Author Topic: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?  (Read 4400 times)

Socrates II

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Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« on: November 27, 2011, 01:49:34 AM »
We know that atheism strictly means the lack of belief in god. That is, by the strict definition of the term a-theism, a-theists do not accept a "theos," which means a deity or a god. This much we know, and can understand.

When I say understand, I mean that we can see how the concept of a god, especially the concept according to the three monotheist religions, can be problematical for a great many people.

But, it seems to me, atheists make out that they do not accept anything at all on faith. Is this really true? Does the fact that someone is an atheist mean that that person does not accept anything at all on faith?

I somehow doubt this to be the case. It would be almost impossible to live if every single thing had to be proved conclusively before being accepted. I wonder if atheists have examined themselves frankly enough to see if they are only atheists, or whether they are complete skeptics.

lellipses

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 08:30:37 PM »
I think you're correct: It would be difficult to survive being skeptical at every given thing.  Faith in individuals, groups, governments, self, etc is necessary, even when they've been unproven.  I think the difference between religious faith and secular faith is in the reaction when they fail us.  If our government continuously fails us, we change laws or politicians. If our friends continuously fail us, we cut them out of our lives.  If our gods fail us, it's part of some plan beyond our comprehension.

Mandrei

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 11:48:57 AM »
Atheism, for me at least, is the result of a "question everything" frame of mind. And while there are things that I accept on faith, these are mundane, trivial things, the serious things in life get the full "atheistic" treatment:P.

roxanne_101

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2011, 05:11:32 PM »
This is very interesting. Do atheists have the belief in "self"? Basically the thought of , "I can do anything if I put my mind to it", versus the Christian "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

eric.cornelison

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 06:45:47 PM »
I have to agree with you here. I believe athiest doubt that there is a God or something like a God. It is not that they don't believe completely, they just doubt that there is one. I would think that if enough proof is shown to athiests they will start believing. I could be completely wrong about this? I am sure they have faith in something?

cris2fear

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 07:50:35 AM »
Most Atheists were not born atheist, they once each had their own respective religions, and being an atheist doesn't literally mean not having any faith in anything at all, just not that impressed  with beliefs that is based on blind faith alone which is the same reason why an islamic fanatic decides to blow himself up and taking innocent people with him, your blind faith does more damage than good.


Seahunter

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 05:39:22 PM »
Well, no.  If you say to me that you saw a Lion at the zoo I am specifically, if you want to define it as such, accepting on faith the fact that you saw a lion aren't I?  I know you, you have no history of lying to me, I have seen zoos before, I have seen lions at the zoo, I make the assumption you know what a lion is, I know that you went to the zoo yesterday.  It is still , in a word, faith isn't it?  I am not irrational accepting it even, if in the end, you lied to me.  If you say you saw a ghost or a rabbit wearing a top hat, speaking English, and wearing a watch fob then we have another situation.  Doesn't matter if I know you are honest, doesn't matter if I like you.  The things you are describing are unknown to me, science, or any known biology.  You now need to provide some evidence.  Don't you approach claims in this way?

catowoman

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 11:54:59 AM »
Well, no.  If you say to me that you saw a Lion at the zoo I am specifically, if you want to define it as such, accepting on faith the fact that you saw a lion aren't I?  I know you, you have no history of lying to me, I have seen zoos before, I have seen lions at the zoo, I make the assumption you know what a lion is, I know that you went to the zoo yesterday.  It is still , in a word, faith isn't it?  I am not irrational accepting it even, if in the end, you lied to me.  If you say you saw a ghost or a rabbit wearing a top hat, speaking English, and wearing a watch fob then we have another situation.  Doesn't matter if I know you are honest, doesn't matter if I like you.  The things you are describing are unknown to me, science, or any known biology.  You now need to provide some evidence.  Don't you approach claims in this way?

Ah, so you’re like saying God for atheist are the ghosts or a rabbit wearing a top hat because you can’t simply believe that such things exists unless you saw them with your eyes. Too see is to believe, right? If a person shows you a picture of it, you’ll have doubts because pictures can be edited and proofs are what will make you believe. And yet when you look at these facts, the earth is floating in the universe, and roughly one million earths could fit inside the volume of the sun yet the sun couldn’t even burn the earth or the rest of the planets, how can you not believe that one Supreme Being is not putting all of these in place? Oh well, we could simply say that’s just how things are, right? Be born, grow, study, have job, have friends, have family, laugh, suffer, cry, get ill, get old, die. End of story. How bland.

Sandra Piddock

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2012, 01:26:39 PM »
Ah, so you’re like saying God for atheist are the ghosts or a rabbit wearing a top hat because you can’t simply believe that such things exists unless you saw them with your eyes. Too see is to believe, right? If a person shows you a picture of it, you’ll have doubts because pictures can be edited and proofs are what will make you believe. And yet when you look at these facts, the earth is floating in the universe, and roughly one million earths could fit inside the volume of the sun yet the sun couldn’t even burn the earth or the rest of the planets, how can you not believe that one Supreme Being is not putting all of these in place? Oh well, we could simply say that’s just how things are, right? Be born, grow, study, have job, have friends, have family, laugh, suffer, cry, get ill, get old, die. End of story. How bland.

I don't think Seahunter is saying that at all - merely that he can take some things on faith, but not others, therefore if he is an atheist, he is not completely faithless, which is what the OP is asking. He just says he'd need some sort of corroborating evidence of a ghost or a rabbit in a top hat, not that he'd need to see it for himself. I think everyone could relate to that - it would be credulous in the extreme to accept such a thing at face value.

I actually thought that was an excellent analogy, because it's a very clear and logical explanation. So many people on these boards go off at a tangent or pursue their own agenda, so it's refreshing to see something explained so well. I don't see why you have a problem with it.

Socrates II

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2012, 07:30:16 PM »
After going through the range of comments, we must by now know that there is a confusion between atheism and skepticism. If we're not already aware of it, it's time we did become aware of it.

Atheism is lack of belief restricted to religious matters, specifically lack of belief in god. Skepticism is an attitude of disbelief in all matters, religious or secular.

There may be atheists who are quite gullible in other matters. In fact, many atheists try to compensate for the resulting lack of security by believing in other things. This doesn't apply to all atheists, so please don't rise up in arms over this statement.

And there are many religious believers who are actually skeptics at heart. I mean by this that they refuse to believe, or to even listen to, anything that has a hint of contradiction to their accepted faith. And this faith is not a result of thought. It is an instilled faith. Beyond that, everything else is shut out. Again, I'm only stating situations to show the variations and extremes on both sides.

But at least we may consider this much established, that atheists are not complete skeptics.

Melissa93

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2012, 11:11:30 PM »
As an atheist, I can say that we have faith. Our faith is just not pointed to god. We don't believe in god, so we believe in ourselves and others. Faith is said to mean that you believe in something you know can't be true. Atheists have faith in spirits, our loved ones who passed, ghosts, many others things like them.

meowcow

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 03:51:02 PM »
You bring up a very interesting point. Personally, I think atheists who claim to have no faith or belief in anything are a little full of themselves. As long as there are things that exist that cannot yet be proven or quantified by science like thought or emotions, there is really no reason to base decisions in a manner of having to have proof for everything and anything.

Beyonder

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 04:50:43 PM »
And this Socrates my friend is exactly why I do not paint myself with the brush of being an atheist - to be dubbed an atheist is giving me a label and I follow no such labels - logical conclussion is your answer.

MyOCDisMild

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 04:09:26 PM »
I believe in myself and my ability to care for the people I love and provide a sound, loving
environment for my children. I believe in the amount of immense love I possess and
none of it is connected to any deity; and i believe in the immense amount of love that I receive
from those who love me. I believe in hard work and pride in what I do, and I believe in this
world, all that I have or can depend on is family and death.

SirTenenbaum

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Re: Do atheists have no faith in anything at all?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 05:22:59 PM »
It's seems like people have been confusing some very separable things. Faith is a very diverse word, but it's application is quite different. If your friend tells you he went to the zoo and saw a polar bear, that's not a leap of faith to believe that. That's quite a logical thing to expect, and it's a matter of trust in your friend telling the truth. The same goes for if your friend told you something more magnificent, say, that a penguin escaped from its pool.

Again, with the politicians example, that's a matter of trust (or lack thereof) and expectation based on experience and one's understanding of political theory.

Likewise, is it through faith that we atheists "believe" Australia exists even if we've never been there? No, that's not faith at all. And the theist doesn't rely on faith either to believe that Australia exists.

Faith in the religious sense is believing that some invisible being exists without decisive, objective proof. Other daily experiences and actions that we take are not based on faith, but on experience and differing levels of evidence. I hope I've clarified things.


 

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