The Faith of Atheism

I just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay. I really enjoyed it, and can see why the ‘City Watch’ books from the Discworld series have been so highly recommended to me (I read Guards! Guards! not long ago too). This is not a book review, but if you want a good read and a good laugh I would recommend reading Feet of Clay. This blog post is about atheism. One quote from the book, which may have been quite throwaway but struck me as being profound, was this:

Atheism is also a religious position…Indeed, a true atheist thinks of the Gods constantly, albeit in terms of denial. Therefore, atheism is a form of belief. If the atheist truly did not believe, he or she would not bother to deny.

I know the above refers to “The Gods” and not the one God I follow, but it does strike me that atheism is a form of belief and not necessarily the mere lack of belief it is often seen as. For example, as a Christian I trust in Jesus and I have entrusted not just my life now but also my eternity to him. I have a real, living hope of eternal life and heaven, and am convinced that he is at work in my life. The atheist also exercises faith, for they entrust Imagetheir daily lives and also their eternal destinations-to nothing. Now that takes a lot of faith!

You may argue that atheists may not believe in life after death, and fair enough if that’s you, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t or can’t happen. Christians and atheists cannot both be right, as either God is real or He isn’t. One group will find out sooner or later that they have feet of clay, and everything they have believed in will come crashing down around them! If I’m right, that’s great! If I’m wrong, what have I lost? If the atheist is right, touchee. But if they are wrong…

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7 Responses to The Faith of Atheism

  1. “If I’m wrong, what have I lost?”

    Well, that depends who is right.

    If the atheists are correct, then you’ve lost all the time you’ve spent on your religion.

    If the Muslims are correct, you’re going to burn in Hell.

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    • Does it count as lost time if it gives me hope, direction and a purpose? Also where is the hope in atheism?

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      • “Does it count as lost time if it gives me hope, direction and a purpose?”

        If it’s false hope, I would say yes. But that’s just my opinion.

        “Also where is the hope in atheism?”

        Atheists get their hope from a number of different places. Atheism doesn’t give hope in the same way that not believing in bigfoot doesn’t give hope. It’s not meant to.

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  2. somepcguy says:

    I, also, love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. I would encourage you to read all of them (although not everyone cares for the Rhincewind books). He is one of the few atheists I know who admits that his atheism is a faith just as much as my Christianity is.

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  3. Thanks for the comment. I love the Rincewind books that I’ve read! I really like the way Pratchett creates such unlikely heroes.

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  4. The entire post is made of statements, except the end which there is a nice little Pascal’s wager.

    First let me give you this: You know deep down inside that you are a murderer, No matter how much you say you are not. After all we all have the tradition of murdering one another, and you keep thinking about it, each day arguing, saying things like “Why we should not murder 101”. But you know deep inside that you are a murderer, you would not have kept coming back to it if it was not so.

    I am bothered and appalled by religion, that’s why I think about it, and that’s why I will keep rejecting it.

    In Pascal’s wager there simply is matters of assertion and fallacy. “IF” does not change anything. One cannot simply assert anything one wants and get away with it. Besides, do you believe simply because you think the alternative “might” be worse? I also find it ironic that the exact same argument was given to me when I was 14 maybe, not by Christians but by Muslims. Do you ever wonder “IF” they are right?

    There is a nice example of how this wager is rigged in Oxfords short introduction to logic (by Graham Priest), the example is actually from hell, which is quite funny considering Pascal’s wager.

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    • Hi,

      Thanks for the comment. I hadn’t heard of a ‘Pascal’s wager’ before but can see what you meant. Thanks for the new term.

      I wouldn’t agree with you that I or we are all murderers, but I do agree that we all do bad things, and all have the capacity to go so far as murdering. The Bible teaches that Jesus came to make us right with God again, to die in the place of sinners like you and me, enabling us to have a relationship with God. All I can say in response to this is that I didn’t have a relationship with God before I asked Jesus into my life, and now I do, so it works.

      May I ask what bothers you about faith, or people of faith? Although Christianity is officially a religion Jesus did not set out to invent Christianity per se; his intention was to set people free to live for God.

      You asked about why I believe. I believe in God, and that the only was to know him is through Jesus, because of my own experience. I’m happy to elaborate on this if you wish, but I definitely don’t believe because I am scared that there being no God would be worse (although I think it would). I don’t think for one second that Muslims may be right, though I think they are on the way to being right as they do believe in some things the Bible teaches as you will know. I love having faith conversations with Muslims.

      I haven’t read the book you mentioned at the end, no.

      You say you will keep rejecting religion. Fair enough. But why would you want to reject Jesus?

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