Please stop saying “Faith is belief without evidence”

by Travis Dickinson

Last week, my post, entitled “Please stop saying ‘Atheism is not a belief’” generated a lot of discussion on various online discussion groups. A number of atheists took issue with me telling them what they believe and (sometimes kindly) suggested that I stop saying that.

Fair enough. If you, the atheist, really do not have beliefs about God (broadly construed as the greatest conceivable being with all perfection who exists outside of and has created the universe) and his existence, then so be it. I wasn’t trying to shift the burden of proof or otherwise trick anyone. I really just think a dialogue where both sides lay out the case for their respective views is far more fruitful.

Also, I honestly think there is evidence for atheism (as a belief). Those evidences are at least:

  • the problem of evil
  • the problem of divine hiddenness
  • the specific ways in which the atheist thinks the many theistic arguments fail

Again, I of course don’t find this case persuasive. I think there are good responses to the problem of evil and divine hiddenness, and I think there are many theistic arguments that are sound. But really intelligent (professional philosopher) atheists disagree. They, with reason, believe that God does not exist.

And this seems to me to be a stronger position than merely lacking belief. That is, it is stronger to say, on the basis of evidence, there is (or is likely) no God. It seems weaker to say the theist hasn’t YET made her case and therefore we lack theistic belief…

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Please stop saying “Faith is belief without evidence”