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Ever had the experience that arguing with the religious about atheism reduces to the same old arguments repeated over and over? That’s because most apologists work from a common set of tactics from a handbook that they can use over and over and over. This handbook was kept top secret – until now! This exclusive look at apologist tactics confirms what most atheists already know – that the religious have a common set of arguments, all long since debunked and destroyed, that at least 90% of them use.
During your sojourns as a religious apologist on the internet, you will inevitably have the urge to address those who have no religious belief. Atheists, infidels, nonbelievers, freethinkers, or whatever they call themselves today require some advanced witnessing tactics that you will find in this manual.
As an apologist for your religion, you are no doubt in on the scam, and are interested in perpetuating it. If not, cease reading immediately and return this manual, then resume normal witnessing activity. Nothing happened here. If you’re still reading this, please consult the chapters on standard apologist tactics, namely the basics on using emotional manipulation, semantic sophistry, deception, and fallacious reasoning to your advantage.
Your goal with atheists is not to argue logically and give solid evidence for the existence of your deity (you can’t do this, after all), but rather to annoy, harass, distract, and lie about the atheists you engage with. With any luck, some of them will get exasperated enough to join your faith, or at least stop bringing up our many, many failings.
Know Thy Opponent
Part of witnessing to nonbelievers effectively is knowing what a majority of them value. It is generally safe to assume that atheists value the following:
- Atheists value evidence.
- Atheists value critical thinking.
- Atheists value science as a means for determining truth.
The importance of this is to know what to attack atheists with, never to actually try to understand them. Take every opportunity to jab at atheists to undermine these values, as they tend to reveal the most succulent of rage & tears. It is NOT important to know what atheism actually means; in fact, this will work to your detriment (More below in the semantic sophistry section). Do not ever worry that you’re copying tactics; atheists are not aware of this handbook (and you must help keep it this way!) and seem to have plenty of patience for addressing the same tired arguments, over and over, with no sign of stopping. That they can’t get their shit together is clear evidence apologists are so effective at harassing and distracting from more important issues.
The great thing about atheists is that they are trivially easy to bait due to so many of them being infatuated with being right. Even knowing that they are dealing with fundamentally dishonest individuals (that’s you), most will never demand that you acknowledge that you’ve had one of your “concerns” answered or points refuted. Most sections have some fantastic openings to use, along with suggestions. On Twitter, be sure to include proper tags such as #atheist, #atheism, #AtheistRollCall, and #AtheistHotline.
Another thing to remember is that you should save your openers as it’s exceedingly rare that anyone will call you out for using the same attack from week to week. Some apologists still get play out of great lines like “what’s the proof and evidence for atheism?” even long after having it debunked multiple times. Never worry that a line has been done before; atheists generally exhibit the memory span of fruit flies and a new crop of people will spring up to have their time wasted with each reused attack.
Pressing the Attack
Once you have an atheist or two nipping at your proverbial heels, it’s important to remember a few things:
- Keep cool. Let the infidel go into a tizzy so you can later accuse them of being an “angry atheist”. In fact, accuse them of being enraged as early as possible. This works wonders because so many atheists have a knee-jerk reaction to deny whatever you say instead of realizing that giving a damn about what emotional state a con artist wants them to be in is dumb. Accusing them of being angry with your god usually does the job here. If you don’t feel like keeping cool, no problem. When you’re angry, it’s righteous indignation, and you have a mandate from your deity to not tolerate even the existence of non-believers. When an infidel is angry, it’s a glaring sign of weakness.
- Master the Gish Gallop. If you smell the slightest whiff of your argument crumbling and your attempts to use “nuh uh!” arguments aren’t working, just change subject to one of the many listed below. Hell, change it twice before they even have a chance to respond. If you can bury them under an avalanche of attacks, then you clearly have proven your religion true.
- If you sense they’re getting bored or not responding, feel free to bait them further. Claim victory at every opportunity…for (insert holy person here), of course.
Remember your goal: waste their time and make them look like fools. Now for some lines of attack that are sure to work.
Some of the easiest lines of attack play to your strong suit as a con artist – er, apologist. By destroying the value of words and reworking them to what you want them to mean (very popular in the Christian camp, especially with words like “forgiveness” and “love”), you can irritate those who actually know what the term “atheism” means for weeks on end. According to you, atheism is a hatred of your god(s), the claim that there is no god, and simultaneously the worship of (insert the “bad guy” of your mythology here), mankind, or the self. Taking it further allows you to claim atheism is a religion (prop up “prophets” like Dawkins or Darwin), a belief (they are “believing in non-belief”, after all, just like someone can have a diet of non-edible things), or a faith (after all, those smarty pants don’t know if it’s possible). Played well, you can distract your infidels for hours, if not days. Be sure to try to use this to undermine the reputation of atheists being logical by saying they’re making claims they can’t prove. If you’re really stuck for an opener, use “It takes more faith to be an atheist than a believer” as it works every time.
A sledgehammer of a tweet that can serve as an outstanding opener is “How does the #atheist prove there’s no god that they hate? #atheism” The number of presuppositions packed in those few words will consume hours upon hours of wasted infidel time as they fruitlessly try to enlighten you.
If you can, try to make agnosticism (yet another word you don’t really understand) seem like a more tenable position. After all, it just means “I don’t know” to you, and hey, that means they’re both admitting they don’t know what they’re talking about, and who knows, maybe the light of (insert deity here) can more easily reach them.
If an infidel tries to correct your definitions (usually by informing you that atheism is not what you claim it to be), whine that atheists are predictably trying to redefine atheism, and don’t let them. It’s not like they’re the ones who know what they doubt. They may claim that atheism is a “default position” or a “null hypothesis” – ignore these terms. They may even suggest that you are an atheist in respect to all other gods; simply answer that these aren’t true gods and that only yours is.
Atheism Makes You a Bad Person
Atheism provides no morals (just like it doesn’t provide a full assortment of vitamins and minerals, or a killer soundtrack, or…), so be sure to reinforce this stereotype at every opportunity. After all, your particular religion is bound to have some great morals in its texts, like beating women or endorsing slavery, but never mind that right now! Those atheists are immoral assholes that need to be shown the way, i.e. your way.
To do this, you can invoke Hitler, Mao, & Stalin as being some of the most evil people in history, and prop them up as shining examples of atheism. You will no doubt be told that these people didn’t do what they did in the name of atheism (or that Hitler was Catholic), but ignore this. Continue to use them every minute of every day no matter what! After all, you know all those atheists on the ‘net are exactly like these three, all waiting and wanting to become murderous dictators in the name of atheism. If you’re answered that these people didn’t kill in the name of atheism, IGNORE THEM. You must keep these people firmly planted in their camp, so simply keep rejecting any and all objections to this ruse.
If you get bored of this, claim atheism has no basis for morality or no morality whatsoever, implying that atheists are automatically immoral. For extra style points, claim that evolution is an atheistic worldview and therefore immoral (mention Eugenics, Hitler, etc. here). Don’t worry about actually understanding evolution. For even more bonus points, claim atheists rely on your religion and your god for their morals. This is especially fun on Twitter, where you can make the claim and not worry about it being nailed in the 140 character limit.
Atheism Makes You a Sad Person
Atheism gives a person no meaning (unlike religion, which often promises the bliss of kissing your god’s ass forever), so be sure to use this as a constant source of amusement. Repeatedly assert what a terrible and hopeless view on life atheism must be, providing no magical super happy fun land after death. If you’re called out to prove the existence of this place, retort that the atheist is mad that their worldview says that they’re “just a bunch of chemicals” with no purpose. Any purpose that an atheist claims to have obviously cannot stand up to their death and the lack of your deity’s “love”, so use that if they say they’re fine with what they’re doing. Accuse them often of being “lost” and offer your religion as the way to be “found”.
Atheism Makes You a Mad Person
As mentioned above, labeling atheists as angry at your god, your religion, or everything in general should be a priority for you. After all, if you can paint them as angry, it somehow means that they’re wrong, and in turn proves that you’re right about your religion being true (try not to think about this too much; chalk it up as another mystery of your faith and call it good).
If an infidel responds to anything you say, accuse them being an empty human shell barely animated by their directionless anger. It doesn’t matter if they reply with “Kittens are cute” – that is obvious coded speak for “WARGHBBBHLBLLL I WILL STRIP THE FLESH FROM YOUR EYES”. Practice the fine art of projecting your bigotry onto the non-believer and you’ll soon have them (in your mind) seem like frothing rabid ogres with a severe case of Tourette’s. Cry loudly and indignantly about how all atheists are uncivil and don’t respect you to score more internet debate points and make yourself feel good.
Combining Bad, Sad, and Mad approaches will frustrate about any infidel to no end, wasting more of their precious time.
Feeling really brave? Try a dash of presuppositionalism in your efforts. Instead of having to prove your god, just assume that they exist, because they exist, and that’s that. You’re not the boss of me!
What you mean to say is that everyone knows that everyone is born with (insert deity’s name) mark upon their souls, and anyone who denies this is lying to themselves. Therefore, there are no real atheists; they know your god is real, but don’t want to play along. Great lines in this vein include “every knee shall bow” and “you know God is real, you just can’t handle authority”. Claims about problems with father figures leading to atheism, talking too much about religion, or other such armchair psychology work wonders here. Claiming that people are atheists up until problems start is also a very effective tactic (see the classic “no atheists in foxholes” bit).
Science Hates Atheism
You’ll undoubtedly come across atheist lines of argument that involve the dreaded S word: science. Have no fear: there are plenty of lines of attack here too. Start off with “(Insert scientist here) denies/denied atheism”, filling in Newton, Einstein, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or whomever you please (as always, don’t let facts get in the way of a good troll). Back that up with vagaries about how all the science you need is in your holy text. Anything you can do to extricate science out of the hands of people who use it against you is a win, but don’t be afraid to smear science as unreliable and a poor method for finding “real truth” (or “Truth” – note the capital T).
If you like sounding smart, cite Blaise Pascal’s (smart guy, physicist, mathematician) timeless argument that has never, ever, ever, EVER failed: Pascal’s Wager. Why not believe in your god? Everything to gain, nothing to lose! If the atheist laughs at you, ask why they hate scientists and science so much.
If nothing else, run with the old chestnut “atheism claims everything came from nothing and self-organized into blah blah blah”. Feel free to reuse that graphic about six billion times a day. No one has ever successfully refuted it before. Also run with “atheism doesn’t explain” and any of the following:
- The origin of the universe
- The origin of life
- The “fine tuning” of “universal constants”
- Pretty much anything you don’t or can’t understand – goddunnit, after all!
KEY POINT: Your ignorance is just as good as their knowledge. If you don’t understand something, that’s their problem, not yours! Resist any attempt to be educated at all costs (claim science is fallible, wrong, a tool of your religion’s bad guy, whatever).
WORST CASE SCENARIO SOLUTION: Don’t be afraid to sink into complete solipsism or nihilism here if you get cornered. Force the non-believer to prove that reality exists or that everyone’s senses work properly. If they can’t or won’t do that (they will probably claim you’re wasting time or dancing around the issue), you somehow have an escape clause that gives you proof your deity exists. Makes perfect sense!
Everything Else & Old Chestnuts
Feel free to try any of these classics if you get bored with any of the above.
- Make up a grandiose challenge (don’t worry about it being “winnable” or fair). This can be a “debate”, a list of inane questions (doesn’t matter if they’ve been answered thousands of times over), or some other chicanery. Demand the infidels assiduously stick to your rules in every detail (feel free to change these on the fly to give those dirty atheists fits), and then repeatedly claim that no unbeliever has the courage to answer your challenge. If and when someone does answer your “challenge”, you can pretend they didn’t and go on lambasting the unbelievers, or let them in. If you choose the latter route, claim the rules have been broken at every opportunity (once again, real or imagined). Either never acknowledge their debate contribution, or stick to your usual diversions. Once they give up, you can easily claim you won the challenge and parade your “victory” all over the internet (emphasis on the ‘parade’). Don’t be afraid to use sock puppet accounts to help you in your boasts.
- If religion’s wrong, why do so many people have one?
- You must be a liberal / socialist / Nazi / communist (bonus points for stringing them all together on Glenn Beck-like levels)
- Some holy text verse about how dumb people who use their intelligence actually are, or how atheists are fools
Dealing With Mobs
If you are responded to by several nonbelievers at once, this is a golden opportunity to further your image as an internet martyr for your cause. Make sure to loudly cry about how persecuted you are by atheist bigots. If this doesn’t win you sympathy points, you may attempt to involve more well-established apologists to assist you. If this fails, revert to the first tactic. Don’t worry about understanding what bigotry really is or if it even applies; with enough whining, you’ll win the day.
Dealing With Return Fire
You will no doubt be subject to plenty of hate, scorn, and derision as an apologist. Keep the faith! Here are some hints as to what to do when you’re feeling the pressure to be a decent human being for a change:
- Remember, they’re unbelievers, and should be treated as such. Deceive, manipulate, threaten, insult, and cheat all you want, it’s for a good cause. If called on any of this behavior, just respond with more of it. If they quit responding, you win!
- If on Twitter, loudly whine about people responding to public tweets. How dare they! Why can’t you say whatever you want without consequence? Don’t they have a life outside of searching for atheism-related tweets?! Don’t worry, it’s still perfectly valid for you to call atheists immoral subhumans. If the infidel insults you, bitch and moan about their uncivil language. If they say you started it, claim you’re just stating “the Truth”. Follow it up with “atheists are so…unsophisticated.”
- Cry about how you’re being oppressed or that your attacker is bigoted against your religion. This works wonders for garnering sympathy, and don’t worry, you don’t have to understand what real bigotry is. Make use of “religious freedom” to promote kneejerk thinking and support of your right to continue dictating how others live their lives.
- Starting to feel overwhelmed by infidel logic and reason? Shout about how atheists force their beliefs down your throat worse than believers do. This too works great as an opening. Remember: You’re the persecuted one! Keep thinking: Center of the universe.
- Claiming “closed-mindedness” or that atheists are just as dogmatic about their “beliefs” is an insanely great tactic (these are great openers too). While you’re at it, reinforce the stereotype that atheists are terminally arrogant.
- If an infidel cites your holy texts, claim they can’t do so because they’re not a true believer like you and therefore can’t possibly understand them. On a related note, just saying “that’s out of context” is a free pass to avoid thinking about any of it.
- Expecting the heathens to explain their entire worldview and teach you courses on philosophy and science (often on Twitter) is a great tactic; turbocharge it by pointing out every inconsistency or technicality real or imagined (mostly imagined). Even if someone does waste hours upon hours doing this, feel free to pretend it never happened and start over again the next day by claiming it was never explained to your satisfaction. This will drive about anyone insane.
- Any sources, articles, videos, etc. that atheists bring up should be immediately branded as “biased” so you don’t have to read them, even if they’re simply a picture of kittens. If you do decide to peruse, only skim them and try to make some snide commentary about them. For bonus points, try claiming they’re loaded with logical fallacies, citing one you may’ve been accused of once. Don’t worry about proving that, of course.
- If you’re asked to define your god or asked for objective evidence, ignore the request or send links to various apologist sites. The longer and more tedious, the more time you’ll get them to waste.
- As a last resort, if no more entertainment value can be wrung out of your mark, announce that you’ll “pray for them”, then block them. That’ll show ‘em!
We hope this guide to antagoniz—er, working with atheists has been helpful. As always, failure to keep this manual secret and secure will result in painful consequences. Now get out there and troll those atheists!
More stolen apologist tactics manual pages & resources:
- 957Chatterton: Top 10 Dumbest Things Christians Say to Atheists
- Godless Geeks: Hundreds of Proofs of God’s Existence
- Rosa Rubicondior: So You’ve Decided to Become an Apologist for Christianity & So You’ve Decided to Become an Apologist for Islam