Sunday, November 12, 2006

Atheism Is a "Faith"? Not So Fast...

People who do not believe in supernatural entities do not have a "faith" in "the non-existence of X" (where X is "fairies" or "goblins" or "gods"); what they have is a reliance on reason and observation, and a concomitant preparedness to accept the judgment of both on the principles and theories that premise their actions. The views they take about things are proportional to the evidence supporting them, and are always subject to change in the light of new or better evidence.

"Faith" - specifically and precisely: the commitment to a belief in the absence of evidence supporting that belief, or even (to the greater merit of the believer) in the very teeth of evidence contrary to that belief - is a far different thing, which is why the phrase "religious thinktank" has a certain comic quality to it: for faith at its quickly-reached limit is the negation of thought.

Read part 2 of this rebuttal here: Atheism Is a "Faith"? Not So Fast... (Part 2)



The Puritan said...

I would like to argue the opposite side to this article.

Firstly, in this argument I will define a “faith” as an organized religion. An organized religion is simply a category for how a particular body of people defines truth or what truth they have faith in. For the sake of this argument, faith in the context of religion is: considering [insert item here] to be truth without total assurance that it is truth. I would submit to you that the definition of truth in this argument is something is inerrant and infallible with inerrant meaning without error and infallible meaning not capable of error. Implied in this definition of truth is that that it is was always truth, is currently truth, and will always be truth.

I would submit to this blog that it is rather silly to say that atheism isn't a “faith” simply because one cannot have perfect knowledge of any given arena. Thusly, since we cannot be totally assured of anything to be truth, we believe that it is true with the imperfect resources presented to us. In this argument, I will use the example that an atheist denies the existence of God through using logic, reason, and scientific evidence.

I would submit to you that this article is trying to display that atheism is actually infallible and inerrant since its basis of truth or the basis of logic and reason is on the solid foundation of proven scientific theory is inerrant and infallible. Not only that, but the very foundation of the article is trying to prove that atheism is truth by separating itself from the very definition of faith above, thusly implying that atheism is inerrant and infallible.

For the sake of defining truth in atheism, I would submit that it is widely considered that there is no God. Instead of relying upon fairies, goblins, and gods, an atheist turns inward and relies upon logic and reason of which is anchored by scientific theory. But, I would argue that current scientific theory is not necessarily inerrant and infallible since we do not currently have perfect knowledge of any given scientific field and we could very likely come across new discoveries that could void past scientific theories.

For instance, basic scientific "truths/facts" of yester-year have been found to be untrue today. Such is the case with heliocentrism and there are many more instances of the like.

If science is not inerrant and infallible, of which any scientist would agree, atheist or otherwise, then one’s basis of logic and reason is not inerrant and infallible. If an atheist’s logic and reason are not inerrant and infallible, then one cannot be absolutely assured that their position is truthful, thusly showing that individually atheists have faith that there is no God. To show that there is a body of people that have faith that there is no God, I will use the community on this blog as evidence. Finally, to show that this body of people that have faith that there is no God is organized, I simply have to show all of the atheist conventions, debates, articles, blogs, etc. representing atheism or providing communities to atheists, much as a church does for Christians. So, in conclusion, atheism is an organized body of people that have faith that there is no God. Thusly, atheism is indeed a “faith.”

Now that I’ve said that, I need to state the real reason of why I came here and talk about my “faith:”

I am a Christian.

I know that God exists.

I know there is one God and that the Trinity is a reality whereas the Godhead is three entities in one being consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I know that scriptures are the Word of God. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I know that God is a spirit whose being, power, holiness, justice, goodness, wisdom, and truth are infinite, eternal, and unchanging. Through these characteristics, it is easily discernable that God was always inerrant and infallible, is inerrant and infallible, and will always be inerrant and infallible.

I know that God is the standard of all things due to his very character of which is discerned in his Word.

I know that God punishes sin, which is a transgression against the law of which God set forth.

I know that I am a sinner and will be punished for my sins according to the extent of the character of God and his wrath.

I know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a perfect life and bore my sins when he died on the cross and that I can be saved from the wrath of God if I would repent of my sins and have faith in Jesus Christ as my mediator and savior.

I know that I am now counted righteous in God’s sight and am now saved from God’s wrath because I am now a partaker in the divine nature of God as I am being conformed to His image. I am now seeing and savoring his glory and am now experiencing joy that can only be brought by this fact.

So, what now?

There is a cost of discipleship and following the Christ. We must crucify ourselves. We must bear our cross daily and deny ourselves of our desires, dreams, etc. It is not easy by any means, but it is worth the sacrifice it as you are simply trading rags for riches.

So, what does this have to do with truth? Why is he stating that he has faith in all of these things? I state these things because that truth can only be affirmed and imparted by one that is truth and that truth is God. I am now a partaker of his divine nature and am now free from bondage of sin! I am being conformed to the image of his Son and I know that all of these things are true. I can state with absolute certainty that the above is true and I have a place for me stored up in eternity. No longer is this faith, it is truth.

I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit moves you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord, savior, and mediator and that you would repent of your sins and follow him. Being an atheist prior to conversion, I can speak from experience that the surpassing excellencies of knowing God; seeing and savoring his glory; and of knowing truth far surpass anything that you think that you know or have experienced.

I implore you: please consider these things, your very soul is at stake.

Anonymous said...

i'll stick with a dictionary when defining "faith"

godma said...

The Puritan,
Of course "faith" can be used in either sense (and others as well). Your claim that atheism is like organized religion (in the Western sense) falls short, though. Whatever similarities might exist between the two, western religion includes at least a couple critical components that are not found in atheism:
1) faith (in the other sense of the word - the willful protection of certain beliefs from the level of scrutiny one would otherwise apply)
2) belief in a deity or deities.

These are not trivial differences.