Yeah, I’m harping on a bit. I’m stuck at home, it’s my son’s twelfth birthday and I can’t see him. I wrote a long post all about him and the issues we’ve had, then trashed it. So You’ll have to put up with yet another post on this instead.
Theo’s comment is spot on. I have little to add.
The major problem with Bob’s logic, other than a complete failure to understand the burden of proof and that atheism makes no claim, is by his own logic, he now has a problem: If I as an atheist need to prove that the Christian god doesn’t exist, then Bob has a lot of work on his hands too: He needs to prove that all the other gods that he doesn’t believe in don’t exist. Good luck with that, Bob.
The issue is that when you are indoctrinated to believe in a religion, you consider only your god. Your perception is tied to that god and that god alone. But other theists believe just as sincerely in other gods. As an atheist, we disbelieve in all of them. As a theist, you disbelieve in all but one of them. Unless of course, you jump through some motivational thinking hoops and assume that all gods are actually your god, “revealed to people in different ways”, but that isn’t really an argument because it projects your belief system onto others and conveniently disregards theirs as well as any contradictory dogma.
If I replied to Bob, I would then ask him to prove all those other gods don’t exist. He will never take such a request seriously because he doesn’t take those other gods seriously. Well guess what, Bob? We don’t take your god seriously either, and nor should we. Your god claim is not special and is not more significant than the one of any other religion currently practiced, or even one no longer practiced. You know those old gods of the Greeks and Romans and Norsemen, for example? They’re myths that people don’t believe in any more. You god is a myth that people still believe in, but a myth all the same, and not the only such myth.
Normally when faced with the existence of belief in other gods, the Bobs of this world will resort to arguments that amount to nothing more than, “Only Christianity is the true religion because Jesus (died for our sins and no other religion says so – you can leave this parenthesized part out actually)”, while Muslims (for example) can of course say “Only Islam is the true religion because Allah (did some Allah shit or whatever)”. In all cases, they refer to the claim as being proof of itself, but then ask atheists to somehow disprove their claim, even though the lack of evidence is against them. They only care about evidence when it comes to other things than their god. No evidence is required for belief but it is required (somehow) for disbelief. Sorry fuckers, it doesn’t work like that and I don’t need to disprove your claim. You claim is not valid.