Response to: "Hitler was an atheist!..."

The tactics section consists of quick examples of a specific technique that can be employed during the course of a debate or discussion to help give you an advantage.

Tactic: Agree with your opponent’s statement in such a way that it actually improves your position

It is to your advantage to agree with statements that incidentally improve your position. This tactic is meant to make you pause when someone makes a statement that, upon first hearing it, sounds like an attack. This is especially important if you feel compelled to argue with the statement because it is false, misleading or emotionally charged.

For example, if someone says something like:

"Well, Hitler was an atheist and his belief systems lead to genocide!..."

There are many valid ways of responding to such a claim.

The first temptation is to debate or challenge the facts of the statement — Hitler wasn’t an atheist, antisemitism was rooted in a long religious tradition, etc. These, while true, are not the most effective responses because they ultimately do not lead anywhere. Either your opponent agrees with you, and probably throws out another name like Stalin or Pol Pot, or you both agree to disagree.

Either way is virtually a dead end.

Instead, consider embracing the argument and making it your own. Your opponent is condemning mass murder and genocide — that’s a sentiment worth agreeing with! And it turns out to be an excellent point of condemnation against the Christian God.

So, say something like:

“Hitler may not have been an atheist, but I am willing to go along with you on this because either way we have a point of agreement here! Commanding genocide is immoral – are you willing to condemn the God of the Old Testament for commanding genocide?

We both agree, the God of the Bible is as immoral as Hitler and Stalin, right?

Or perhaps you want to say that genocide is only 'sometimes' wrong?”

Instead of getting into a rather irrelevant argument about Hitler or Stalin and what they believed in their heart of hearts, you can turn the table on the argument and force your opponent into a defensive position.

In response to a comment about this argument:

I will write up a full essay on how to maneuver through the full implications of this argument, but for now, feel free to use the following specific Bible Verse:

1 Samuel 15:2-3 (NRSV)

Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” ’

Amazingly, I once heard a Christian say as a defense to this specific verse/argument, "God didn't order genocide, He ordered mass murder."  Call it what you will (mass murder or genocide). Either way: God's ordering the death of every single person (specifically including women, children, and infants) of an entire tribe of people is utterly condemnable.

If this argument is not your style, consider the essay that I just posted here: Azeusism has caused every major atrocity in modern history!

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