Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Proof by Atheism

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”   -- Richard Dawkins

I’ve heard this argument before when debating fundamentalists of any established religion. You can make an argument against the belief in any god by using the mathematical principle of “proof by induction.” As an example let’s take the case of Buddhism. Let’s say you’re debating a Buddhist about the teachings of Buddha.

Base case (statement holds for n=1): You ask the Buddhist whether he accepts Christ as his lord and savior. He will reply “No I don’t.”

Inductive step (statement holds for n cases): You ask the Buddhist whether he accepts Allah as the only god and creator. He will reply “No I don’t.” Now you can keep going to solidify the proof by asking about “n” other religions: Joseph Smith, the Mormon’s prophet, the Hebrew god, etc.

Proof by induction (aka proof by atheism) for the n+1 case: You say “then you too are an atheist, I simply reject one more god than you.”



  1. This is silly. Buddhism is a philosophy not a religion. World religions all have a common factor- they believe in something greater than ourselves. This energy force which believers attribute to the creation of all has different names, but it is the same basic concept everywhere. Allah, G-d, God, whatever we call it it is the same. Science can explain a lot of things, but how did those things come to exist? Sometimes we need to put our tiny brains aside and just accept that there are things that do exist that we can't explain and don't fully understand. Religion is a tricky subject, but spirituality is what makes us who we are.

  2. Check out the definition of Buddhism in Widipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism and not that the first word in the definition is "religion". Next, check the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and oh gee, there it is again - religion. Please check facts first.


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