Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Quick "Lack of Belief" Follow-up

Judging by the comments on my “lack of belief” post, I was right to think this is a controversial statement within the atheist community. I want to make clear that my intention isn’t to correct people who use the phrase. The wording “I lack belief in God” is valid...but it’s not any more valid than saying “I don’t believe in God” or even “I believe there is no God.” I find the distaste some atheists have for “I believe there is no God” is due to mistaking the statement for “I know there is no God.” To claim certain knowledge about the existence of God is to accept the burden of proof. To claim belief isn’t much more than a statement of opinion. Hopefully we all hold informed opinions that can be backed up with argument and evidence, but proof is hardly needed. Many beliefs I hold are built upon much more flimsy foundations than my atheism. I strongly believe there is no God. I also believe that I could be wrong. If I thought the likelihood that I am wrong was greater than 50%, then I would cease to believe that there is no God. Make sense?

Believers, on the other hand, generally invoke faith to make their beliefs into perceived assessments of objective truth. In reality, they don’t hold certain knowledge of God, but their claims of this knowledge should burden them with proof. However, the mystical framework of religious faith exempts them in their minds. If they had proof of God, then there would be no need for faith in God--and since faith is valued by God, there can be no proof. Yes, they have the burden of proof, but it’s fruitless to argue the point because not only does it not matter to them, it can't matter within the framework of their worldview.


  1. You're right to point out such things, old chap. To say that atheists 'lack a belief in God or gods' is poor phrasing, and comes saddled with a number of stupid implications.

    If there are holes in our thinking and the way we express our opinions and views, our opponents are going to pick up on them. So we best make sure that our arguments are air-tight.

  2. I think this is an important argument in atheism regarding what your stance is. There will be people that disagree but its good to be open about it and to be able to debate it. After all that’s how most people came to atheism, through a debate of irrational stances.

    And as Will Ockham pointed out if there are holes in arguments that is what opponents will pick out.

    BTW: awesome Venn diagram

  3. 1, How do you know we'll all be atheists? This is a faith

    2, The term lack of belief begs the question, why do you lack belief? Where the person can answer "uncertainty" or believing that there's no God

    3 My problem with atheism is that it cannot be proven, while YHWH(The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit) can be easily proven for a fact(and if you'd like I'd prove it)

    1. 1. "How do you know we'll all be atheists?" The tagline is a bit of a joke that longtime readers are in on. Of course I can't know this, but the trend is slowly going in that direction.

      2. Huh?

      3. A negative of a supernatural claim can't be disproven, but it doesn't need to be until the supernatural is proven. I'd like you to prove YHWH, go ahead.