It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist

Do you know what? I'm not at all sure what is meant by the claim "it takes more faith to be an atheist." It's been said to me a few times, most recently by my mom, but I'm not at all sure what it means.

Perhaps a person who makes a statement such as this might be saying that since one can not prove that a god does not exist, then believing that there are no gods requires faith. A freaky double negative does sound slick and unclear to a person who counts on their religion having all of the answers.

But, in that case I also have faith that there are no singing dandelions on Jupiter, I have faith that there are no chocolate-covered pecans on my rooftop, I have faith that this warm blanket on my shoulders has never been to the Arctic, I have faith that monkeys will never write Shakespeare, and I have faith that the moon is not made of green cheese.


It Takes More Faith to Disagree

Is it being suggested that, since so many people believe in a god... or twelve, it takes more faith to disagree with the beliefs of the local popular religion?  In that case I have no more faith in my disbelief than Christians do in not believing that humans came up from the middle of the earth in the form on ants. I have no more faith in my disbelief than any other non-Hindi in not believing that an elephant's head makes a wonderful replacement for the head of a decapitated baby.

I have no more faith than a Muslim might doubt the claim that the earth rests on the top of a sea turtle. I have no more faith than a Mormon might doubt the claim that humans were created during the Dreamtime. Or the fact that most Americans don't believe in the Chinese claim that the powder made of elephant tusks are a cure-all for what ails you. Or that we no longer believe in Anubis, Hera, or Venus.

That is nothing more than being afraid to be outside of the crowd.

Assuming my argument is going in the right direction, I can't prove that a god doesn't exist. I mean, I can use logic to prove that all things that make a deity logically impossible, but I can't prove a universal negative. No one can.

I can't prove that Amanda Bynes is the best movie star on the planet, and I can't prove the existence of fluff on the navel of a unicorn.

Nor can I disprove these things.

This is nothing more than being out of the habit of thinking critically.

Belief is More Rational Than Disbelief

...Upon some reflection, I think that a person who says it takes more faith to be an atheist is saying that belief is more rational than disbelief. Or perhaps it is more like things are so complicated and I don't understand them that I prefer to believe that a creator god made everything and has everything under control. If we don't know something then a miracle had to happen. If we don't have enough evidence or understanding for something then it's much easier to assume a supernatural being gets it because the idea that this is not true scares the hell out of me. And I don't want to go to H E Double hockey sticks.

That is nothing more than being afraid to acknowledge one's own limitations and the basic abhorrence of our own mortality.

The Universe is Beyond Comprehension Without a Creator

Maybe the statement is from the standpoint of viewing the entirety of the universe and thinking WOW, it is beyond comprehension, therefore, god. Or perhaps the statement is on the lips of a person who has no faith in their own ability to understand the change and evolution that a few million years can bring about on this planet.

That's nothing more than a fear of the smallness of a single person and of one's place in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps it is even more basic than that. If I do not believe in the miracle of Jesus, then I don't know what else there is. My religion does not offer much hope for those who cannot accept their stories, so I can't even begin to think outside of the box in which I live.

And that is nothing more than the fear of the unknown.

Furthermore, when a believer is faced with evidence or with problems and discrepancies with their holy book, religions require that the person in this quandary simply have faith and ignore the nagging doubts that the world clearly brings about. The idea of being a heretic, worldly, or godless is the scariest thing they can imagine.

That is nothing more than being afraid to stand alone with integrity against a crowd.

We truly don't have all of the answers, but we have some of them and we are working on it. Also, I think that our ability to know some things is very limited. That doesn't mean I advocate substituting knowledge for stories

I can handle the not knowing.

So their faith keeps them safe, it keeps them comfortably numb, it keeps them from facing a world in which all questions aren't easily answered by miracle, god, and afterlife, it keeps them in a nice community, it keeps them from feeling insignificant, it doesn't require the struggle of rational thought, and it prevents them from the existential angst of essential humanness.

Now I see.

It's fear.

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