Argument Advice

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I don’t have time to go into detail, but I will be working on something and adding it soon regarding a couple of things.

1. Rosemary Lyndall-Wemm brought it up just after I was thinking of it, which confirms its potential for addition to the guide. The losing side and what to do if you happen to find yourself on it in an argument.
2. Typical argument to avoid. I find many atheists using tired old arguments that are walked over by even some of the less seasoned theists.
3. How to make a rhetorical assumption and how to maintain consistency in that assumption. I see many atheists engage a theist trying to use rhetorical assumptions, then jumping back out and saying “prove god is real”. This is juvenile, and is in no way a defeater to an argument. If you enter the argument with the rhetorical assumption that god exists, backing out is not even useful. Walk away if you get to this point, or if you are a novice, do not enter a rhetorical assumption of the existence of god.
4. Pride. Pride is the enemy. It is their worst weakness, but it is also the atheists worst weakness. Do not let your pride make you argue against a point you have already lost. Walk away.
5. Learn that conceding a point for the sake of rhetorical argument is not a loss of the argument. It can be a useful tool. (Ex: Ok, so lets say that god’s morality is objective. Who interprets it objectively? If no one can interpret it objectively, then his morality being objective is moot as it applies to humans, isn’t it?) In my experience, so many theists, even strong debaters, become befuddled by such because they are used to obstinate refusal to accept points. They are not used to questions assuming the truth of their statements, because they usually get “prove it” rather than questions that request definition.
6. Ask what faith a person is. There is nothing more annoying to me than an atheist who treats the ideology of a catholic like the ideology of a mormon. It is like saying Golf and Football are the same because they are both sports. Have some integrity to learn what atheist arguments apply to which sects of faith. So often I see the arguments centered on fundamentalism when that only comprises part of the theist group. Not everyone is a YEC or a fundamentalist, so arguing against a fundamental position is as simply defeated by them as saying “I view that as allegorical” or “Jesus teaches <insert contradiction of the OT here>”.

I will go into more detail with examples, and others can add their experiences here.

I think it important to maintain the integrity, intellectual honesty, and avoid our very own cognitive dissonance of which we accuse theists when it is clear we may be fighting a losing argument.

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