- They don’t have babies now, and they didn’t thousands of years ago either.
- Natural disasters aren’t caused by angry deities. Hurricanes in the US aren’t caused by God’s anger for [insert people you are prejudiced against here], and the plagues in the Old Testament of the Bible weren’t either.
- Snakes don’t talk. They don’t now and they never did.
- Women weren’t made from a man’s rib. We have the same number of ribs now, and we always did.
- The whole world was never flooded at once. (Where did all the water go?)
- People don’t come back from the dead. They don’t now, and they never did.
When I used to debate theists, I noticed different reactions to the impossibilities I’ve written above. Not everybody accepts them all literally, to be fair. Most avoid thinking about these things entirely. Some take some things literally and the rest is analogy. And some people, especially those who debate, take some bits literally and the same bits can be analogy, depending on the argument. The general trend is to accept specifics as being impossible in the moment, and call them analogy.
Analogy for what?
It’s easy to say… Well OK, the talking snake didn’t happen… But that’s analogy for Satan and god still created us; sure, virgins don’t give birth, but the other religions had virgin birth stories, so Christianity incorporated that to compete; sure, the other resurrections didn’t happen, but Christ was resurrected because he was special (Maybe he had magic beans?); the world wasn’t flooded all at once obviously, they just thought their small area represented the whole world; the plagues were blamed on God’s anger because the people were less advanced than we are, but the rest of those stories really happened for sure…
Why? Why explain away what can be explained away but continue to believe? There is no point. None of that happened. Every religion has a creation myth. Many had virgin births. Primitive people (and conservative evangelical Christian Americans) blame the gods’ anger at people they perceive as weak when things go wrong. It’s god’s anger at a minority, or a simple old woman who can’t defend herself… or someone similar. Someone they can punish on god’s behalf. The flood myths come from mythology much older than Christianity or Judaism and were likely part of the culture way back. But to then believe anyway is simply to believe what you already believe because you believe it. Because you’re indoctrinated.
All religious people know what indoctrination is. When a cult trends in the news because of something bad they did, you realize that members removed from that cult still hang onto their beliefs. You realize that something fucked up is happening with them psychologically, that they don’t want to stop believing, and that indoctrination must be similar to Stockholm Syndrome. But rather than calling their beliefs a religion, you call it a cult. Because on some level you know you are just as brainwashed, and you want to distance their beliefs from yours – convince yourselves that you are different to them. But you’re not. You’re just like them. Every atheist who has ever debated theists knows this.