Shop More Submit  Join Login
×

:iconmartinsilvertant: More from MartinSilvertant


Featured in Collections

Word art by Arcane-Shadow-Razil

Literature by Darkest-Jade

LIT by roadkillKitten


More from deviantART



Details

Submitted on
December 9, 2012
File Size
5.6 KB
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
479
Favourites
15 (who?)
Comments
72
×
The definition of 'faith' is "belief that is not based on proof". Can you prove that God does not exist? You can't, hence atheism is faith. This statement alone would be very controversial so let me elaborate.

I think your objection as an atheist to this statement might be that you've always maintained that atheism is the neutral position and now suddenly I'm bringing that into question for you. However, the fact that atheism is a belief does NOT depreciate atheism or the arguments for it. An atheist is still a non-believer and it's a very rational position to take. If however you feel uncomfortable with the idea that there is no evidence of the non-existence of God and therefore atheism is faith, perhaps you will find comfort in considering yourself an agnostic and anti-theist. Let me elaborate on that.

Agnostic
Most atheists consider themselves atheist because they don't see how God could be real and I take that position as well. Someone recently told me there are two forms of atheism: weak or agnostic atheism ("It's possible but unlikely for a god to exist.") and strong or gnostic atheism ("A god does not exist"). If you state that God does not exist that's not a fact because facts need to be proved and by definition God can't be proved because it's exterior to our universe, just like a multiverse can't be proved (but can be strongly suspected by association and experience) because it's exterior to our universe. If you state that God does not exist that's a personal conviction/opinion. So, if you're a weak atheist your position is hard to argue. If you're a strong atheist then that's based on an opinion and takes a leap of faith. I can find myself in weak atheism also known as agnosticism. What might bother you about considering yourself to be an agnostic is that it implies that you're open to the possibility that God exists while the idea of God just seems ludicrous to people who would consider themselves to be an atheist. This brings me to anti-theism.

Anti-theism
Anti-theism can also be defined in two ways. The anti-theist can detest religion (which many atheists do as well) and he can detest the concept of God. I personally detest both. Even if God could exist, I maintain it's a horrible idea. So anti-theism doesn't pretend to know God does or doesn't exist but expresses an opinion. To consider yourself an agnostic and an anti-theist tells the whole story: it's highly improbable that God exists and in my opinion there is no way and no reason for God to exist. I think this is essentially what you mean to indicate with atheism but described in a more descriptive manner. 'Atheism' can imply things you don't mean to imply.

I'm rather reserved in making statements which haven't been proved, and to consider myself an atheist goes against the scientific protocol. This was also Carl Sagan's opinion which is why he said the following:
"An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed"

However, in practice Carl Sagan could definitely be considered an atheist in the general sense of the word. He preferred not to consider himself as such because it goes against the scientific protocol, which needs to be kept in honor especially by a scientist. Neil deGrasse Tyson has a similar opinion on the matter as he prefers not to consider himself any -ist except for 'scientist'. I strongly recommend you watch this 4 minute video to hear what he has to say: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzSMC5…
On this note, I'm not quoting people of authority to give credit to my statements—or worse, to pretend that I'm correct. However I do want to show that I'm not the only one who makes these distinctions.

I very much respect atheism and in practice I am an atheist but I have to be reserved with my statements because I simply don't know. To give an analogy, when a black hole was described in mathematics many scientists were convinced that black holes had to exist while others thought it was too weird. It brought a great divide within the scientific community. What would be wrong at this point though is to state that black holes ARE real. Even though we now know black holes do exist, there was no observational evidence for it when the concept of a black hole was first described. Scientists had to wait for observational data until they could state it as fact. Equally, I rather wait for the observational data of God before I can state with absolute certainty that God does not exist. Meanwhile though, it's my opinion that God does not exist.

I personally think a bit of controversy is good so we can have a well-mannered intellectual debate, however of course not just for the sake of it; it needs to be productive. According to my reasoning though atheism is based on faith. But again, this notion doesn't depreciate atheism, and atheism is definitely NOT a religion. I have to bring very strong emphasis to that distinction.
I recently sparked controversy with my article Theistic delusions and this is my response to one of the people who either misinterpreted my words or simply can't relate to my logic. I do hope this message will elaborate more clearly on my reasoning and where I make the distinctions and I also hope for once I will not cause any controversy when talking about theism, philosophy and the scientific protocol.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconthedigitalabyss:
TheDigitalAbyss Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Actually faith is defined as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something."

You can't have faith in "nothing" because faith is complete trust in someone or something..

Argument over, have a nice day.
Reply
:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2014  Professional General Artist
You can always win arguments by defining an aspect of what we're talking about in a very narrow sense. Faith is defined as "subjective confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion, or view without empirical evidence. The word faith is often used as a conceptual synonym for hope, trust, belief or knowledge."

Besides, with this article I alluded to the notion that it's not a "God vs nothing" argument. Atheism is inherently the belief that there is no God, but until we know more about the event which sparked our universe we can't say anything conclusively about the creation process. Besides, in recent years the idea has developed that perhaps we live in a simulation and I personally speculate there might be a fractal aspect to it

 I guess the point of this article was to make atheists more humble. I'm an atheist myself but most atheists seem to be stuck in this argument between atheists and theists while I genuinely think in most cases both sides simply haven't considered all the possibilities and merely reiterate old arguments, usually with plenty of insults because arguments alone are often not enough.

Quite frankly, we can have a similarly seemingly endless discussion about this article I wrote because there's truth in it depending on how you argue. If someone told me atheism is faith I wouldn't agree with that, but that's not how bluntly I put it. If I have to put it bluntly, what I wanted to convey is that atheism is a belief, not a fact.
Reply
:iconbart-fargo:
Bart-Fargo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013
Ricky Gervais has the best response to your opening remarks: If you claim that you can fly, it's your job to prove you can. It isn't my job to prove you can't.

There is no evidence that any gods exist, so I don't believe in them. That's what atheism is: disbelief. That's all. Nothing else.
Reply
:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
"If you claim that you can fly, it's your job to prove you can."
This is such a commonly made error in reasoning. You desire prove in this case because experience tells you that 1. humans usually can't fly and 2. if they can fly, then a presentation of this ability would have to persuade you. When considering God there is no point of reference (1.) and no way to prove or disprove God by means of observational evidence (2.). It's not a matter of God exists or not. First I have to ask, what God are we talking about? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that there is a deity in the sky. However, how our universe came into existence is an interesting question. The idea of an entity creating our universe is ludicrous (unless it's a fractal principle in which we essentially live in a virtual fish bowl of an advanced civilization, and they may also be in a virtual fish bowl of a civilization superior to them and so on, and this could even be a closed loop, just as you could argue with a deity God which was created by a God created by a God etc. if you're foolish enough), but the definition of a God is so vague you could equate it with the fundamental mystery of the universe. In other words, whatever the mechanism behind the universe is, you can rightfully call that God. A pantheistic God. If you consider the subject like this, then atheism is merely the rejection of the belief that there is a deity God. There is no way to deduce or observe the mechanism behind the universe so the atheist shouldn't pretend to be in a more righteous position by not believing in God. I would call the atheist more mature in that aspect, but it's still a blind guess what the mechanism behind the universe is.

Okay, I'm having a pretty hard time explaining myself because there is quite a subtle distinction I'm playing with. I don't know how much you know about physics and quantum mechanics though, but if you research the material I've researched you will discover the matter is quite a lot more complex than believing in Gods or not. For example, science is a protocol to statistically verify what's true and what isn't. As such, it becomes a body of knowledge. Not about our reality though, and this is important. It becomes a body of knowledge about the phaneron. The phaneron is reality filtered through our senses, which is the only possible way to observe reality. For example, we humans can't see x-rays, ultraviolet and infrared, although with equipment we can get an approximation of these colors so we can still see whole areas of the universe whereas we couldn't in optical light, so although we do indirectly observe the whole light spectrum that way, it just goes to show it's only a part of reality we observe, and even that we can't observe it as it truly is. This distinction becomes important in quantum mechanics, where the behavior of reality itself changes depending on whether or not you're observing. In fact, there is evidence to suggest we live in a holographic universe, which is to say that all the information of the content of the universe is embedded on a two-dimensional surface outside the universe. These kinds of considerations don't necessarily have implications for disbelieving in deity Gods, but should be food for thought for the theist and atheist alike. Yes, atheism is the disbelief of God, but the discussion doesn't end there. What is God in the first place? If you're an atheist you need to define what it is you disbelief. I disbelief in deity Gods as well, but that's not the only kind of concept deserving of the word "God".

Although there is no evidence to suggest that there is a God, and I find the idea of a deity God to be ludicrous, I can't say with absolute certainty there is no such God. Since we are made of the stuff of stars and have a fundamental connection with the universe itself, it seems to follow that not only the matter but also consciousness is derived from the universe itself. If you consider this, then a conscious force as the mechanism to the Big Bang is not as ludicrous as it sounds in the Bible. Also, if consciousness is a natural process of the universe, then perhaps our tendency to create Gods says something about the universe as well. I think it takes faith to be an atheist. But then, it also takes faith to believe in the scientific method. In this context I'm not using "faith" in a theological context, which would mean believing in something despite lack of evidence and in many cases also plenty of evidence to suggest the theological proposition is not true.
Reply
:iconbart-fargo:
Bart-Fargo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
OK, try this: If I claim that I have a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, it is my job to verify that before any money changes hands. You wouldn't say, "Well, my friend can't prove that you don't have an autographed baseball, so I'll give you full market value for an authentic autographed ball, and just assume that the signature on the ball you eventually send me is authentically Babe Ruth's."

Fun fact: In literature, the imposition of human characteristics on nature ("cruel winds", etc.) is called the "pathetic fallacy".
Reply
:iconjackstills:
JackStills Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
sarcastic comment aside this was a very well written article. Very thought provoking
Reply
:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you for the comment, and I appreciate the quote.
Reply
:iconjackstills:
JackStills Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
anytime
Reply
:iconjackstills:
JackStills Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
"Secondly, my God did NOT sanction the cruesades. The Roman Catholic Church did"

and who does the church answer to?" God":|
Reply
:iconi-stamp:
i-stamp Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
I think it's possible that strong/explicit atheism could be a defensible position in the future (which is why I'm an agnostic atheist). But we're not there yet. Hawkings described it best that if cyclic models are correct, and the universe, matter, energy and their balancing act has always existed, then there's no room for a creator of that universe. If one says that a god need not be a creator, then it falls back on an ignostic position of 'Well what's a god then?'
Reply
Add a Comment: