Never Argue With An Atheist

The entirety of atheism can be summed up in four words, “There is no God”. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. There are many people who believe that there is no God understand that there really isn’t anything else to say on the subject, and therefore they talk about other things. Some atheists feel the need to elaborate on their position, but quickly realize that there is nothing else to say, so they resort to attacking other people’s beliefs. Arguing with people who believe in some kind of spiritual power is the atheist version of evangelism.

There is no reason whatsoever for anyone of any faith tradition to engage an atheist in debate. Doing so serves no purpose. It is always a waste of time.

I am not saying that people of faith should not examine their own beliefs. It is always beneficial for a religious person to ask questions about their religion. All religions have stories — or myths — that contain fantastic elements. Believers are wise to give serious consideration to these stories, and to decide whether they believe them literally, metaphorically or not at all. The question of why God — Allah, Wakan Tanka, Krishna &c, — allows evil to exist, known as “the Problem of Evil”, is one that people of all traditions have wrestled with for millenia, and is worth thinking about. All individuals experience difficulties in life, which cause some to question whether any deity exists or has any effect in their lives. Everyone will experience doubt about deeply held convictions at times, and there is nothing wrong with thinking those doubts through. Certainly, through the process of examining, questioning and doubting, some will come to the conclusion that they do not believe what they once did. I wish them well.

For those who continue on, in whatever faith tradition seems best to them, religion offers more opportunity to learn and grow than any human being can hope to exhaust in their lifetime. The devout Jew, Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist can spend decades studying their sacred texts and not scratch the surface of the wisdom that can be obtained. Of course, such study will only be enhanced by frequent discussion by other believers — whether of one’s own tradition, or an open-minded member of another faith — and by much meditation and contemplation. It should, but unfortunately does not, go without saying that all of the world’s faith traditions are completely compatible with science — they are separate disciplines, dealing with different spheres of knowledge. Against all this are atheists, who offer nothing, no belief whatsoever.

There are no proofs, either for or against the existence of God, by whatever name. There is no claim that anyone can make in opposition to or in support of any kind of deity or spiritual being that will lay the matter to rest. Many will claim that they can absolutely prove that their side is the right one — they can’t. For atheists, the argument is the limit of their position. There is nowhere else they can go, nothing else they can learn. For the believer, the argument is a distraction from the depths of wisdom. Though neither the atheist nor the believer will ever win the argument, the believer will always lose, because they waste time and energy they could spend better on deepening their understanding, even if they just stare at the stars for an hour.

It is certainly difficult to avoid the temptation to argue with atheists. They try to make it so. It is always better to simply ignore them, no matter what claim they make. As people of faith — whatever our faith may be — we have access to worlds that atheists can’t perceive. The best way for us to entice them to consider whether or not we have something of value is not to argue with them — that is playing their game on their field by their rules — but to live fully in our faith. If we truly believe, then we hold the position that the existence of God is not debatable. Let us not debate it.



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