Some people believe that it requires some leap of faith to disbelieve god's existence. This is absolutely idiotic. Atheism is a lack of a belief in god. If you are religious, ask yourself: "Why do I believe in god?" Whether or not you claim to have evidence for your faith, the correct answer is because someone taught you about god. You did not know what god was until someone told you. Either you were taught, or you invented your own version of god, deluded yourself, and poisoned other minds with your falsehoods.

One cannot make the argument that atheism requires a leap of faith. Nonbelief is not an active conscious process. One would not continue throughout their day repeating "I don't believe. I don't believe. I don't believe." Justification of disbelief is a different process entirely. Rejecting belief is an active conscious process but maintaining disbelief is not because there is nothing to maintain. Belief is always an active conscious process. Belief requires constant reaffirmation e.g. "I believe because of this, that, and the other." Disbelief does not require this. Faith can only exist in the presence of a conscious appeal to the mind. If the conscious appeal is gone (or never existed in the first place) then one cannot believe. Arguing for the case of the opposite simply does not make sense. There is no conscious appeal to disbelief. The truth is, god is a concept invented by man.

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Comment by Daniel Rockwell on April 29, 2013 at 9:29am

Tl;DR version:

To make a decision on a subject that is ultimately unknowable (no matter how the evidence lies) is to make a leap of faith.  If it is possible to be wrong, yet you still hold onto the belief (or non-belief), then you are taking a leap of faith.

And, since being wrong on this particular subject could bring a horrible punishment with it, choosing the side of non-belief really is taking a leap.  It's a gamble, however much the odds are in our favor.

Comment by Gary Clouse on May 14, 2013 at 7:59am

I guess it depends on which definition of "faith" you are using. There are many words in the English language that are used in specific contexts so often that the context qualifiers are eventually dropped.

A good example of this is the word "free". The root meaning of "free" is simply "an absence", as in "free of additives".  However, in the US with its consumer-centric culture, "free" connote, "free gratis" or "a lack of cost", while in political references, the word connotes "an absence of domination".

The word "faith" is synonymous with "trust" but in discussions of religion and philosophy, it often implies "trust in religious convictions". It doesn't take any religious convictions to trust in that which is observed,

Tom: I can understand where it may take a leap of faith for someone who has been indoctrinated heavily into a religious mindset, to turn to atheism, but to remain an atheist requires no such convictions. It may takes some work to unlearn the religious worldview you were raise in.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on May 14, 2013 at 1:01pm

"...This is absolutely idiotic."

Until idiotic has an agreed-upon definition, it might be idiotic to claim that anything is absolutely idiotic.

Comment by Joseph Martin on May 14, 2013 at 1:21pm

Let's refrain from trolling mkay, Tom?

Comment by Unseen on May 14, 2013 at 1:34pm

Let's agree that "idiotic" is as idiot does.

Comment by Joseph Martin on May 14, 2013 at 1:51pm

Doug, your point is moot. Faith is the answer people give for when they believe something for no good reason. Atheism isn't a belief system. Atheism is a lack of a belief in God.

Comment by Joseph Martin on May 14, 2013 at 2:39pm

Doug, if you believe that atheism requires the assertion that no gods exist then you are mistaken. Go look at a dictionary again.

Atheism does not assert that there are no gods. It simply rejects the belief in a god.

Personally, I would, in fact, assert that there are no gods because there is no evidence for a god and that which has no substantial evidence can be dismissed entirely. But this is not what atheism is about. You are talking about anti-theism.

Comment by Joseph Martin on May 14, 2013 at 3:11pm

This is not how the term is used by modern atheists.

A person with theistic beliefs has a belief in a deity. "A" means "without."

Therefore, a+ theist = without a belief in god. This is NOT equivalent to the claim that a god does not exist.

Comment by Joseph Martin on May 14, 2013 at 3:16pm

The word isn't so much important.

My point is that simply not believing in god requires no leap of faith.

Comment by Daniel Rockwell on May 14, 2013 at 3:47pm

And this is why I mentioned the difference between "soft" and "hard" atheism.  I guess you'd call "hard" atheism, "anti-theism".

Of course "lacking a belief in God" would be an entirely passive state, with no conscious effort towards maintaining that state, and thus, no "faith" is involved.

However, I counter that the only person who could exist in this state is one that has never been presented with the notion in any form whatsoever.  One would need to be completely ignorant of both sides of the topic to truly not have a stance on the topic.

So literally no one who is aware of the concept of God/religion, yet does not believe can be in this neutral state.  If you are aware, yet lack belief, then you actually have actively rejected the notion (even if only subconsciously)

There is no way to sit directly on the fence.  Simply knowing that the fence exists precludes that.

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