Instigator / Pro

Resolved: Atheists have the burden of proof


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Contender / Con

why not. I saw CalebEr's argument but I think there's a better way to argue this.

Debate Format:
Round One: Introduction and Arguments
Round Two: Rebuttals
Round Three: Recapitulation and Conclusion

Atheism- "a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods"
The burden of Proof- "the duty of proving a disputed assertion or charge"
(Both definitions from Merriam Webster)

Full resolution
Atheists have a burden of proof with regards to showing god does not exist.

Round 1
My argument is simple: Innocent until proven guilty.

It is well known that the legal standards desire punishment of guilt, but this must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

However, if we already presume god exists, then we must judge him guilty of crimes that he commits, as by definition of God, he has created everything. He is responsible for all the faults and problems that occur in the world. He had broken countless laws in terms of mankind. From Bible alone, he has murdered over 2 million people, committed negligence against his responsibility for care taking of us (as he is our parent, having created us), giving cruel and unusual punishment of torturing malicious men along with atheists in hell for eternity, and official ruling prohibiting him from allowing Abraham to sacrifice an animal

So Atheists must prove that he exists, and burden of proof is on them. Otherwise, we cannot presume that god is guilty of existing, as well as guilty of breaking all our laws.
Resolution: Atheists have the burden of proof

Opening Statement: 

Thanks, Seldiora for the debate, lets get into it. 

First of all, I don't object to any definitions, they're all fine, so there isn't any problem there. I'm kind of confused why you made the character limit so tiny, a sad and pathetic 3,500 characters. So I'll do my best to be succinct here and not make the special bolded categories I usually do. I will rebuke my opponent's argument, then make my own case.

Innocent until proven guilty

First of all, this does not equate to the burden of proof. In a court of law, the one being accused is always given the benefit of the doubt, innocent until proven guilty, where if they were applying the burden of proof, that one must provide evidence to support one's assertions, then the quote would be, neither are true until one is proven. Therefore this entire analogy is a false equivalence.

Second of all, the quote "Presume God exists" is not only making the claim that we should axiomatically accept god, or accept god as a given, but also assuming that his argument is correct without proper evidence. That the theist does not have a burden of proof, and the atheist does. This is begging the question, another fallacy, but on top of those two reasons is my last point on the subject.

The position of the atheist wouldn't be "god is guilty of crimes" we are charging the proposition that god exists, that is what the atheist would argue, that god is innocent of being an unproven claim until proven guilty of being proved. So this is a straw man, on top of begging the question fallacy, on top of false equivalence. In other words, this entire argument is complete bunk and fallacious reasoning.

The Atheist does not have "the" burden of proof.

According to the resolution, "Athiest have the burden of proof" In this "sentence" the is what is known as a definite article, basically it's used to identify the word "atheist" here. Therefore, as there is no exception, it can be reasonably interpreted that this resolution is referring to all or most atheists. Anyone who can is, "the" atheist, which would be everyone who does not believe or lacks a belief in god.

From there my position is very easy to argue, thusly, let's cross-reference the definition of the Burden of Proof that Pro provides, "the duty of proving a disputed assertion or charge" Therefore an assertion must have been made in order for there to be a burden of proof, no? That essentially means that if there is no assertion made, then one does not have to provide any evidence for a statement, a disputed assertion at that.

Next, let's check up on what Seldiora defines an atheist as "a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods" It is very apparent to see, that part of the definition clearly states atheism as a "Lack of belief" lacking a belief in an area is not an assertion. So while some may make an assertion, others will not, so some atheists may have a burden of proof, but they do not inherently process the burden as opposed to say, a theist.


Pro's own argument in favor of the resolution was full of fallacy, and altogether not a valid argument, therefore they have not fulfilled their own burden of proof ironically enough. While I have made a definitive argument towards my proposition, rendering my position fulfilled until it is otherwise refuted properly. I look forward to Pro's argument in round 2.

Back to Pro

Round 2
Oops. I realized my error from round 1. I see how atheists would by default assume that God does not exist, because it allows them to negate any amount of crime directed towards God until we prove that he does exist.

In that case, I will build a small case that shows Atheists still have the burden of proof. Just as we must prove someone did bad to punish them, presuming the good result in an uncertain situation also applies to the ideal of God. As such, the theist would be justified in assuming that God, some omnibenevolent being, exists in this universe, having a plan for all of us that is moral, justified, and good in the end. That is why, under similar logic to "we should let guilty go free rather than punish innocent", may apply to the God here. So Atheist has to prove why all this good and incredible ideals do not exist in this universe. Because presuming good results in good.

Pro has not objected to Con's R1 argument, this means one should note a lack of fulfillment of BoP on Pro's part. 

Axiomatic God

Essentially what my opponent begins with is: Just like in a case where someone is innocent until proven guilty, one can assume that god is the good one must assume. Can anyone else see the problem with this? Especially considering my objection to his first round. Seldiora is fundamentally still using the same analogy of a courtroom to compare god to, but I already demonstrated why it is fallacious to do so in my first round. 

Then, their entire case is based on another assumption, that we can presume god is good. The big problem with that assumption is; A) It's an assumption and doesn't actually prove Pro's point, and B) It presumes on top of that - that god is the good action, why has Pro discounted my last example? That we are testing the proposition in court not the actual actions of said agent. This is just more fallacious reasoning without a spark of proof for a claim. 

Finally, they try to claim to again use a courtroom analogy, assume that attributes apply to god, but on top of all those other things - they try to unjustifiably shift the burden of proof to me, whenever they actually have that burden. I have explained already why the courtroom example doesn't work, a specific god was never specified so any attributes are assumed and must be proven by the one who makes the assertion, and the theist has to prove that these things are in the universe, not the other way around.

This is yet another compound fallacy, I'm getting flashbacks to compound metaphors here, its begging the questionstrawman, non-sequiturfalse equivalence, and to layer this ridiculously tall tower of fallacies, a moving the goal post fallacy. One should not take this argument seriously, it does not regard or interpret the definitions correctly, makes so many assumptions, and it seems to ignore all of my arguments. Its the same thing as an unproven claim, which my opponent has not fulfilled their own burden of proof for. 

The Atheist does not have "the" burden of proof.

Extend all previous points within this section and add more, I have interpreted the resolution and explained why given the definitions Pro's presented this is true, but now I shall add on to the allusion I made in the third point of my first section in round 1, that the courtroom should regard the proposition. Essentially that the thing that is on trial is the proposition, "God exists". 

As Seldiora helpfully pointed out in R1, the standard set in the court of law is the following, "Innocent until proven guilty." Therefore one should have to first establish which side applies to innocent, as Pro has also noted the burden of proof is, a burden of the one who made disputed assertion must provide evidence. Therefore one should not accept the given proposition, assigning the atheist position of innocent, until it is proven.

This would mean that the theist position gets the inherent sign of guilty and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that god indeed does exist. For even the slightest sliver of doubt would have the jury conclude that god is innocent of existence. This would mean, again, that Pro is wrong. That one has to prove in a court of law that god does exist and that the initial, default, or innocent position is the one taken by the atheist. Not the theist whatsoever.

Back to Pro
Round 3
Oh, I can see the reasoning now. But still, most religions would widely agree that their gods existence combined with belief will be a beneficial existence overall. (Greek gods are exception but, we’ve pretty much disproved that thunder comes from Zeus) God Exist is on trial, but we must presume the best outcome possible, as optimism encourages the society to go on and prevent innocent people from getting hurt. The best outcome is your good god exists. Unless it’s a malicious god, atheists would have burden of proof now. Just as Pascal’s wager implies, if we trust in God and he exists then we will be rewarded. If we don’t trust in him and he exists we may just be punished (bad result). If we don’t trust and he doesn’t exist nothing happens. If we trust and he doesn’t exist then nothing happens. Clearly, Pascal wager is most applicable here and thus atheist have burden of proof because the worst case scenario is that it is criminal or sin to not believe in god, while best case scenario we believe in god and we are rewarded. So either way we should presume God exists until proven otherwise.

The same objection as last round, and noting that this is a separate argument from Pro's last two, and in the last round as well. 

The benefit of the people

Once more, I must begin by highlighting the high amount of assumptions that Pro is making and never backs up. 1) That god exists, which hasn't been proven, 2) That if god existed they would cause a net benefit, 3) that we should presume the best outcome, 4) that optimism is the sole driver of society. These assumptions plus Pro's obsession with an analogy that I have already disproven cause their downfall. 

To begin, just because religions believe that their god's existence is true that doesn't mean that they suddenly get to skip proving their assertion. Not to mention, it really wouldn't matter if believing in god caused benefits, you would still have to present evidence to prove the assertion. Believing in Santa Claus might bring kids joy and overall increase happiness, but that does not excuse propagators of the proposition of Santa from a burden of proof.

Onward forth, Pro presents pascal's wager to presume the god of the bible, however, even if Pascal's wager was convincing it does not excuse the burden of proof from the theist, nor prescribe a burden of proof onto the atheist. Also, the argument of pascal is literally an argument, so using it in the first place discredits the idea that one doesn't have to use evidence to support an assertion of god, because pro themselves just used evidence to support an assertion of god.

The Atheist does not have "the" burden of proof.

I will not stack yet another unrefuted argument, and instead, simply extend all points, but do note that Pro has never touched these arguments. Therefore Pro has necessarily failed their burden of proof. 


In summation, throughout all of Pro's arguments they use a constant analogy to the court of law, which I described as a false analogy in the first round. This was never brought up by Pro. On top of that, even though I could have dismissed them as a fallacy, I also describe in detail why each argument fails, and even use my opponent's own analogy against them to prove my point. Even further helping my case is the fact that I didn't just sit twiddling my thumbs and rebuking Pro's arguments I actually made my own arguments. 

I established why, based on my opponent's definitions, their position was not supported and instead mine was. I established why in a court of law things would be the opposite of how Pro describes them. Not only do I establish these arguments, but my opponent does not even bother to try to touch my arguments directly. As I've noted, this would mean an aspect of their burden of proof is unfulfilled, even if I failed to rebuke my opponent's case, they would still have not even touched my primary arguments, and thus not met their own goal post.

For all of this, and the debate above, Vote Con!

Thank you Seldiora for the interesting debate, and thank you voters for reading! Have a wonderful evening all.