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“Checkmate, Atheists” is an sarcastic expression used to conclude an illogical argument about religion, typically in a mocking attempt to prove the existence of the Judeo-Christian God. The phrase has also inspired a variety of image macros satirizing theistic rationales for the existence of a deity. The phrase is usually followed with “Christians: 1 Atheists: 0.”
On October 31st, 2007, a video message titled “Checkmate, Atheists” was uploaded by YouTuber comedian and musician Edward Current. In the video, Current presents ten points to prove the existence of a Christian God, proclaiming “Checkmate!” after each one. While Current is a self-identified atheist and his video was intended as a satire, it managed to stir a lengthy debate about the validity of his claims in the comments. As of October 2012, the video has received more than 1.2 million views and over 55,000 comments.
In the video, Current displays a banana as evidence that God exists. This may have been inspired by a video titled “Atheist Nightmare” in which Christian evangelist Ray Comfort, accompanied by actor Kirk Cameron, attempts to disprove evolution by showing that a banana fits inside a human palm. The video was uploaded to YouTube on April 26th, 2006 and accumulated over 600,000 views within six years.
The usage of the phrase also bears similarities to the “Where is your god now?”, another widespread expression that has been used with absurd images to discredit the existence of God.
On November 10th, 2007, the video was submitted to the Internet humor site Milk and Cookies, where several commenters did not realize it was meant to be satirical. On February 15th, 2008, the video was posted to the Internet humor site I Am Bored. On January 1st, 2009, the secular blog The Atheist Jew published a post about Edward Current, citing him as the origin of the phrase “Checkmate atheists.” On January 20th, 2010, the @almightygod Twitter account tweeted a photo of a church sign with the question “If evolution is true, why help the poor?”
On August 3rd, atheist Tim Cooley published an image of a cross with the caption “Hey Atheists: If god doesn’t exist, then how Jesus walked on water? Checkmate” (shown left) on his personal blog. On April 2nd, 2011, a “Checkmate, atheists” Facebook page was created in honor of Edward Current. On June 2nd, the “Checkmate Atheists” Tumblr blog launched, featuring image macros with absurd religious arguments followed by the phrase “Checkmate, Atheists” (shown right).
The earliest known archived instance of its usage in trolling can be found in a thread titled “Philosophical questions about physics” posted in July 2007. While the thread does not specifically mention atheists nor does it keep a score, the post employs a nonsensical religious argument followed with the word “checkmate”.
“Checkmate, Atheists” image macros are often accompanied by a scorecard similar to the one shown in Current’s original video.
Derivative: Dear Athetits
On May 30th, 2011, the Eirizu Tumblr blog posted an image macro of a dog wearing a tin foil hat with the caption “dear athetits…. / if GOD dont exist s / how me a dog learned english?”written in three different fonts (shown below, left). Several other “dear athetits” derivatives have since emerged, featuring the same multiple font captions. As of October 2012, the original tin foil dog post has received over 14,700 notes.
The Atheist Jew – What Happens At Death And After Death And Pascal’s Wager