The “Faith” of an Atheist
by Noah Lugeons
I probably shouldn’t listen to “The Atheist Experience” while I’m on a crowded subway. As much as I love to listen to Matt Dillahunty and Tracie Harris (and, to a varying degrees, all the other fine hosts and co-hosts) take on the lowest common denominator, sometimes the wall of intentional ignorance is almost too much to bear and I fear that I’ll just scream “LISTEN TO THE ANSWER YOU JACKASS!” in the middle a sardine-to-sardine throng of commuters.
The most recent example came yesterday morning as I listened to their most recent episode (#814 if you want to hear for yourself what pissed me off). For those who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s a live public call in show where a few atheist hosts take calls from people on the subject of atheism, humanism, etc. And very often these callers are Christian ass-danglers who rise to levels of vapidity that are absolutely staggering.
Case in point. On this episode they had a guy call in named Asshat from Fucktardia (I didn’t want to listen to it again to get the details, sorry) and he wanted to trot out that old, stupid, delusional idea that atheists have just as much faith as religious people have.
Now, Dillahunty handled his business on this one perfectly. He started off by explaining that the whole concept of atheism is a demand for evidence, which is exactly the opposite of faith. He went on to explain the difference between rejecting a claim and claiming the opposite. He then went on to explain exactly the same thing five or six more times because the dipshit refused to understand the answers.
And, of course, how could he accept them? How could he even hear them? To internalize the actual answers to these objections is to realize that you’re simply on the wrong side of the argument. So he simply pretended not to understand them. He put up his “anti-rationality armor” and kept making the same assertion no matter how many times or in how many ways it was countered.
To say atheists have “faith” in atheism represents a lack of understanding of the term “atheist”, “faith” or both. Faith simply means to accept something without evidence or despite evidence to the contrary. A less flattering word for the same trait is “gullibility”. When atheists hear the god claim, we ask for evidence. What are we showing faith in? Evidence? Logic? Reason? I suppose that we are, in a “3 in the morning hard-solipsism college philosophy minor debate” kind of way, taking all those things on faith. But, of course, so is the person we’re arguing with… unless they’re a presuppositionalist.
I admire the patience and resolve of the people who host that show but I don’t envy them. I fear my signature close would be “You’ve become too stupid to respond to now” and it would usually come within the first forty seconds of the call.