While at the pool last night, I was sitting around with a group of people, I wouldn't call them friends, but the discussion of my atheism came up in a round about way and I could tell people were uncomfortable. One person made a comment about relating atheism to satanism which I'm sure is a common misconception, although one that the religious would love to have everyone believe. However the comment that got me going was when someone said "everyone has to believe in something", at which point I said, well sure and I believe in human beings. The conversation pretty much ended after that. I'm sure that left the person unsatisfied and I wanted to go further but didn't. So I was hoping for some suggestions or comments how to address the comment.

 

How would you handle that remark? What would be your answer to this? I would love to hear thoughts.

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Typical conflation of "faith" and "belief". I might have said I believe in people too. It's a good answer, though I guess it's more accurate to say I believe in certain people. Humans in general tend to be assholes unfortunately.

 

But it's perfectly viable to believe in tangible objects and concepts. You can believe in people, science, love or the beauty of the universe. Faith is where it gets problematic. That's just belief without evidence. Though if someone said they have faith that their friends will be there when needed, I'll buy that. As opposed to faith in the supernatural

You're right. Maybe I should've said "I agree but I believe in things I know, and the religious belief is based on faith in what cannot be known".

If I had been in that situation, and I had had a really bad day and was pissed off and looking for a fight; feeling like I wanted to run like a bull in a China shop, I would have told that guy "I cannot accept the existence of a loving God that would allow babies and young toddlers to die in agony from cancer or be burned to death in fires.

 

I think that would shut things down in a hurry. Always has worked for me in the past, ALWAYS. But then you have just made everybody upset and feeling like shit, which you may feel guilty for later.

 

Now if I had been in a normal state of mind, I would have just said "Yeah, I know what you mean. We all want to live meaningful lives and I find that giving to others in need, is what makes me feel most fufilled." 

lol, although I do like option a option b makes more sense.

 

Maybe I should've spent more time attacking the whole atheists equals satanist comment. Caught me off guard.

Good response to that: "You're more of a satanist than I am: you actually believe in satan."

Good way to catch them off guard right back. Now that you're on equal footing, commence debunking or further explanation to make your case. You could also mention that atheism is referred to as the disbelief in gods, you should also point out that this refers to other deities as well, including satan.

Ooh, most excellent reply.  "You're more of a satanist than I am: you actually believe in satan."

 

As far as making them feel bad, unless you need to get along with these people, anyone who would say something like that is on the same moral and intellectual level as a racist who equates being black with being an animal.  It took me a long time to finally face up to this, and I paid for my reluctance to admit it repeatedly and dearly.  Such a person should be told off and excluded from your life completely if possible.

Isaac S wrote:

Good response to that: "You're more of a satanist than I am: you actually believe in satan."

 

Now that right there is funny!

I would have said "Maybe. The mind is a complicated thing to discuss. But belief in things and faith in things are not the same thing. Belief is a result of evidence. Faith is a demand despite evidence. Further, hope is an earnest wish, so let's be sure we aren't confusing terms. I believe in many things, and I hope for many things but I have faith in nothing. Evidence will change my belief and time will answer my hope, but faith is immune to either. I have no use for it."

 

I actually use words like that in everyday conversation. That is why I swear a lot.

That was great man, I need to write that down and use it sometime.
I believe in many things, and I hope for many things but I have faith in nothing. Evidence will change my belief and time will answer my hope, but faith is immune to either. I have no use for it.

Wow.
Agreed.  Well put.
Amen!

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