When you’ve proclaimed yourself an atheist long enough – and by “long enough” I mean, long enough to have had a conversation with a religious person – you eventually come up against this little gem:
“It takes as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a theist.”
I say “theist” but in most cases this argument is used by Christians.
Uneducated Fundamentalist Christians…
This argument shows a complete lack of understanding about what an atheist actually is.
Nowadays, the lazy, the uneducated, or those seeking to deliberately mislead, use the term “atheist” to mean something like “someone who believes there is no such being as God.” Obviously, this is why they think atheism is a belief system, but that definition is incorrect.
A “theist” is one who believes in the existence of a god or gods. The term “atheist” is created by adding the originally Greek prefix “a” to the term “theist” and it’s definition becomes simply “not theist”. Not convinced? The same prefix is used with words such as “amoral” (not moral) “atypical” (not typical) and “asymmetrical” (not symmetrical)…
Atheism is the lack of belief in god, not a belief that there is no god.
This argument is also used by those who think it takes faith to believe in certain scientific theories, which simply shows a lack of understanding in the scientific method.
Every scientific theory, result, or law has mountains of evidence to back it up. In a way, a scientific theory is stronger than a fact, because a “theory” ties in more than one observable fact. So when you hear “it’s only a theory”, what they are saying is “it’s only a hypothesis”. But of course, there’s a big difference between a theory and a hypothesis.
Faith is when you believe in something without having evidence to back it up, and there’s certainly no need for faith to accept a scientific theory.
Nor is faith needed not to believe in god.