Every time I encounter some character making this crude and cretinous claim, I want to imitate Regan's projectile vomiting in The Exorcist. Jeffery Jay Lowder, President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., published a great response to this nonsense in The Secular Outpost on Patheos. He does an excellent job of exposing the logic, or lack thereof, underlying such a claim. This is not surprising since we're all familiar with the fact that religionists don't care about premises, only the conclusions they favor. I've pasted below the core of his argument. Highlights are mine.
The charge that atheism takes more faith than theism rests on a fallacy of equivocation. The faith that the Christian has in his god – faith that impels him to repent, to forgive, to love, to praise, to worship – is by no means the same as the faith that atheists are accused of having with respect to a creatorless origin, eternal matter, life from non-life, or moral value. If faith is belief based on evidence, then saying the atheist has more of it should mean the atheist has more evidence! If faith is belief in spite of evidence, is that really all that Christians mean when they say their faith gives them strength – believing in spite of the evidence gives you strength? If faith by itself is a virtue, then those who decry atheism for requiring too much faith are quite confused. If faith is only virtuous insofar as it is focused in the right direction (and god presumably lies at the end of that direction), then the equivocation is made readily apparent.
. . . On the one hand it’s tempting to respond to the more-faith-to-be-an-atheist remark with a ‘who cares’. Atheism is a claim about belief in god(s), not the beginning of the cosmos, the source of moral value, or anything else, and so the accusation of faith playing a part in other areas seems inconsequential and hardly relevant. Just because the theist endows his god with responsibility for such things does not mean they are de facto the domain of deity. On the other hand, it’s not difficult to tell that there are often ulterior motives behind the remark. It is sometimes said with a smug and mocking tone, suggesting hypocrisy and short-sightedness on the side of the non-theist. Any concession to faith, even noting the equivocation, sounds like an admission of guilt to many who simply want to pigeon-hole others and confirm their own biases.
It takes no faith to doubt the invisible, to question the intangible, to challenge the ineffable. I’m not even sure how one could begin to make sense of an argument aiming to show something so backwards. As I see it, these debates over who is burdened with the most faith in their worldview are as fruitless and conceited as debates over who is the more rational human being. If we can manage to get past such petty and unhelpful gesturing, we will find it easier to understand one another, to consider evidence and arguments in a less partial manner, and to learn a greater appreciation for our world as the complex, nuanced, and multi-layered world that it is. And this is the real sin of the more-faith-to-be-an-atheist remark: it masks its lack of substance by perpetuating the age-old us vs. them mindset. As beckoning as that may seem to our reptile brains, isn’t it about time we start to recognize that it’s only us?
Ah, yes, my man, Steve Shives ... who made mincemeat of Geisler & Turek. I submit that neither of them know enough to be atheists, but then belief was always easier than putting in the effort to KNOW something!
Turek is a complete idiot. I've heard bits of his radio show. The guy can't even construct an appropriate analogy, when talking about religio-political issues, never mind a coherent argument.
It seems to be a version of the old 50/50 split of the odds concerning the likelihood or not of some angelic mystery-world. Christians are well practiced in mental gymnastics when it comes to argumentative trickery. The requirement of faith is one of the core reasons atheists do not believe. If atheism required faith there would be no atheists for exactly the same reason.
The real discontinuity is that faith is supposed to be the means to understanding their belief, yet they have to resort to apologetics when confronted by science or any other kind of methodological analysis of biblical claims. They recognize that science has the ability to debunk their belief, so they attempt to co-opt science into bolstering their position, using the same pick-and-choose technique they use with their bible, then when THAT fails, they fall back on faith!
Sorry ... but to turn the phrase around, I Know Too Much To Be a Believer.
Right, Loren. But theist faith embraces self-contradictory claims. We don't. That counts even more in my book.
Christians even use the word, "apologetics", have books with that word in the title, and refer to it when in disputes. Why would anyone want to apologize for their beliefs" If one has to make excuses or justify one's beliefs, then they stand on insecure foundatons.
Don't apologize, defend, ask permission, or seek approval for what one believes. State one's feelings and thinking; one can respond to different opinions with socratic questioning, i.e. "Do you really believe there is a supernatural power that directs your life?", "Does any power answer prayers?", "Did Christ actually walk on water?" " How do you know that is true?"
If one is comfortable with being a non-believer in supernatural powers, there is no reason to be defensive. Standing on a solid foundation of non-belief reduces stress and cognitive dissonance. One can stand tall, shoulders back, spine strong, mind secure, and feeling confident and competent.
Actually, the word "apologetics" is meant as a defense. The problem is that, at least in every book of apologetics which I've heard analyzed (mostly by my good friend, Steve Shives), such books have been aimed far less at atheists, doubters or dissenters than they have been at the faithful. The goal of these books appears to be less to persuade us than it to reassure THEM.
I suspect the reason why no book of apologetics has been addressed at atheists is because it would have to deal honestly with the problems associated with the faith it tries to defend, a task which is difficult to the point of approaching impossibility. The further problem is that deft and skilled atheists have already picked apart both their religion AND their apologetics, leaving very little which is worthy or capable of defense.
They have built their house upon the sand ... and even their putative savior knows what happens when you do that.
"deft and skilled atheists have already picked apart both their religion AND their apologetics, leaving very little which is worthy or capable of defense."
I think you are correct in your assessment, Loren, and therefore, speaking with believers about religioun is irrelevant. We don't need to waste our time or thought ot action to discuss religion with them. They are not relevant.
"Leave them alone, And they'll go home,: wagging their tails behind them."
What I need and want to talk about are the ways we can live our lives with honor and dignity, relying on our own integrity to guide us.
Issues important to me:
1. Get off fossil fuels;
2. Think of agriculture in terms of building healthy soils;
3. Challenge those who would dig, drill or plow in ways that harm the planet;
4. Make the bottom line people's health and welfare instead of profits;
5. Boycot banks and businesses that exploit the poor;
6. Speak out in favor of sustainable and renewable resources;
7. Take personal responsibility for making a living.
>The requirement of faith is one of the core reasons atheists do not believe. If atheism required faith there would be no atheists for exactly the same reason.
I really like the way you put that, Gerald. There's no way I can convince myself that any of those faith-mongers who try to use this vapid argument [It takes more faith . . . ] are really dim enough to believe it themselves. You've very neatly turned it around on them here. I suspect this is precisely the reason why 99.9% of the time (That's a non-evidence based conjecture.) they drag evolution v. creation into the same conversation to confuse the issue, because they know their claim holds as much water as an upside down colander.
This is a keeper, Bertold!
"their claim holds as much water as an upside down colander."
It seems to be a version of the old 50/50 split of the odds concerning the likelihood or not of some angelic mystery-world.
While the 50/50 thing was an integral component of the actual Pascal's Wager, as written by Pascal himself, modern Christians strangely leave that part out. Most barely get beyond "What if you're wrong?!?!?" in their vain attempts at rationality.
In their little world, if there's a 0.01% chance of something being true, it's vital to believe that thing, if the threat is big enough.
Of course, they don't think that the chance of their god existing is anywhere near that low; they think it's a near certainty, because they've been brainwashed into the faith and can't see that their holy book is a pile of self-contradictory garbage, written by scientifically-ignorant savages, and the chance of their god existing, as written, is actually zero.
I've informed a few Christians about the part of Pascal's Wager which poses it as what to do in a 50/50 scenario, and some of the more stupid ones have come back with something along the lines of, "Well, either God exists or he doesn't. 50/50."
No, you buffoons, each horse in a horse race does not have a 50% chance of winning. In fact, if all of the horses in a race are arthritic old screws which will collapse from the weight of a jockey on their backs, there's a fairly good probability that none of them will win.