The Unofficial Rules For Religious Debate by Safari Man
#1 The burden of proof is always on your opponent, even when it isn't.
#2 Your opponent is always somehow wrong, even when they're not.
#3 It is notoriously difficult to determine exactly what constitutes
"proof." Exploit this relentlessly by claiming your opponent hasn't proved a
#4 If your opponent appeals to authorities such as theologians, scientists,
or philosophers it is never valid; if you do it then it is valid.
#5 When your opponent attacks you personally, it's always an ad hominem. If
you do it, then it clearly isn't an ad hominem.
#6 Creation/Evolution is highly improbable, but here we are. Therefore
Creation/Evolution must have happened.
#7 If you are a theist, you are free to claim that a god speaks directly to
your mind or heart. If you are a nontheist, you are free to claim that
theists who receive communication from a god must be suffering from a
socially acceptable psychosis.
#8 If you are a theist, you are free to claim that nontheists do not have
any morals or ethics. If you are a nontheist, you are free to bring Santa
Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns, and Invisible Pink Unicorns into the
debate at every opportunity.
#9 Your opponent's personal experiences are never valid; but your personal
experiences are always valid.
#10 When your opponent makes an argument and you do not have a good
counter-argument, you should force your opponent to define any terms that
you think are sufficiently vague, preferably with an encyclopedia article or
a 20 page definition. Repeat the process at your leisure.
#11 If you are a theist, you are free to claim that most people throughout
history have believed in a god or gods; if you are a nontheist, you are free
to retort that most people throughout history believed the sun revolved
around the earth.
#12 When your opponent wants to make their beliefs public policy, it's
always wrong. When you want to make your beliefs public policy, it's always
#13 Scientists who believe what your opponent believes are clearly wrong.
Scientists who believe what you believe are clearly right.
#14 Argue relentlessly that your opponent is closed-minded, but that you are
#15 Your opponent did not come by their beliefs rationally. But of course
you came by your beliefs rationally.
#16 If you are a theist, exploit the fact that nontheists can't explain how
life arose from nonlife. If you are a nontheist, accuse the theist of
appealing to a "god of the gaps."
#17 The fact that people have killed in the name of your beliefs does not
disprove your beliefs. But people who killed in the name of your opponent's
beliefs disproves your opponent's beliefs.
#18 Your opponent's scholars are always wrong. Your scholars are always
#19 When your opponent uses an argument that makes no sense to you, laugh at
them and call them stupid; when you use an argument that makes no sense to
your opponent, laugh at them and call them stupid.
#20 Your opponent is clearly nuts, but you are not.
There you have it! As long as you scrupulously adhere to these rules, you
can engage in hours of unproductive, time-wasting debates with your
opponent. Feel free to add more if you are so inclined.