You are a communist

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“You are a communist,” is an attack occasionally directed at an atheist by a theist. This claim is an example of an ad hominem, wherein one attacks the personal character of his or her debate partner, instead of attacking the arguments presented. Therefore, even if the atheist in question is a communist, it has relatively little bearing on the questions of theism/atheism.

There is no evidence supporting the claim that most atheists are communists. An atheist can simply ask the offending theist to define the term “communist”, and then point out ways in which he or she differs from the communist socialist movement. A primary point to consider is that atheism and theism are metaphysical philosophies, whereas communism is a political ideology; communism cannot be demonstrated to follow necessarily from atheism. If, for the sake of argument, we accept that most communists are atheists, it does not follow that most atheists are communists. This is the logical fallacy known as “affirming the consequent.”

Logical fallacy of affirming the consequent

The argument proceeds as follows:

  1. If P, then Q.
  2. Q.
  3. Therefore P.

In this case:

  1. If someone is a communist, then he or she is likely an atheist.
  2. I am an atheist.
  3. Therefore I am likely a communist.

This argument is invalid because statement three can be (and often is) false, even granting as true statements one and two. We could consider another example that should make it clear to the theist that the argument holds no weight:

  1. If someone refuses blood transfusions on religious grounds, he or she is likely a theist.
  2. I am a theist.
  3. Therefore, I am likely to refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds.

If a theist makes the claim, “You are a communist,” and will not subsequently concede the invalidity of the claim, discussions with him or her are unlikely to be fruitful. You may wish to question whether further discussions with this person on the topics of atheism and theism are necessary or productive.

See also


v · d Common objections to atheism and counter-apologetics
Personal   Why are you trying to tear down other people's faith? · Why can't everyone just have their own beliefs? · What are your qualifications? · Atheists believe in nothing · You are a communist · Why do atheists inspire such hatred? · That's not my God
Religious   That's not in my Bible · They're not true Christians · You just want to sin · Atheists know there is a God · It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe · God doesn't believe in atheists · Science is a faith · Atheism is a religion · Atheists worship materialism · Hypocrisy of celebrating religious holidays · Atheism is based on faith · Religious belief is beneficial
Science and logic   You can't prove God doesn't exist · Science can't touch god · God can't be defined · So you think we came from nothing / pondsoup / monkeys? · If God didn't create everything, who did? · That might be true for you, but its not true for me · Religion is another way of knowing · Apologetics and dinosaurs
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