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 Gary Clouse on April 29, 2013 at 1:54am

Tom Sarbeck: Logically, and by definition, Non existence is not negative. It is simply nothing. A negative can be proven through the existence of a complement, which cancels it out.

 Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle , is the idea that, in quantum physics, the energy used to observe the quantum state of a particle changes the quantum state of the particle. So you can't be certain what the particle is currently doing, only what it was doing. when  last observed.

    But the question is: Does atheism require a leap of faith?

  Years ago, Dr Isaac Asimov used the term "judo argument" for the flawed mental exercises of Christians that attempt to leverage science to support the presumed existence of god. Judo is a field of oriental fighting skill that uses an opponent's strength against him.

   Thr judo argument in question claims it requires a leap of faith to be an atheist. I disagree. A "Leap of faith" is an action based on a belief, where no evidence supports the belief. It is a real example of pretzel logic. They are basically claiming atheism is a religion

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on April 29, 2013 at 4:50am

Gary, are you remarking on someone else's words?

I spoke of a leap from Catholicism with no knowledge of where my leap would take me.

Because atheists at the university claimed knowledge, I leaped to agnosticism.

The knowledge they claimed is still lacking.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on April 29, 2013 at 5:18am

Also, Gary, your "So you can't be certain what the particle is currently doing, only what it was doing. when  last observed." lacks precision. The instruments now being used also lack precision.

The moment the particle being measured was "last observed" follows by a short time the moment the measuring particle struck the particle being measured. The uncertainty is greater than you say.

And for fun, bouncing a particle off a moving bowling ball changes the bowling ball's momentun by an amount smaller than current instruments can measure.

Comment by Daniel Rockwell on April 29, 2013 at 9:03am

Here's why I am an "atheist" vs. "agnostic" (and why it is relevant to this topic).

The stance of an agnostic is that one doesn't/can't know. ("agnostic" means "no knowledge")

This is the default state.  This is the truly neutral position.  It is neither On nor Off.  The switch is stuck in the middle.  And it is obviously the most rational and logical state (well, at least in terms of things that really are unknowable)

So when it comes to the existence of God (any of them; my default focus of non-belief, and discussions thereof, is the Christian God, but I hold all of the others in the same boat), it is a thing that ultimately can't be known (while we're alive, anyway).  Sure, most non-believers find the idea to be so ridiculously preposterous that it feels like it can be known to be false, but it truly can't.  Even with no tangible evidence, it still cannot be said with absolute certainty that God does not exist.

I can entertain that thought.  I can entertain the thought that God may actually exist.  I can entertain that I may be wrong in my non-belief.

But only intellectually.  My mind can accept those things through logic.  But when my mind is being honest with itself, I flip the switch fully Off.  I can entertain those thought, but I can never accept them.

KNOW that God does not exist, even though it is impossible to know that.

That is the "leap of faith" of which they speak.

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.


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