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Do Atheists Have Faith?

In brief
 
Atheism is a methodology. It means you ignore the supernatural in order to learn about the universe and how it works. It is a method for learning. You cannot learn if you think that you need to assume there is a God who gives you the power to reason and think and learn. This God would need to be pure truth and honesty. But the fact is that the universe and our programming and perception are prone to tricking us. And religion reasons that God does programme many people that way for he has mysterious ways and his motives and reasons are known only to him. To argue that you need God to reason is to argue, "I need God to reason and that is what I do - I reason." The argument is arrogant and narcissistic.
 
The ignoring of the supernatural seems unfair but it is not for the simple reason that even if blood comes from a communion wafer you cannot know what did it or how. Real supernatural refers to the power to create from nothing. But you cannot see if the blood was specially created or if some force was able to invisibly transport it from somewhere. There is no point in God doing a miracle if the paranormal did it. The paranormal differs from the supernatural in that it seems to be a force that uses odd or unknown laws of nature - but its existence is doubtful. It is within nature and supernatural is beyond and outside nature. The supernatural does not care about laws of anything never mind nature.
 
And if there is a God then why are we not more rational and better lovers of reason?
 
If atheism is a methodology is it also a faith? It does not need to be but it can be. But it is still basically a methodology. The methodology is what has to be kept if you have a gun to your head and something has to be sacrificed. Faith has to go.
 
faith and belief
 
Believing a person is not the same as believing in a person. The difference is that believing a person does not require that you have a relationship or friendship. Believing in a person is saying you have a relationship with the person.
 
Faith is believing in a person.
 
Belief is believing a claim.
 
Thus belief in God is not the same as faith in him.
 
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do atheists have faith while they condemn faith?
 
Believers try to make out that atheists condemn faith in God when they have faith themselves though not in God. The insinuation is that atheists are hypocrites.
 
If atheists think all faith is equally bad then this insinuation is correct. If we cannot avoid having faith, then surely if atheism is faith and faith is bad then atheism is a necessary evil and any other kind of faith is not. In fact the more faith that is asked for the worse it is.
 
Something that is not very well verified should get less faith if any, not more. Something that could be dangerous to believe should get less faith if any, not more.
 
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atheism a religion?
 
There can be no religion unless there is belief of some sort. Atheism is not at root a belief so nobody should say atheism is a religion. The notion that there is no reason to bend the knee to any God for there is no evidence for God is the common denominator of all atheists and the sole foundation of atheism.
 
Some believers claim that faith is always religious so if atheists have faith in atheism that makes them a religion. But each person on earth has faith in different people and organisations and things. His faith in his religion may be the weakest in the list. He may have more faith in other religions - many people dabble in different religions these days. Does it follow then that each person belongs to different religions at the one time?

Many atheists say that only religious people have faith and that atheists do not. Faith is belief combined with trust and confidence. You can believe somebody but refuse to trust them so faith is trust and confidence together. If you believe your doctor that you have flu, you still may not be confident in him. You may believe that you have the flu not because he says it but for other reasons.

A faith position is trust and personal confidence in a superior being. It necessarily involves the acceptance of some kind of God. Atheism even if it is faith is not a faith position.

What about the claim that you need faith in some authorities to have a lack of belief in God as you do to deny his existence? But there is no authority in atheism. The atheist urges you to think for yourself.

 

What about the argument, “To deny God’s existence either intellectually or spiritually by living as if there is no God is only possible if you think you are God yourself.  Only one who acts as God can deny God."  The assumption is that there is a God and by defying him you put yourself in his place.  But that only works if there is in fact a God.  The wording should then be: "To deny God’s existence either intellectually or spiritually by living as if there is no God is only possible if you think you are as good an authority as a God would be yourself.  Only one who acts as God can deny God."  It is not about God as an entity but God as an authority.  Obviously no atheist thinks he can create universes or raise the dead.  The believer in fact is the one who is steeped in idolatry: "I judge that this God is good and I command myself to obey him.  It is really about what I think - see?"

Atheism is not a religion for atheism is not spiritual. Spiritual is a very vague term but everybody agrees that it involves prayer in some form or another. The atheists encourage themselves to feel that they want a person in trouble to get through it and do well. That is what they prioritise. That is why even if they thought of trying prayer out they will not do it. Why? Somebody is very ill. What matters? Is it wishing and hoping they will get well? Or is it praying for them? Praying for them is pointless if you don’t want them to get well. So your good wishes are what matters. If a choice is forced on you - good wishes or prayer what do you choose? The good wishes. To say that God alone matters or even comes first is simply to implicitly insult the sick people.
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is atheism belief or lack of belief or both?
 
Is atheism belief or faith in the absence of God? This is the question asked by Francis Spufford who unfortunately got so much attention in the Humanist and the Christian world.
 
Or is atheism a lack of belief in the presence of God?
 
It is said that if atheists believed there is no God or believed in the absence of God then that would be a faith position. No it would be a belief position. If they were taking some person as an infallible authority on the non-existence of God it would be a faith position.
 
The notion that atheism is a lack of belief in the presence of God is means that it is not a faith position. Nobody says that your lack of belief in the unicorn is a faith position.
 
It is said that mere belief in the absence of God is not atheism. That is correct if atheism is the denial of the existence of God. But sometimes belief in the absence of God is atheism and sometimes it is not. God could exist and still be absent.
 
We must remember that atheism could be both faith in the absence of God and the belief that there is no reason to believe. The two are not mutually exclusive.
 
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not a belief and so not to blame?

Atheists say that the wrong things done in the name of secularism and atheism cannot be blamed on secularism or atheism because neither stance is a belief. Both stances involve acting without religious influence. Believing in atheism does not mean you necessarily are open to going out and killing people in its name. But believing in religion means you are in principle going to kill if your god, the master of life and death who has the right to kill, commands it.

Suppose atheism and secularism are beliefs. Secularism and atheism ask you to avoid depending on others to work out what you should think but to learn from them how to think for yourself. Thus secularism and atheism are primarily individual and each person is responsible for how he or she acts. You cannot blame atheism as a belief if some atheist does bad for each atheist differs from the other and each one has made up his own mind. Their belief is not really shared but arises independently in each person. A belief in a supernatural being shared by people is to blame for the bad they do in its name because it unifies them in faith and in the God who exists in their heads.

If atheists kill, its down to beliefs that they have that may have nothing at all to do with their atheism. Perhaps they are racists for example.
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why religion argues atheism is a faith position

Atheism is not a faith position though it may be based on faith in people and in science. Such faith is provisional and meant to be outgrown. A person who believes others that there is no God is not a proper atheist. He is exercising faith in those people.

The religious retort that atheists have faith that the universe came into being without God or that it came out of energy or power that always existed. But the atheists have no choice for divine creation is absurd. All the possible explanations for how the universe came to be are odd but that one is the worst. A rational explanation could still turn up.

The religious retort that atheists have faith that life came out of matter spontaneously. But God though said to be alive is unlike life as we know it. Both atheists and believers have this problem where life emerged from something that cannot be described as alive.

The religious retort that atheists have faith that the world is better off without religion. But they know deep down that superstition and the bad thinking habits it ingrains is dangerous. If religion is so safe then why does religion feel the need to keep it regulated so carefully?

The religious retort that atheists have faith that death is the end.

The religious retort that atheists have faith in the statements of scientists. We have to have faith in some people so we just see that it is best to have faith in science for it is self-correcting unlike religion which ignores all refutations.

The religious retort that atheists have faith that miracles are not really supernatural but there must be a natural explanation even if it cannot be discovered. The natural is strange so there is no need for guessing that something might be magical. This is not about faith but about commonsense.

The religious retort that atheists believe in 'scientism' the doctrine that science can and will explain it all without God or magic. (The fact that scientism only says that it can be done in principle not in practice is ignored.) Atheists know that science cannot explain everything.

It is not faith the believers in God have but belief. Religious people do not claim that if they believe Napoleon existed then that is a religious faith position. They know faith and belief are related but that belief is not necessarily faith.
 
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is faith about mystery?

Religious believers say that though science may explain many things there is a lot of mystery. The God Particle is an example. Explanations stop with it. So religion argues that God is a mystery and atheists should not be so confident that he is disproved or improbable. But atheists stop at mystery. Mystery entitles you to say you don't know or don't have an explanation. It does not entitle you to say that a God of mystery exists or may exist. The proper stance is to hold that mystery in principle can be explained. The problem is that we don't know how to go about it. Maybe we will never be smart enough. Thus mystery is an argument AGAINST God not an argument for it. It is true one is assuming mystery can be explained but that is a working assumption we absolutely need. We need to assume that all mysteries can be explained in principle. We would never have investigated lightning if we thought, "It cannot be explained therefore there is no possibility it ever will be". That is not logical. And it is dangerous. And it promotes deliberate ignorance.
 
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atheism needs more faith than religion?
 
Christians argue that the Big Bang was not a mess but a fine-tuned occurrence. They say the design being caused by chance would be assuming a worse and zanier miracle and a bigger one than any religion ever came up with.
 
But a vast intelligence need not be an infinite God like the Christian one. And the fine tuning stuff is full of fantasy and lies. It is controversial.
 
The pure chance involved in creating the founder of your religion, one sperm out of countless sperms made that person possible, shows that the universe is not fine-tuned for religion or faith in God! And it was luck that person lived long enough to start the religion as well!
 
The Christians think the whole vast infinite universe exists just for some good purpose and for their sake. That explains what they think the universe was fine-tuned for- to produce them!
 
To say that we know how chance can start evolution off and how evolution is unplanned and still able to produce such wonderful complex entities as humans seems to be blind incalculable faith. To argue that it all happened because we are here is said to be a terrible argument. Dawkins uses the argument but is it really bad? The fact remains that our being here says something. I would prefer to argue that because we are here that evolution probably made us. It is best not to be too specific or narrow.
 
Atheists and opponents of the Christian version of God are supposedly demanding or exercising far more faith than Christians do.
The Christians have a problem with that as if they think too much faith is a bad thing after all! They can talk!
 
If it takes as much faith to believe in God as in atheism religion says that you would need to know all the universe and outside of it to see if God does not exist. It does not care that the argument could be turned around, "To say God is true means you would need to know all the universe and outside of it to see if God exists or probably exists." If it is an equal contest it proves that there is no need for faith in God thus the atheist is the wise one. A God that is not needed is not a God anyway.

 

Is Good God?

 

If atheists say that they do good because good is good in itself some believers say that they are saying they believe in God after all for all they mean by God is that which is good in itself.  That is reductionist liberal tosh.  It is redefining God as being simply one of his characteristics.  it eliminates the concept of a personal relationship with God.  What next?  Redefining Satan as malice as if the person of Satan is not Satan?  If there is a choice between doing good for a dying baby for its own sake or doing it for God as a person then do the first. God is not the same as good even if God is good.  God is fact a hindrance for a being that has it all should be the last thing on your mind when you encounter the baby.