Saturday, November 08, 2008

Alternate Beliefs

Stardust over at God is for Suckers avers that atheism is a lack of belief. He says, "How many times do we have to tell these fools that atheism simply means lack of belief in the existence of any god, gods,goddesses? … Atheism is saying gods do not exist and requires no faith in anything."

Yet does Stardust actually have no faith at all? When we think about what Stardust is saying, we see that he is really articulating a belief. His belief is that no gods exist. He cannot prove that no gods exist, but he has chosen to believe it.

When he says "Atheism is saying," he is saying "Atheism believes."

The truth is that everyone believes something. You see, lack of belief is simply an alternate belief system. To say, “I do not believe in the existence of a god” is to say “I believe that no gods exist.” (That is, properly speaking, a statement of faith or religion, not a statement of scientific conclusion.)

You see, every belief can be turned from a negative statement of “I don’t believe” to a positive statement of “I believe.” So it is impossible to believe nothing.

Perhaps in evangelism, when encountering people with divergent beliefs (or lack of beliefs), it will be helpful for us to clarify their statements by saying, "So what you really believe is ..."

That will help us clarify both for us and for them what their alternate belief really is.

I urge you not to do in a smart-aleck, antagonistic kind of way. Do it in a way that manifests a sincere desire to represent their thoughts accurately. By exposing alternate beliefs as true beliefs, we can then address the foundation of belief.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your example is flawed. We can use the word "believe" in many ways, such as "I believe it's going to rain today,etc." You are trying to use an argument to support your faith by saying that atheism is a "faith". Stating this does not defend your position at all.

Why does no help come if humans aren't around to do the work? If you are bleeding to death and no human comes, you die. If no one intervenes to save a child who is being molested no god comes even if she is screaming Jesus, Jesus help me! No god comes, nothing happens without human endeavor.

And thanks for visiting the GifS site. Keep coming back and reading and maybe one day you will "see the light of reason".

Kate said...

There is a four-year-old child with an active imagination refusing to go to bed. He insists to his mother, "There's a monster in my room!"

His mother turns on the lights and looks around. She says to her son, "See? There's no monster here. Now it's time to go to bed."

But the child persists. "I know there is! I've seen him! I've heard him! He must be in the closet!"

The mother opens the closet to find nothing but clothes. "There are no monsters in here."

"Then he's under my bed!" the child cries. Mother lifts the bed skirt.

"There's nothing here, either."

They search throughout the entire room, not finding a single shred of evidence for said monster. But yet, the child continues to insist that it's there.


So who do you think is correct here? Is the mother merely being ignorant, using "faith" to "believe" that there is no monster, even though there's no proof of it whatsoever? The child's word is no proof- As was said, he has a very active imagination. He could have heard the wind and thought it was the monster breathing. Or is the child wrong, imagining there to be a being that simply doesn't exist and wasting his time by worrying about it?

Therein lies the difference between atheism and faith.

Katie said...

"Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason."

--Christopher Hitchens