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Is Atheism A Faith?


duderonomy
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On another forum, a long time ago, I had a debate with a Christian that told me that it took as much faith to be an atheist as it did to be a Christian. At that time, I argued against that, even though I wasn't an atheist (although I was an ex-Christian).

 

But is that true? I mean to not believe there is a "God" takes faith?  

 

Has anyone ever proved that there isn't a "God" somewhere?

If they have, does it pass the test of science? Has it been studied in a lab, and are the results repeatable? If not, how shall we then view atheism?

 

Does it take faith to believe that there is no "God"?   I'm not talking about personal atheism, where one person doesn't believe in or have a "God", but the bigger picture.

 

How does the atheist know that there is no God, if not by faith? 

 

 

 

 

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IMO, atheism is more of a conclusion than a faith. 

 

How does the atheist know that there is no God, if not by faith? 

 

 

You could make infinite versions of this question.  How do you know there are no unicorns, if not by faith?  How do you know there are no leprechauns, if not by faith?  How do you know there are no Martians who might invade us, if not by faith?

 

How do you conclude that ANYTHING doesn't exist (since you can't really prove a negative), if not by faith?

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"Belief that there is no god" is how atheism is defined by those nasty apologists who rant about us nonbelievers from the pulpit. Accusing atheists of having faith, even when the vast majority of them don't (excluding those who are members of atheistic religions), is a very common tactic and it works great to keep the believers stuck in the herd with a bunch of false ideas in their head. The number of Christians that actually know the actual definition of atheism are a minority.

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How does the atheist know that there is no God, if not by faith? 

 

 

How does the theist know there is a god if he has no proof? 
 
How do you know there is no Santa Clause, no unicorns and no leprechauns if not by faith? Stupid question when phrased that way, isn't it?
 
As has been explained before, atheism is nothing more than lacking a belief in gods. The lack of belief is because there has not been evidence presented in support of the assertion that there exists a magical, invisible and undetectable entity who runs the universe. It takes no faith to not believe an extraordinary claim that lacks proof. It takes faith to believe such a thing, though.
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Christians seem to assume that everybody else has and/or needs the same level certainty (without proof) that they require. And that's just not the case. I don't need to be 100% certain as if my eternal soul depended on it to conclude that Allah isn't real. Same goes for Jehovah or any other invisible magic-man. Other than popularity of the belief (which I don't consider evidence as humans have all sorts of ridiculous beliefs), I see no more evidence for invisible magic-men than I do for unicorns.

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I left Christianity because I was longing for facts. I had had enough of faith and mystery and murkiness. I wasn't asking for much. If Christianity could have offered just one or two facts that might have been enough to keep me in the fold, but it couldn't offer any facts whatsoever. 

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Christians talk themselves into thinking that they see God's hand in everything.  So for somebody in that state of mind questioning God looks like pretending you can't see the sky.  The reality of it is that God's hand can't be seen in anything ever.  It's all just coincidence and spin.  The Christian world view is pretending you can't see the sky.

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Atheism is a faith if abstinence is a sex position. 

Good one but it actually must be a sex position of sorts considering the number of pregnancies that result from it. It is probably a three way with the debbul :D

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Atheism isn't a faith, neither literally, as covered above, nor in the looser sense of some organized belief system. Even the "New Atheism" movement only has a tiny, tiny fraction of atheists in it, and even then, they're only unified by opposition to other social stuff, anyhow. Trying to put all atheists together in a single organization would be worse than herding cats. All an atheist is, is someone who doesn't believe in (at least one) god. They might even have more difference between them than a Christian and another atheist. 

Suppose someone had absolute proof that there was a god. They don't believe in a god, they know. Contrast them with someone who holds the position that since there's lack of proof of a god, the logical (and simplest) conclusion is that there isn't one. And then compare that person with someone who believes in an "insufficient data" category rather than YES vs NO, and concludes that it can't be conclusively proven that there are not higher powers, whatever they are (no proving negatives and all, and accepting only positive proofs, not presumptions), but it would be just as silly to worship them for power as it would to worship giraffes for being taller, so there can be no coherent definition of "god" anyway. The concept itself is an invalid one.

Each one of those three positions falls in some category of atheism, yet every single one rejects at least one fundamental premise of the other's stance. The first accepts the logical premises of the second, but the second rejects the first's evidence. The third rejects the foundations of the other two's logic in the first place. This is definitely not a faith.

 

...and yet, Christianity of the rabidly political persuasion has managed to unify them, by antagonizing everyone. Good show, that. *sarcastic clapping*

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I think it takes an amount of faith to say for sure that there isn't some sort of being greater than our understanding that has created the world as we know it. Sure it sounds outlandish but it still seems to require to me a (however infinitesimal) bit of faith to say there definitely isn't when there's currently no way of knowing either way. To me the faithless response to 'we know there's a god' is 'we don't know there's a god' rather than 'we know there is not a god'.

But I think faith is not the basis of Atheism - more the decision that entertaining the existence of god is less worth the time (due to it being as relevant as exploring the existence of Santa etc) than the exploration of empirically based knowledge. So in this it's different to religions that do have faith as a basis. I'm not sure if I've expressed that correctly so apologies if that made no sense! I think what I'm saying is it requires faith but is not in itself a faith.

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It would depend on how you define the words "faith" and "atheism".

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Drat!   I had a big post typed up, but I hadn't signed in. Somehow, (and I know it was me because this happened before but I didn't lose all the stuff I'd written that time), I signed in and up came this site's homepage and all was lost.

 

So, let me get the important stuff out first. I appreciate all of your responses and thanks for the civility. I'm seriously looking into what everyone thinks about this ( I remember my thread about is it fair to use the O.T. in an argument against Christianity. I never responded to anyone on that, because any questions I had about it were answered, along with any follow up questions I had, and it quickly sank along with a lot of other threads and so I figured just let it go).

 

I think I'll re-read what everyone said before I try again.

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On another forum, a long time ago, I had a debate with a Christian that told me that it took as much faith to be an atheist as it did to be a Christian. At that time, I argued against that, even though I wasn't an atheist (although I was an ex-Christian).

 

But is that true? I mean to not believe there is a "God" takes faith?  

 

Has anyone ever proved that there isn't a "God" somewhere?

If they have, does it pass the test of science? Has it been studied in a lab, and are the results repeatable? If not, how shall we then view atheism?

 

Does it take faith to believe that there is no "God"?   I'm not talking about personal atheism, where one person doesn't believe in or have a "God", but the bigger picture.

 

How does the atheist know that there is no God, if not by faith? 

 

To not believe in God requires no thought at all. Faith is just thought. 

 

To go jogging requires energy. To not go jogging doesn't require anything.

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I'm going to take the unpopular side and say yes, that to state beyond a doubt that there is no "God" takes as much faith as saying the opposite.

 

The defining factor for me between agnosticism and atheism is whether one affirms in the positive that there is no "God" (or gods) or if one simply says "there is no evidence for a "God" or gods." By definition, if one "knows" something without proof then that "knowledge" is based on faith.

 

The definition of "agnostic" is "doesn't know" which is quite distinct from either theism or hard-line atheism.

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I'm going to take the unpopular side and say yes, that to state beyond a doubt that there is no "God" takes as much faith as saying the opposite.

 

The defining factor for me between agnosticism and atheism is whether one affirms in the positive that there is no "God" (or gods) or if one simply says "there is no evidence for a "God" or gods." By definition, if one "knows" something without proof then that "knowledge" is based on faith.

 

The definition of "agnostic" is "doesn't know" which is quite distinct from either theism or hard-line atheism.

 

Atheism is defined as a lack of belief in a deity and every definition of faith has some connotation of belief with the lack of proof. It's true, the hard atheist cannot prove there are no deities without examining every corner of the universe at the same time. However, this is not a matter of faith for the hard atheist but rather an utter lack of belief - absence of evidence is evidence of absence. This problem with a lack of evidence is resolved with Russell's Teapot. It's absurd be believe there is a teapot revolving around the Sun just because nobody can prove it doesn't exist.

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Love Russell's Teapot.  A difference between belief in that and belief in God is the work (philosophical, emotional, social, political, etc etc) done by the concept of the teapot and by the concept of God.  

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Beyond all doubt?  No.

 

However we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there are no gods.  There still might be a few doubts but we have no reason to hold those doubts.  How do we prove it beyond a reasonable doubt?  Examine the 4,000 or so gods created by humans.  Look at what they have in common.  It is human nature to create gods.  Nearly every human culture has created gods.

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When people use the faith angle with me, I tell them that I have a reality-based world view founded on fact. I do have one belief: that man is inherently good and will try to do the right thing without coersion or threat from a diety.

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I think that there is a huge difference between not believing in any of the gods of all religions because there is lack of evidence, and not believing that there could be a god somewhere. 

Most of us here don't believe in any of the "God's" offered by the world's religions, because we haven't seen the evidence or proofs or the results promised, or for some other reason. 

 

But does absence of evidence always show evidence of absence? I've always thought that that was a bit silly, because absence of evidence is only that. It only works within what we now know.  It is not evidence of anything beyond what we have to work with.

 

To me Russell's Teapot  seems to be more about showing the absurdity of man made religions, but doesn't cover a bigger picture. What if there is a god somewhere that has no teapot, left us no ancient texts, and doesn't give a tinker's damn with human logic, including who has a burden of proof? Could there be a god like that?

 

One apology used by theists and I.D. proponents alike is that one would have to know all that there is to know about everything before one could conclude that there is no god. That makes sense, but that same argument could of course be turned around the other way: One would have to know all that there is to know about everything before one could conclude that there is a god. Still makes sense.

 

My conclusion (so far) is that it takes faith, that is believing without any known proof or evidence, to say for sure that there is or isn't a "God".  Theism takes faith. Atheism takes faith.

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There is a difference between disbelief and not believing.  One requires a positive position (a verb) while the other is a default position that requires no action. 

 

It could be argued that the positive action requires some level of faith, but it cannot be argued that the later does.  I can't believe or disbelieve that which I'm ignorant of.

 

The problem with trying to attach the concept of faith here to lack of belief is its an attempt to create an even playing field using the fallacy of equivocation. 

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