1) Believing in a god does not make you a better person.
Some of the most evil, horrible people believe in a god. To quote Matthew McCormick, “Is it true that unless God exists, then no one would act in a morally decent, law abiding fashion? It’s hard to know what the critic is getting at if they say yes. They might be thinking that it’s only the fear of God or respect for God’s commandments that makes people behave themselves. But again, this is myopic. There have been billions of people in history who don’t believe, don’t know about, or who have taken no note of God in their deliberations, but they have behaved morally. So it’s not believing that God is present that keeps people in line. Whether God exists or not, there are people who think he does not and who behave morally. So it seems implausible that his existence or non existence makes any real difference in their behavior.”
2) Morality does not come from God.
Morality is always subjective and circumstantial. Slavery was once accepted in parts of the western world and the Bible was used to show God’s support of slavery, however, we now know that slavery is immoral and we don’t own slaves. The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves. Our morality has evolved and has changed, despite what your objective law giver prescribes and we have proven that morality is subjective.
3) Marriage was not invented by Christians or their god.
The first recorded evidence of marriage contracts and ceremonies dates to 4,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia. In ancient Rome, marriage was a civil affair governed by imperial law. But when the empire collapsed, in the 5th century, church courts took over and elevated marriage to a holy union. As the church’s power grew through the Middle Ages, so did its influence over marriage. In 1215, marriage was declared one of the church’s seven sacraments, alongside rites like baptism and penance. But it was only in the 16th century that the church decreed that weddings be performed in public, by a priest, and before witnesses.
4) The Bible contains, at minimum, transcriptual errors.
For example, biblical scholar Gleason Archer has stated: “Even the earliest and best manuscripts that we possess are not totally free of transmissional errors. Numbers are occasionally miscopied, the spelling of proper names is occasionally garbled, and there are examples of the same types of scribal error that appear in other ancient documents as well.” Do copyists’ errors appear in other ancient documents, too? Most assuredly! Corruptions in the writings of the Greek classics are very common. Take, for instance, the secular works of Tacitus. They are known to contain at least one numerical error that Tacitean and classical scholars have acknowledged as a copyist’s mistake. These scholars recognize that at some point in history, a copyist accidentally changed a number (from CXXV to XXV). Why is it, then, that biblical critics will not recognize the same possibility when supposed discrepancies are found in the Bible? Just as those who copied secular historical documents sometimes misspelled names and numbers, scribes who copied the Bible from earlier texts occasionally made mistakes. The complexity of the Hebrew language and its alphabetic/numeric system no doubt served as an even greater challenge for the scribes. Bart Ehrman has a great speech on this very topic.
5) Before attempting to convert anyone to Christianity or defend your theology in a debate, please have a working knowledge of what that actually entails.
You wouldn’t debate physics if you were not a physicist and you would not perform a surgery if you were not a surgeon, but you would if you were a creationist. There are many polls that suggest that Christians do not read their Bible. A poll over at Bible Gateway gives a rough estimate that 40% of Christians have never read the entire Bible.
I would like to propose a 614th commandment—educate thyself.
Aeolus is an atheist activist with a background in literature, psychology, and religious studies. Aeolus is also the host of the REASON live show and avid atheist admin for Religion Hurts Humanity and Philosophical Atheism. You can follow him on twitter @GodWorksOut, instagram @GodWorksOut, his Youtube channel, or connect with him at Facebook.com/AeolustheAtheist