It Takes More Faith To Be An Atheist Than A Theist

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a theist assert that to be an atheist takes more faith than to be a theist. Sometimes I shake my head in wonder, especially since I view atheism as a simple concept.

However, I suppose some theists have a hard time wrapping their mind around non-belief, even though they also (usually) don’t believe in an assortment of other gods. They may not have been exposed to an atheist before. Perhaps their default position is ‘God’ and they can’t fathom a person not believing in their particular flavor of deity. Maybe their need to know is so great that they can’t understand that some people are content to say ‘I don’t know’.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about using a well-known religious meme.

atheistic-faith

The above meme perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about. Whoever wrote that seems to believe that atheism means we must believe in the big bang and evolution. It makes the claim that with atheism comes a host of other beliefs. I’ve even been told by theists that my atheism means I must believe in things like dark matter and dark energy.

It doesn’t.

This is what atheist actually means: “Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.”

That’s it! It’s really as simple as that. No other belief comes along with atheism. An atheist might believe in other superstitions even, such as breaking a mirror will bring 7 years bad luck or that stepping on a crack will break your mother’s back. An atheist might believe in souls, reincarnation, that religion is useful or that the theory of evolution is a hunk of scientific garbage.

Hell, not even moral beliefs can necessarily be linked to atheism. For example, there are atheists who don’t believe in abortion. There simply is no law or dogma associated with atheism that demands atheists believe anything. Atheism is merely a lack of belief. When theists try to attach beliefs to atheism, they are either willfully or ignorantly misrepresenting atheism as a whole, usually so that they can make the position seem silly or stupid.

If you’re really interested in what an atheist believes, you’ll simply have to ask them.

 

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9 Comments

  1. I think there is no such thing as an atheist. By default, people set them self up as deity…without even knowing it. Anyone who think they are in control of their destiny is claiming self sovereignty…to be a god.

  2. I can see how being an atheist requires as much or more faith than being a theist, even if it seems counter-intuitive. For myself, I grew up in a family that was completely sure about their faith. It just made sense to them, and to me, until I started college. It was sort of frightening to denounce my faith because if everyone around me was right, it was a one-way ticket to hell, and it was pounded into my head that I would never, ever want to go there. When my religious friend told me I was going to hell for being an atheist, my heart stopped for a minute because nobody had ever told me I was going to hell before. I had to remain “faithful” to my logic because converting back would be easier than standing up for myself.

    • Hi Kara. Thanks for stopping by.

      You said: “I can see how being an atheist requires as much or more faith than being a theist, even if it seems counter-intuitive.”

      I’m not sure I understand why you say that. Could you expand on the specifics of what sort of faith it would take to not believe something, please.

      You said: “When my religious friend told me I was going to hell for being an atheist, my heart stopped for a minute because nobody had ever told me I was going to hell before.”

      I’m sorry you had to go through that. That’s clear indoctrination using religious fear tactics. Many atheists I’ve talked to said their fear of hell was a hard thing to overcome. I find it crazy that we think it’s okay for adults to scare this crap into small children. It’s a cycle of fear and mental torture, that we excuse as a society because it’s being done under tha banner of religion.

      You said: “I had to remain “faithful” to my logic because converting back would be easier than standing up for myself.”

      I see now. That’s not the sort of ‘faith’ I was trying to talk about. I’m more talking about religious faith. I’m very glad you stayed faithful to logic and reason. It sounds like your mind is free. No more need to fear invisible deities in the sky.

    • Hi Avrilejean,

      Exactly. Saying you need faith not to believe another persons claim when they offer no evidence is absurd.

      I’m sure even the most ardent theist would say that if I claimed an invisible gnome sat by my shoe and told me that all humanity had to do 10 push ups at 12 noon every day, that I was crazy and they didn’t believe me. It doesn’t take faith to not believe something that doesn’t have any evidence to back it up.

  3. Pingback: There is No Such Thing as an Atheist | Godless Cranium

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