club!

          it’s your hell you burn in it!

          • “Religion needs to be treated with ridicule, and hatred, and contempt! & anyone who claims it as truth needs to be ridiculed for their belief.”

            I would say that anyone who is convinced in the infallibility of their belief, and just because your belief is in the absence of something does not make it any less of a belief, is guilty of self delusion.

            There is no way you can be certain any of your facts are absolute. Take chemistry or physics, some of the basic laws have been proven false as our understanding grows.

            As to people deserving to be treated with “ridicule, and hatred, and contempt” because of their personal beliefs, that reflects much worse on you than it does on those you hold in such low regard. Everything you have written reminds me of fundamentalist hypocrites, only your position is reversed, none of the disrespect for other people’s right to self-determination is missing from your supposedly enlightened position.

            Also, whose Hell is it? Theist does not necessarily a Christian make.

            • religion needs to be treated with ridicule, and hatred, and contempt, & people’s beliefs in it too. Yes I said it, people who believe in such horrid, disgusting, trash are stupid, as in “not intelligent” & your statement saying atheist can’t disprove a supernatural being is so stupid it hurts my face, & the worst of it is you don’t even see it. Sometimes people hold to a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore an even deny anything that doesn’t fit with the core belief or their world view. It’s the one who is posing the extraordinary claims who has to prove it. There is no other way that’s how it’s done no if and’s or buts! maybe you miss spoke or you weren’t thinking right when you wrote that. atheism isn’t a faith or a religion or a belief. & religion is a horrid cancer on humanity and needs to be wiped off the face of our planet, that & capitalism.
              & yeah you said something about hell, & when ever I see someone using that I say it’s your hell you burn it..

              Peace

              • “…your statement saying atheist can’t disprove a supernatural being is so stupid it hurts my face.”

                Why is it stupid? Can you disprove the existence of God any more than they can prove it? Do tell.

                I’m familiar with cognitive dissonance, in fact I’m seeing it in your replies, or perhaps it would be better described as cognitive disequilibrium. You have reached the point where you realize that irrationally lashing out at others, if at this point your concept of others is severely limited by your own belief system, is bad and should be done away with for the good of society as a whole. Unfortunately you have not yet regained equilibrium and progressed to the point where you realize that your own hatred and outright dismissal of the beliefs held by another are no different from those of them who would hold you in contempt for your disbelief.

                Of course it could still be cognitive dissonance, that all depends on whether you are able to grow out of your blinded state and accept others, or if you prefer to partake in dissonance reduction in an attempt to reinforce your own bias.

                “It’s the one who is posing the extraordinary claims who has to prove it.” Alas, the “must prove” only applies if you wish to sway another to your way of thinking. People who only wish the atheist version of Westboro to treat others, even with wildly divergent beliefs, with some modicum of respect and human decency are not required to prove anything beyond the simple common sense practice of giving respect to you fellow man.

                “…religion is a horrid cancer on humanity and needs to be wiped off the face of our planet.”

                No, intolerance and hatred are the cancer, and they can take root in an atheist just as easily as in a theist.

                “…you said something about hell, & when ever I see someone using that I say it’s your hell you burn it.”

                What I said was:

                “Little snips at people, like the “answer” the author linked, are no different from standing on someone’s lawn with a sign condemning them to Hell.”

                That was not a reference to Hell as a place of eternal damnation, but a comparison between intolerance and baseless judgment shown by fundamentalists on both sides of the spectrum. Whether it be picketing a funeral, or writing slanderous rants behind the safe anonymity of your Yahoo pseudonym, treating others as being less than yourself because they aren’t part of your echo chamber is the same immature xenophobia displayed by both perpetrators and needs to be called out by those who believe we can learn to accept on another as we are without feeling the burning desire to turn the world into clones of ourselves.

                • Look you seem to be very mixed up, either you are very young & you don’t know or you are just uneducated about the basic facts of who has the burden of proof. Look it up, as your high school teacher or one of your friends.
                  When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. “If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed” (Argument from ignorance) (AKA) “argumentum ad ignorantiam” or “appeal to ignorance” (where “ignorance” stands for: “lack of evidence to the contrary”), is a fallacy in informal logic. Now I know people like you, I have had many debates & as soon as they try this crap with me I stop typing, it’s like trying to reason with a 3 year old. The Burden of proof always falls on the party making the claims, even in a court of law. If I tell you that I have a Million dollars and you’ll get half if you send me all your information, wouldn’t you want proof that this money exist? & then you ask me to prove it and I tell you that you have to prove that I don’t have it. ask anyone around you, who has this burden. It is absurd for anyone to say that they have to prove an extraordinary claim is false. Now since I can’t really know that there is no creator, that’s fine I don’t care all the evidence says there isn’t one. just because something can’t be explained doesn’t mean it was created by a god. Christianity is one of those violent religions on out planet, it advocates the best way to beat slaves, misogynistic, infanticide. the list is exhaustive. even today people are still being burned alive in Africa for being Witches. what is more
                  The Catholic Church simply is more concerned about stopping contraception at this moment, than stopping the rape of children. Remember science flies us to the moon, Religion flies you into buildings. I am done with you I don’t wanna waist my time trying to reason with a child like attitude. You are so ill-informed that you are useless to even go any further.

                    • If I were saying what you appear to think I was saying you would be correct, though apparently completely devoid of any skills required for civility in debate.

                      “Alas, the “must prove” only applies if you wish to sway another to your way of thinking. People who only wish the atheist version of Westboro to treat others, even with wildly divergent beliefs, with some modicum of respect and human decency are not required to prove anything beyond the simple common sense practice of giving respect to you fellow man.”

                      I tried answering you on the level you pretend to operate, let’s try in in words fit for the kiddies now.

                      They only have to prove something they’re trying to convince you of. There is no burden of proof to support the existence of God when you aren’t trying to convince someone He exists.

                      The whole exchange can be summed up by Wheaton’s rule: “Don’t be a dick!”

                      It is possible that you require the burden of proof for such a simple common sense statement to be on me, but if that is the case you are beyond the range I am willing to debate with. Requesting civility and proving the divine are worlds apart, perhaps you should take a moment to read over what was written again with every attempt made to pay attention to what was said rather than skimming it and filling in the rest with your personal bias.

                      The first comment did have something to do with theism, and while it asked that someone disprove the divine, it did so in an effort to point out that either side is welcome to believe what they like, but when it comes to rubbing out the personal beliefs of another free individual, then the burden of proof lies on you every bit as much as it lies on them when convincing you to believe as they do.

                      Every effort you make to change what I said to some sort of support for Christianity rather than pointing out your hypocrisy is amusing at best, and every little quip you make about youth or ignorance doesn’t hold any sting when your arguments seem to be pulled from a Cracker Jack box and thrown at random against arguments they have little to do with.

                      As for your quip about age or education. I’m likely old enough to be your father, and my education is extended and in a hard science background, though my electives tended towards philosophy and ethics.

                    • it’s that Liam Phoenix kid, he just doesn’t want to concede that he is quite wrong about this one issue of burden of proof. I have said many times that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but Not to their own facts. Thanks for the complement.

            • I didn’t say that people should be treated with “ridicule, and hatred, and contempt” again you impute the (red herring fallacy) in this. I said Religion needs to be treated with “ridicule, and hatred, and contempt”. And let me say that there is nothing wrong with being ignorant about anything or young, the wrong part is not accepting that there could be a chance that someone could be wrong because they are young & ignorant (lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man.) everyone on this planet is “this” to things they are not trained in. So you are ignorant of what ignorant actually means, & that’s OK.
              And you asking “someone disprove the divine” is not the same as saying everyone is welcome to believe what ever they like. I don’t choose to be an atheist i just am, I was born that way, everyone is born that way, so it’s not something I “believe” in. Most of what you keep writing back in replies makes no sense to me, so I pick out the sentences that do and build on that. I’m reading through my email & see what (you wrote & I QUOTE) “but when it comes to rubbing out the personal beliefs of another free individual, then the burden of proof lies on you every bit as much as it lies on them when convincing you to believe as they do.” What? I can’t control people, places, & things, what is more I never said or implied to “rubbing out” anyone’s religious beliefs. That would be impossible, but what is possible is through education, belief in gods can be wiped out. And then you say yet again ((“then the burden of proof lies on you every bit as much as it lies on them when convincing you to believe as they do”))
              You see it’s statements like this that I can see you are really lacking in the proper skills it takes to carry out a coherent conversation regarding these issues. you remind me of some of those people who call into the “The Atheist Experience” shows. I can see you are getting extremely uncomfortable and you don’t know what to say so you keep putting the (red herring).
              did you ask anyone like your school teacher (if you have one) or any of your friends about burden of proof? & only talk of (burden of proof) this applies to everything in life.

              • Hi there,

                You seem to be taking as a given that “through education, belief in gods can be wiped out.” (quoting you). Seeing what you write about “burden of proof,” it also appears that you’re taking as a given that the neutral baseline is to be “born that way” (quoting you), born with a worldview that contains no god.

                Perhaps I can interest you in a theory advanced by a Professor at the University of Oxford. Fyi, it’s unknown whether he is an atheist.

                http://simulism.org/The_Simulation_Argument

                This is just one non-faith based, 3-step argument for an intelligent designer. Not exactly an argument for the personal God from Scripture, but enough to demonstrate this simple idea:

                The miracle is NOT that we have a Creator.

                A world with no intelligent designer is not the obvious neutral baseline assumption. In other words, there is no special burden of proof on the theist.

                The miracle is NOT that we have a Creator. The miracle is that He should care, care so much for each and every one of us. Even if you were the only person alive in the whole world, He would have surely sent His only son to die on the cross so that you may live in His presence forever. How easily we take this for granted! If I were a god, I probably would’ve just scraped the project and moved on to work on Earth 2.0.

                John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

  11. In regards to the friendly “burden of proof” discussion going on in the comments here, I would like to say just one thing.

    An atheist isn’t necessarily one who says “God does not exist,” but rather one who takes the claim that god does exist and says “no, you haven’t convinced me of it.” When approached this way, the person whom the burden of proof lands upon should be clear.

    If this is still too confusing to understand, perhaps this comic will clear it up a bit more:
    http://atheistdave.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/religious-logic/

    • That is not the attitude I take issue with. I’ve read through your blog, and while I do find things I disagree with, I don’t see the type of general hatred that I find to be so frustrating.

      My intent is not to call someone out for being an atheist, I have quite a few friends who are and have no issue with their lack of belief, it has been to compare the intolerance I see being lobbed back and forth like grenades.

      I think most people, both theist and atheist, are more interested in living their lives without someone looking down on them for the beliefs they hold. There are the occasional evangelicals, in the atheist camp as well, whose attitudes of superiority is not conducive to what I see as the ultimate goal we should all have.

      Be it the Christian “Judge not” line, or any host of quotes from other religions, secular philosophers, and even occasionally pop culture. We all need to learn to live and let live. Attacking people for their belief when they have done no wrong to you or yours brings those who do it down to the level of being a caricature of the worst in those they claim to represent like Westboro is for Christians.

      • What I called you out on was you saying that atheist have to prove there is not god. that was the issue really, & you don’t see it that way, when actually that is how science works. Even though I can’t prove there is no god, or higher power, a creator, there is no proof for it. I am not superstitious, & I am an atheist to all gods unless other wise there is proof. the Catholicism is just horrendous & I will publicly speak out against it people who want to impose their horrid beliefs on others. making laws based on the bible. people think that religion is off the table
        when it comes to ridicule, if there is an unjust law people have no problem when
        there are protest, but OMGOSH you can’t speak out against religion because it’s a faith, that is utterly ridiculous. The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune From criticism , satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought Becomes impossible. Religion is not off the table, religion is not off limits, religion makes specific claims about the universe, witch need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged and if necessary need to be ridiculed with contempt. If you wanna believe in some sky daddy that’s your problem, I refuse to live in such fear, & i will publicly speak out against and ridicule people who would pose their stupid beliefs onto others or try and push this into our public schools, I had to tell my sons teacher that my kid will not stand and say the pledge of allegiance because it has “under god” in it, she was horrified at my request & took it to the school administration. We both got letters telling her to basically back off that I had every right to tell my kid not to stand and say such a stupid things. You see these are the issues I will take a stand against. And speaking of the Westboro baptist Church, they are true Christians! that’s what Christianity was like before logic, facts, evidence, science, common sense, Proof, reasoning, thinking, intelligence, feasibility, confirmation took hold. Westboro baptist Church takes their religion from the old testament. It’s fascism.

        To quote Gore Vidal “The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal–God is the
        Omnipotent Father–hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates.”
        If being opposed to hateful racist, misogynistic, gay hating, science restricting faith based religion is wrong then so be it!

        countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates” .

      • Those are different things. If you “live the way this post keeps resurrecting itself” that would mean that you attempt to allow yourself to lie fallow and ignored, but people keep tripping over you and deciding to revive you a little.

        And -then- you attribute your rising to your own animus.

        (The post doesn’t resurrect itself, people keep resurrecting it, which is different.)

        Exact Words Marcia!

        (This message brought to you via my post pointless meeting contrariness and offered somewhat tongue in cheek.)

  12. Ah yahoo plants its foot down on atheists… “This question has been… per community guidelines.”

  13. Dave, in the penultimate sentence, I think your namesake was having a go at the misspelling of the word “atheist” itself by the questioner!! Quite fair, in my view, and like every word in David M’s immortal reply, I thoroughly enjoyed it!! You really have to be stupid, uneducated, or both to be a “believer” in this day and age…

  14. You know what just popped up on my screen? A Christian advertisement “Yes, I want to Become A Children of God” !!!! I rest my case.

  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence – for the debate team ;)

    @bleachback – Your anger is evident, which causes the appearance of a lack of intelligence. You mispoke and misspelled quite a bit, while the person you were primarily debating with did not.

    What you did is called flaming, don’t brag about calling someone stupid as your primary defense.

    You spent more time ridiculing someone for not taking your side than you did rationally approaching your side and delivering it to them (and us) as to why you are right. As far as the “burden of proof” that you both pulled on so fervently, lack of proof is not proof. Innocent until proven guilty is the best simile here. I can prove neither that there is, or is not a god, therefore I will attempt to prove niether.

    “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”~ Carl Sagan
    No proof that God (take your pick) exists does not prove that god does not exist.

    Long story short, until any of you have PROOF(not a lack thereof), this conversation is pointlessly empty. So play nice with others, try to be a generally good person, and help make the world a little less shitty would ya!

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  17. I really hope this person made a copy of this answer.. Because it is the best answer. But only if you have an exact copy of this whole question and answer seen here. Just not in a way that most would think. All you have to do is give the child a copy of the answer seen here, and let him compare and think for himself. Or course we all know, it will probably be after years of you helping your child with there homework and studies, teaching them about critical thinking and logic, helping them write papers with correct grammar, not to mention being around christian’s and non christian’s who make good grades. Then hopefully when you show them this answer as it appears they will better understand how ignorant, both christian’s and non christian’s can be in the world today. Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Answers like the one David M has given, christian’s or Non christian’s are nothing but careless and ignorant, nothing more, nothing less.. It can be a thorn in your side for the rest of your life seeing how it is now all over the world. A lot of times it is best not to let your emotions type your words, no matter your religion. Luke 21:14-15 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. Praise Jesus! Love you all!

  18. The question was how to PREVENT children from becoming atheists. Feeding them the incredible crap that religion, anti-science and general superstition preaches is almost guaranteed to CREATE atheists from even the dullest of children.

    Human infants are generally not stupid. If they are fed shit, just to survive, they will most likely find real food, real wisdom and become humanists, as opposed to theists, ie, ATHEISTS—that is what the original poster wanted to avoid! Jeez!

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