Some Christian authors have argued that “it takes more faith to disbelieve in God than to believe.” Quite the bold assertion, if you ask certain Christians.
It’s certain that for some folks who are strongly convinced of God’s existence, this statement is accurate: for them, it is more difficult to reject than to believe.
But it is only the case for some. However, those who make the remark are correct in assuming that atheism requires a leap of faith. Atheism, in and of itself, is a position of faith for many people, and here’s why. . .
First, What Is An Atheist?
While atheism’s core ideas are straightforward, many people do not understand them. An atheist does not believe in any gods or a higher power. Let’s dissect that, shall we?
Belief in a deity or gods is known as theism. The prefix “a” indicates ‘without’ or ‘absence of.’ Therefore, “atheism” refers to the absence of religious faith in a higher power.
Theists are fond of arguing that atheists must have a false belief that God does not exist because they refuse to acknowledge his existence. Not believing in God does not mean there are no Gods. It’s possible for a person to honestly claim she has no idea if gods exist and don’t believe in any of them.
Getting Rid of the Evident
There are several types of faith, and atheists are absent from some of them:
- It should come as no surprise that atheists lack Christian belief. If they did, they’d identify as Christians.
- They lack the religious attribute of faith, which entails trusting God and accepting his Word at face value since God is truth.
However, there are various types of faith. Unfortunately, many of the proposed descriptions for them fall short.
Faith in the Face of Evidence?
One common definition of faith is the refusal to abandon a belief despite the preponderance of evidence suggesting otherwise. But this is not how most people, much alone those who call themselves religious, use the phrase. Whatever the case may be, it would not be prudent to argue that atheists should hold such a faith.
Faith Without Proof?
The assumption that faith is just blind trust in anything is also flawed but to a lesser extent. But believers rarely think of themselves as having no proof for their faith.
Regardless of whether they have looked into the proof for their views, they tend to at least assume that it exists.
As a result, framing the topic of faith as believing without proof is not what persons of faith perceive themselves to be doing, and this also serves to be more of a logical fallacy and an obstacle to dialogue.
Faith in the Absence of Absolute Proof?
A common definition of faith is the willingness to accept something as true in the absence of the type or quantity of evidence that would establish its validity beyond a reasonable doubt.
St. Paul’s statement that “we walk by faith, not by sight” seems to represent this view of faith (2 Cor. 5:7).
He appears to recognize that Christians are expected to believe in spiritual truths without the ironclad evidence that would be available if these things were manifest to the senses.
Faith is not arbitrary or unsupported by facts. St. Paul believed that he had solid proof to support his claims.
However, he concedes that this evidence is not on par with what we would have if we could see spiritual reality in the same way we perceive the material world.
Atheists may share this faith.
Faith in Everyday Life?
Christian authors often make the point that even atheists exhibit faith in their daily lives, and that faith is crucial to the human condition.
No one ever has 100% conclusive proof in real life that:
- The food he eats isn’t poisoned,
- He won’t be killed in a car accident on the way to work,
- His acquaintances aren’t plotting his death.
- The validity of his memories
No one even has conclusive evidence of the most basic facts, such as:
- The law of gravity will not abruptly cease to function.
- Today, the sun won’t go supernova.
- the reality of a physical universe and the existence of independent human minds
- foundational posits in logic
Even still, many go on and act on and believe these ideas anyhow. They are, in effect, practicing a type of faith, just as atheists do when they hold to certain moral principles.
“Faith” Isn’t a Taboo Word
Given that faith in something greater than oneself is integral to being human, bringing this up is both necessary and good. The term “faith” is not negative.
We all have faith, and pretending otherwise would be a lie. That which we trust in and the quality of the decisions we make in that regard are the only determining factors.
A Prayer For The Unbelievers
Our heavenly Father,
Remind me to pray for everyone I encounter as I go about my day in my community and city. You know my desire for the salvation of the lost, even though I can’t close my eyes in my drive, since You know my heart. People all across the world show Christian symbols, but only You can truly read their intentions. I pray that the nonbelievers I meet along the route You’ve set out for me will provide me with an opportunity to spread the good news.
The thought that so many people reject You as Lord fills me with dread. Many other philosophies exist, all of which are in direct opposition to the Truth. All roads lead to you because you alone are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Please use the Holy Spirit to open the eyes, ears, and hearts of the nonbelievers so that they may accept You as the one God. Some nations believe in millions of deaf, silent gods. They worship them, but they don’t honor you, Lord. Persuade them with all your might that there is no other God
We unite in prayer with Your missionaries as they travel the world to spread a message of revival that only You can deliver. To all the doubters in the world: may they eventually experience Your goodness and come to their senses.
I ask this in the power of Your name,
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