I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist

The “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” meme is a very popular tract among people who don’t read books. Which makes the title of the book currently being promoted on crossway.org/blog/ at the very least an interesting experiment in confirmation bias.

I sent the below comment and as of 5 o’clock GMT it is still “awaiting moderation”.

Having faith in human beings, despite a wealth of evidence to suggest this trust is misplaced, is the ultimate act of faith. It is one which is performed by believers and non-believers every single day. We trust each-other despite our fears. Saying that it takes this same kind of rational, functioning faith to be confident of the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever of a supernatural aspect to reality—i.e., a non-physical realm beyond space-time where a creator judge might reside, fundamentally misrepresents the definition of the word faith and the definition of what it means to be a positive atheist, in the tradition of Bertrand Russell, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Voltaire and so on.

These kinds of books borrow the word faith on behalf of an emotional reaction to criticism and give it back as an insult to intellectual honesty. They appeal to the already convinced and seek solace in the rightful criticism of dishonest discourse from the same quarter.

There is nothing unreasonable about non-Yahweh worship to non-Christians, anymore than there is anything unreasonable about non-Sun-god worship to Evangelical protestants. What the religious community has to begin to demonstrate, if extremism of all kinds is to be truly stamped out, is that it recognises the mountain of evidence against its truth-claims, but continues to believe in belief regardless, because of an emotional commitment to cultural and ceremonial traditions. In so doing, then we might all begin to abandon, in the name of simply honesty, these particularly insidious brands of special pleading which insist the bible to be something it is trivial to prove for a fact it is not.

5 comments on “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist

  1. 24 hours and counting Mike. I’m not holding my breath. Although interestingly they have posted the comments of someone who agrees entirely with the premise of the book. How honest of them!

  2. Hmmm…I see only one comment by someone called darkside and they close with “I, like virtually all atheists, would gladly believe in your god if you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a god exists using real empirical evidence (sorry, the bible doesn’t count as empirical evidence as it’s a book filled with only stories) and that your version is better than Allah, Shiva, Buddah, etc.”

    I don’t see the comment supporting the book’s premise. I’m also at work and the firewall here does funky things with comments.

  3. Ah, I should have checked again. I only looked last night and replied above this morning. It would seem there is something a bit odd going on with their comments because that comment wasn’t there last night—there was only one from someone basically saying how much they appreciated the book, so.. ..maybe they’re having technical difficulties?

  4. Jim,
    Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were Deists not positive atheists. Deists believe in a creator of sorts, one who made the universe and then stepped back. Typically Deists don’t believe in divine intervention and miracles and definitely reject revelation and holy books. Just because you are not Christian or Muslim doesn’t make you an atheist.
    Mark

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