Don't tell me you never had this question asked to you, subsequently to your, usually politely, explaining to whoever asks about your religion, that you're an atheist and do not believe in any god; you're an atheist and do not believe that a god exists; or whatever combination of words you choose.

That's pretty much how it goes.

Even people who know that atheists do not believe in a god will sometimes still assume they share a common set of beliefs or principles, and have common political tendencies.

"So, what do atheists believe?", is their question.

If you ask me, I've had a wide variety of comebacks, depending on my mood at the moment, most of them facetious, but most likely, after explaining that atheists (as a group) do not have a common set of beliefs, I say that *I* believe in love, in humanity and our good faith... just to keep it simple... because, quite frankly, we don't "believe" in science - we find it verifiable. We don't "believe" in the universe and its wonders, we have seen them through amazing telescopes. I guess you get my point.

So what do you, fellow atheist, believe in, or what do you think is the best answer to this question?


Side note: This discussion is focused rather on the best comeback to the question in it, which in this specific context, is always asked as "opposed to your non-belief in god, what do atheists believe?"

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apparently it will have to be a blog post...

Grrr... guidelines, guidelines guidelines...

You shouldn't feed the troll at all

I believe in the infinite stupidity of the religious fundamentalists!! 


I believe in the infinite stupidity of the religious fundamentalists!!


unless, you have a better explanation for our existence, you might examine your position.

Not necessarily! I cannot explain the process behind the double-slit experiment, still reject the claim that it's all about Harry Potter :DD !


I think there is an element of faith in science but not religious type faith, faith more like trust ... for example I cannot prove the sun in will rise in the east tomorrow but I have faith it will do so based on the fact that it has done so since records began (plus the physics of it are fairly well understood). In addition I have faith in science of the sort that is granted where I don't have specific understanding ... I am a biologist by education, server engineer by trade, I read a lot of stuff about science and I tend to believe reports from trusted source. An example might be advances in quantum mechanics ... I listen, I watch, I read I provisionally accept stuff on a kind of faith but I can't possibly test those things because I have neither the money or the specific skills.


For this reason I don't think we can/should avoid words like "believe" and "faith" (they are parts of the English language after all) but should simply explain what we mean.



Science depends upon certain presuppositions which are, at first, accepted on faith. Later on, they are proven to be valid presuppositions as the science is able to make verifiable predictions, achieve reproducible results, and so on.


Such presuppositions as:

There is a world out there.

Happenings in the world are subject to physical laws.

I can trust my senses.

My tools are adequate to the job.

And that the universe we observe is inherently explicable ... so far it appears to be so.



And that the universe we observe is inherently explicable ... so far it appears to be so.


Explain it then, please. Where did it come from ? What caused it into existence ?

Explicable means "able to be explained" not "explained." And you seem to have forgotten that we aren't talking about results at this point but about things one has to assume to even start.

Yes I am aware of what "explicable" means thanks ... with a wife who teaches English to dyslexia students and a daughter *majoring* in English (in addition to being something of a pedant myself) I tend to have a fairly good grasp on English :)



I see. Then you were just asleep at the wheel a bit, I suppose.


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