The Instigator
Dmot
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
hanson.aaron
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

It is appropriate to say "It takes more faith to be an atheist than..."

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
hanson.aaron
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/18/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 827 times Debate No: 36793
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)

 

Dmot

Con

This is a debate over the often used statement "It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian/theist."
Sometimes this is phrased "It takes more faith to believe in evolution or the big bang than it does to believe in God and the Bible"

It is my argument that both of these statements, or any other forms of these statements are incorrect and misused. This means that I think it is not fitting to say any of those statements.

This is not an argument over which belief is better or more true, but whether or not the STATEMENT that I have written above is in fact a correct statement or an appropriate statement given the situation.

I will let pro start with round 1. Pro can put their argument as to why the statement is useful or applicable. I will then respond. It will last until round 4 where pro will have the final say.
hanson.aaron

Pro

I accept this challenge. I will defend only the statement, "It takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist."

I agree that "This is not an argument over which belief is better or more true" because one of the beliefs is true and the other is false. They both can't be true. This will be a debate on whether the "STATEMENT that I have written above is in fact a correct statement." It is my job to show that this is a correct statement. It is my opponents job to show that it is incorrect.

Definitions:
Atheism: The belief there is no God or gods
Theism: The belief there is a God or gods
Faith: a belief not based on reason

To show the statement, "It takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist" is correct, I will have to show that atheism is based on less reasoning than theism. Likewise, to show that it's incorrect my opponent will have to show that theism is based on less than or equal to reasoning as atheism. In my first response, I will give reasons theism is sound, my next will be reasons why atheism is unsound.

Some people don't even have reasons for being atheist or theist, but if you look deeper into each claim, we can find which one is more valid.

Philosophical Reasons

Theism has several philosophical arguments for support, which atheism lacks. All these arguments are logically sound. The ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, and the moral argument. I'll briefly go over each of them.

Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument is powerful, because it shows that a God is a necessary being (it has to exist). To help understand this argument, here are the definitions. A maximally great being is a being with ALL the good qualities to the maximum value. So this being is all powerful, all good, ect. And a possible world is a possible logically coherent form of reality. Not another planet or universe. So, it's possible a unicorn exists in a possible world because a unicorn is not illogical.

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exits
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists

To show that this being doesn't exist, my opponent will have to show that this being is illogical.

Cosmological Argument

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The first premise we can is commonly seen in our daily lives. My headphones began to exist, and it has a cause. The second premise is scientifically proved through the second law of thermodynamics, and the expansion of the universe. Now this cause still remains unknown to us, but we can give speculations as to what properties it has to have. It has to be transcendent, outside the universe because the universe cannot create itself. It has to be powerful, timeless, spaceless, causeless, immaterial. These are all good precursors to God, or this maximally great being.

Teleological Argument

1. The fine tuning of the universe is due to either natural law, chance or design
2. It is not due to natural law or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.

The first premise is easily accepted as true. If my opponent has another choice, I'll gladly hear it.

The second premise needs some explanation. It can't be natural law because these laws don't cause anything to happen. They are just the way nature is and acts. Now chance seems appealing, but the chance that our universe is finely tuned is so incredibly low. If the gravitational constant was altered by a little, no life would exist. If you add up all the constants and the probability that they are the way they are, it would be crazy to think it's by chance. It would be like walking out to your car and seeing that it's a 2013 Camero and the licence plate are your initials and birthday. You wouldn't think that it was by chance, but that someone was behind this.

Moral Argument

1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and objectives do not exist
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist
3. Therefore, God exists

This is pretty straightforward. If God does not exist, then these moral values and duties are a result of evolution adaptation and social conditioning. They aren't really objective. But we can see that these objective moral values and duties do exist. It is good to give to the poor. So it follows logically that God exists.

We can see from philosophical reasoning, theism has great grounds in reasoning. From this perspective, it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist

Scientific Reasons

There is some crossover from the philosophical arguments. There are several reasons from science that can lead us to theism.

Beginning of the Universe

The universe has a beginning is one of the most widely accepted statements in science. And it's really outside of science to say what caused the universe to come into being. Science only explains things in nature, but the cause of the universe is outside of the universe. So science may never say what this cause is. If theism is true, then a being or mind is behind the cosmos. An atheist has to believe nothing created everything.

Origin of Life

Science has come up empty handed as to how life actually started. Theory after theory has melted away at how it actually started. And how could this even be tested in science? If they were to create an environment where amino acids roamed free, and certain events took place, and life began... this environment was still created for life to begin in. If theism is true then some prime mover at least initiated the process of life.

Acceptance of Scientific Truth

We can't know that scientific truth is true based on science. If atheism is true, our minds evolved for survival, not to find truth. So we can't really know what's true, we just have to make assumptions. If theism is true, we were created in the image of this mind to reason and think and ponder truth.

Origin of Information

Recently a great discovery was made about our DNA - it contains actual information. It's instructions on how to build and work our body. Some even say this information falls into the definition of what a language is. To think that our DNA contains a language is remarkable. Just think about it. Out of all the languages we know of: English, Spanish, binary code... it all started in a mind. Nature doesn't accidentally create language. Even if this information isn't a language, still all information originates in a mind.

Historical Reasons

Throughout all human history, across all cultures and nations and tribes, people have acknowledge some sort of Creator or spirit(s). If we take the New Testament to be historical and reliable documents of history, we can see that this Creator cares for His creation.

Experience

Most people who believes in a Creator believe you can experience Him personally and have a relationship with Him. This creates a personal and reachable way to know that your belief is true.

The Statement Applicable

The Con brought this up in his last paragraph, so I will comment on it. Even if this statement is false, it can still be useful and applicable. If a theist is talking with an atheist, and the theist says, "it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist." If the atheist is open minded, he will take a look into this claim, just like my opponent has, creating a discussion such as this. If this statement isn't useful or applicable, then we wouldn't be debating on such a topic. However, this debate isn't about the applicability of it but the truthfulness.

As we can see, there is great reason to believe that it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist. I look forward to my opponents response.

Debate Round No. 1
Dmot

Con

It is my contention that the statement "It takes more faith to be an atheist" is a misleading, harmful, and ultimately untrue statement. I will attempt to prove this statement. As I said before, I am not arguing whether or not atheism is more reasonable or true than theism, only that it involves less faith. Obviously this depends on your definition of faith. However, the definition of faith is not some arbitrary word. It has a certain meaning to Christians and atheists and the general public. I let pro define faith here. That is because he is the one who has to defend why this statement is good. Now, I am first going to provide some alternative definitions of faith and show why using each of these, the statement is still false. Then, I will use pro's definition to show where he goes wrong. Then I will comment on his arguments for God's existence.

I. Alternate definition of faith
1) belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion (Dictionary)
2) Faith is belief with strong conviction; firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof; complete trust in or devotion to. (Christianity about)
3) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV Hebrews 11)
4) "a firm and certain knowledge of God's benevolence towards us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit (John Calvin)
5) the intellect may be induced to assent to a truth for none of the foregoing reasons, but solely because, though not evident in itself, this truth rests on grave authority ...This last kind of knowledge is termed faith...if the authority is Divine, we have Divine and infallible faith (Catholic Encyclopedia)
6) faith is that certainty of the mind about absent things which surpasses opinion but falls short of science (Damascene)
7) Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed (Baltimore Catechism)

Okay, that's a good sampling. Now lets take a look.
1/4/5/7- According to these definition, it involves belief in God and religion, therefore, atheism takes less faith than theism. In these definitions, either God is the object of faith or faith presupposes the existence of God and the proper object of faith is the truths revealed by God. Since atheism rejects the existence of God, it follows that according to these definitions, the atheist lacks faith, and possibly even the possibility of faith given that they reject the possibility of God revealing.

2/3/6- These definitions have to do with belief in something that surpasses the boundaries of reason. In the first case, it has to do with belief in things without tangible proof. Now, let us assume the existence of some sort of proof for God. In this case, belief in God is not properly termed faith. Therefore, faith must be in something beyond the existence of God, perhaps belief in the Trinity. If this is the case, atheism lacks faith not because they do not believe in God but because they lack belief in the doctrines held by Christians to be revealed by God. On the other hand, lets assume that God cannot be proven. In this case, the atheist lacks faith because the atheist lacks belief in God whereas the Christian believes in the thing that cannot be proven.
Now, number 6 is very similar. It is basically belief in something beyond reason. Now, what if God is a proper object of reason? you seem to accept this. In that case, belief in God or not is a question of reason and not properly of faith. Therefore, the atheist lacks faith for other reasons but not on the grounds that they do not believe in God. On the other hand, if God does surpass reason, then it follows that the atheist lacks faith because he fails to believe in God.
Finally, the Biblical definition asserts that faith is belief in something unseen or beyond our tangible universe. God is certainly in this category as are many other things. In this case, the atheist lacks faith because he does not believe in anything beyond the tangible (if he is a materialist).

Given those definitions of faith, my argument stands.
Your definition of faith is belief in something not based on reason. As we cleared up in the comments, I wanted to leave out whether or not faith was reasonable. Therefore, in order to use your definition and avoid the question I wanted to avoid, we have to turn your definition to mean: "Faith is belief in something not based on reason but grounded at least in part in something else besides reason"

Based on this definition, it seems as though the atheist might or might not have faith. Let us suppose that there are no good reasons to believe in God and belief in God is based on something beyond reason alone, say personal conviction based on the "Spirit" as some Christians might say. Now, in this case, the atheist lacks faith with respect to God. It is possible, and actually likely, that the atheist has "faith" in other areas. However this is irrelevant in terms of how the statement you are defending is used. On the other hand, the Christian does have faith given this definition.
Now, lets assume that belief in God is based on reason (even reason alone). Then the problem with the atheist is not lack of faith per-se but lack of reason. The atheist however would lack faith given that maybe certain qualities of God or Jesus would not be based on reason but on Scripture or something beyond reason alone. In that case, the atheist still lacks faith.

Based on all of these definitions, the Christian has more faith than the atheist.
But you insist that your definition of faith proves that atheists have more faith than Christians. You say to show this it means that atheism is based on less reasoning than theism. However, just because faith is belief in something that transcends reason (say the two natures of Jesus Christ) and therefore not based on reason (at least not reason alone) it does not follow that the more reasonable system is the one that takes less faith. Christians believe in certain doctrines that cannot be proven. In terms of religion, atheists believe in none of these. So atheists have less faith. If the atheist's belief system therefore does not include those things that transcend reason and are based on things beyond and besides reason, then they do not have faith.
The only way therefore to use your definition and make your argument work is to extend it to mean "faith is the belief in something not based on reason and in spite of reason" in other words, your definition has to be modified in such a way that it makes it inversely proportional to reason. If this is the case, then your argument about which is more reasonable belief system stands. Yet if you take this definition, you use a definition that is antagonistic to your own theistic religion! Also, to take on this definition is to fly in the face of faith being a virtue, it would seem blind! Moreover, didn't Jesus say with faith you could move mountains? Is it more likely that an atheist moves mountains?

My point is that the only way for the Christian to make this statement is ultimately to reject faith and use a self-defeating argument. The definition of faith the Christian must use is one that is an affront to Christianity itself. It turns faith into the negative. It makes faith an enemy of reason. All of these things are harmful.

Finally, as for your arguments.
I see that your arguments are similar to Craig's. I think that he could articulate the fine-tuning better. Here is an article on that: http://www.firstthings.com...
Anyway, I agree for the most part with your arguments. Although, if arguments can demonstrate God's existence, the atheist lacks reason not faith. But the two are different, We are saved by faith, not by reason. Although both are important.
hanson.aaron

Pro

In my opening statement I said I'd defend, "It takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist." I'm not proposing that this is an harmful statement. You can see in my definitions I did not define a theist as a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and/or Jew; just simply someone who believes in a God or gods. The statement can be misleading based on how you define "faith." I tried to keep the definition consistent, but Pro decided to throw all sorts of definitions out. But my main contention is that this statement is a true statement; not that this is good, bad, useful, or harmful.

I'm glad my opponent agrees with all my arguments as being solid ground for the theist to believe in God. He has not provided any arguments to show an atheist has sound ground to believe there is no God.

I'll show how wacky an atheist belief system ultimately brings him. Then respond to my opponents arguments.

Wacky Atheism

Human life has no value
If you're an atheist, you are lead to believe that humans are equal to animals. Their life ultimately has no more value than the dirt on the bottom of their shoes.

Life has no purpose or meaning, or it's all illusory
When the atheist dies, that is the end. Nothing they did mattered, nothing they could do will matter. The universe will soon be an cold dead place without any energy. So nothing they do will matter in the end.

Can't be sure of your own convictions
Atheists have to believe that their convictions are a result of evolutionary adaptation. Evolution adapts to survival, not for truth.

Moral Nihilist
Because there is no God, there is no such thing as morals. It's morally indifferent to kill a child for one's own pleasure.

No Freewill
On the atheist view, we are just a bunch of chemicals that have by chance ended up together creating reactions. All we do are just a result of previous reactions in the past. We don't determine what we do or say.

I don't feel like going much deeper into that because I'm sure my opponent agrees with these statements.


Con's Arguments

Con gave seven definitions for faith. Four of the seven do presuppose you already believe in God. They have to do with certain doctrines of religions, or God's promises. He then concludes, atheists have less faith because they don't believe this. I'd say these definitions don't apply to an atheist, and that doesn't makes an atheist have less faith- it's not applicable. An example of someone having less faith with these definitions would be a Christian believing in God, yet didn't think He'd follow through with His promises. That is having less or no faith. An atheist doesn't apply to this situation. My argument is faith towards a God or no God. And I still contend that you have to have more faith to believe that there is no God than there is a God. Heck, I don't even think it takes faith (any definitions you can storm up) to believe in God. I'll expand on that later. So, with those definitions, God is not the object of faith; so it doesn't require any faith for the theist or atheist to believe there is a god or no god.

Now what of the other three definitions? God can be the object. He says that theists have faith there is a God, and atheists have less faith there is a God. I find this inconsistent. Why can't we say that theist have less faith there is no God and atheist have more faith there is no God? Theism= there is a God, atheism=there is no God. Con seems to be confused about my definition. He alluded to atheism being lack of a belief in God. On that definition, my pet dog is an atheist, we both were born atheists, and the chair I'm sitting in is an atheist. They all lack a belief in God. So I suggest we stick with the traditional definition of atheism that it's a belief there is no God. So, if we're to keep all things equal, theists have faith there is a God, and atheists have faith there is no God. Now, we must ask, which one is taking a bigger leap in faith? We both seem to agree that being an atheist is going against reason. Point for theism.

Faith

Why did I choose that definition? If we used a definition of Faith as I normally would, or Con suggested, those definitions presuppose God. God is not the one having faith in. You don't have faith in God. As I have shown, that sort of definition would be useless in this discussion. Believing in God doesn't require faith with these situations. The atheist doesn't have less faith or more faith, it's just not applied. Same goes with the theist. We have to use a definition of Faith that can be applied to where God is the object of faith. Three of his definitions fit with that:

1. Faith is a strong conviction; firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof; complete trust in or devotion to

With this definition I've shown several proofs that show a theist needs less faith to believe in God, and the atheist needs to take a larger leap. Con didn't disagree, he actually helped support the arguments. He hasn't provided any proof that there is no God.

2. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

Sorry I used a different version. To stay true to the original manuscripts, I chose a more accurate interpretation. The King James Version has several translation errors, so I try to avoid it (Go to Biblegateway.com, select KJV and search unicorn.) But still, this definition atheist still have faith. Let's play fill in the blanks. Christian: Now faith is confidence that God's grace will save you and you are assured he will follow through. Atheist: Now faith is confidence nothing will happen when you die, and you're assured there is no God.

3. Faith is that certainty of the mind about absent things which surpasses opinion but falls short of science

In my opening statement, we can see that an atheist is going against scientific truth in believing there is no God. Con seems to agree with that. The theist is being consistent with modern scientific truth. The atheist has to add on philosophical statements, to which there is no proof, to make his worldview consistent with science.

I've seen time and time again discussions between atheist and theist alike where the atheist asks, "Why do you believe in God?" The theist foolishly answers, "Because I have faith." Using the religious definitions Con has provided, we can see how faith in God is presupposed. If the theist's response is going to make any sense he'd have to use a different definition of faith, like the one I provided in my opening statement. Atheist often take it as a lack of reason. Is that a correct definition? If two people can agree on that meaning, then yes it is a correct definition. But that's getting into semantics.

Properly Basic Belief

Now I suggested that using the kind of definitions atheists often use for Faith, that the theist STILL doesn't need faith to believe in God. Believing in God is a properly basic belief.

What is a properly basic belief? Well, if someone came up to you and said "Hi my name is Adam." You have every reason to believe his name is Adam. That is a properly basic belief. Does it make it true? Of course not. To start believing that his name is not Adam, you'd need a defeater. So, if he dropped his license and you saw that his name was "George." You'd start to suspect his actual name. Does that mean his name is not Adam? No! You can have a defeater for the defeater. If he'd laugh and say, "Oh, it's a fake ID." Then you'd be back to square one to believing his name is Adam.

God is the same way. Theists simply know there is a God. We'd need a good defeater to change our mind. But no defeater has ever been able to do that. Atheists have to ignore several defeaters to keep believing there is no God.

I'd like to comment on the Con's last paragraph. "We're saved by faith, not reason." The faith we're saved by is not the belief in God, but the promises he's told us. "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" James 2:10 ESV. Even demons believe in God but aren't saved.
Debate Round No. 2
Dmot

Con

"But my main contention is that this statement is a true statement; not that this is good, bad, useful, or harmful."
I think that if the statement is false, it follows that it is harmful.

" I tried to keep the definition consistent, but Pro decided to throw all sorts of definitions out."
The reason is that we could get hung up on whether or not the specific definition is a proper one. I wanted to show that given ANY definition of faith that a theist would accept, my argument stands.

"He has not provided any arguments to show an atheist has sound ground to believe there is no God."
But this isn't an argument for God's existence or against it. If it was, that is what I would've titled the debate. The argument is over whether or not it takes more faith to believe in God.

"I don't feel like going much deeper into that because I'm sure my opponent agrees with these statements."
Very true

"An atheist doesn't apply to this situation"
The reason that the atheist doesn't apply is that they have no faith to begin with. Most atheists don't just lack faith, they reject the notion or possibility of faith at all because they reject in principal the spiritual or supernatural realm or revelation itself.

"God is not the object of faith; so it doesn't require any faith for the theist or atheist to believe there is a god or no god."
So far then, it follows that neither the atheist or theist has any faith. Until we add something else to the object of faith (assuming faith is intellectual belief in something we need a thing to believe in) then the atheist and theist both lack faith. What candidates do we have for this something?
1) Truths of revelation
2) The supernatural realm
3) The spiritual realm
4) Scripture, Tradition, or Church
5) The invisible
6) Things which transcend reason
7) Things which we cannot know to be true or false at all
8) Things which contradict reason
Well, if we look at any of these things, and call them proper objects of faith, we run into problems.
1 atheists reject because they reject the existence of God to begin with so revelation goes out. Same goes for 2. As for 3, it is possible that the atheist believes in this although highly unlikely. So maybe atheism might not per se have less faith but practically it does in most cases. If 4 is the object of faith, then it follows that atheists lack belief in this. If it is 5, then it could be theists or atheists. However most atheists don't believe in MORE invisible things than the theist does. Assuming atheists and theists believe all things the same other than religious doctrines, it would follow that the theist believes in more that is unseen due to the fact that Christianity and other religions profess belief in the invisible realm of Trinity, Angels, Heaven, Hell, etc. If we define faith as 6-meaning the things which we cannot know if they are true or false by reason alone but need some other sort of grounds for belief- It depends. It is theoretically possible that an atheist believes in things beyond just what reason says. For instance, an atheist could believe in true morality despite no reason to believe in it (without an objective standard like God) and they might base this on personal conviction rather than evidence. So an atheist can have faith in things that goes beyond (ALTHOUGH NOTICE I DID NOT SAY CONTRADICTS) reason. However, theists do to and they ALWAYS do especially if they are part of a revealed religion (Christian/Muslim/Jew). Christians necessarily and by definition profess faith in these things. Besides, even if we use this definition and say atheists have more faith, it isn't relevant in the sense that it relates to theism vs atheism debates because the atheist would believe in things on this "faith" but it would have nothing to do with their atheism. However, theists would have their beliefs based on the theism. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, theists have more faith even with this definition. As for 7, this doesn't really have to do with religious belief essentially. Any atheist or any theist could believe in more unknowable things. Both theism and atheism are not systems that attempt to make people believe in things without any grounds for belief---a false sort of willful hope. Atheists would accuse theists of this. But then again theists would say atheists just refuse to believe and say "I don't know" so I think this point is irrelevant. Most people wouldn't admit to having any faith if 7 is the definition.

Now 8 is where we reach a problem. I am not going to say who has more faith given this definition. However, it is far better, given this definition, to lack faith completely. Faith is unreasonable. Faith is a lie. Faith is false. From a Christian perspective (or any theistic religion with a sense of "faith") this definition is untenable, false, destructive, etc. Therefore, from a Christian perspective, even if it is true that "atheists have more faith" (i.e. atheists are less reasonable) is this really something that they want to defend? Think about that next time you use this statement.

"We both seem to agree that being an atheist is going against reason. Point for theism."
Here is the worrisome part of your entire argument. It is a point for the TRUTH of THEISM yes, I will agree. However, is it a point for the TRUTH of the STATEMENT? The only way for this to be the case is that the truth of theism and the truth of the statement correspond.
That would mean: If theism is true, it takes more faith to be an atheist.
Now this is where the argument falls apart: This statement means that faith is inversely proportionate to the truth of a belief. How then can the theist say they have any faith at all? How can a Christian claim faith in Christ?
The answer is that they have dug themselves a whole and are in a bind. This is the result of basically defining faith as contrary to reason.

"1. Faith is a strong conviction; firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof; complete trust in or devotion to
With this definition I've shown several proofs that show a theist needs less faith to believe in God, and the atheist needs to take a larger leap."
Problem with this argument: The atheist with respect to God lacks belief (or if you insist, has positive belief in no-God...although most atheists would have a problem with this definition as most wouldn't be full on anti-theists).
Now this definition is based on HAVING belief not LACKING IT. So atheism, as a lack of belief, has less faith. Now if you define atheism as the positive belief that there is no God (which is dubious to begin with), there is still no "complete trust and devotion to" or firm belief "in something which there may be no tangible proof." there is only firm belief that there is NOT something...

"In my opening statement, we can see that an atheist is going against scientific truth in believing there is no God."
Yeah but this definition of faith (#3 on your list) isn't about what fits into or goes against science. This definition of faith is about what falls short of science. It was a definition given by a Church Father I believe. Falling short of science here just means things which transcend reason (e.g. The Incarnation). Its not really about empirical science and its not about reason--its about what transcends reason.

"Atheists have to ignore several defeaters to keep believing there is no God. "
Does this mean they have more faith? If it does, then you seem to believe that faith is ignoring defeaters. If that is so, faith is rejecting reason.

"Even demons believe in God but aren't saved."
Because as the Epistle says, we are not saved by faith alone

" faith we're saved by is not the belief in God, but the promises he's told us."
But then faith is something good and virtuous. Do atheists have more of this?

That is my ultimate point: Either the theist (and esp. Christian) has to accept that faith is a virtue and in Christains more than atheists or not.
hanson.aaron

Pro

My main contention has always been, "it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist." That is to say, it takes more faith to believe there is no God than to believe there is a God. Any additional beliefs any religion or the atheist has regarding their worldview, does not apply to the statement. Can you believe there is a God with out believing in angels? Certainly. Can you believe in God without believing in heaven or hell? I know people who believe that. The Sadducee didn't believe in a heaven or hell, yet believed in God. Can you believe in God and not the Bible? Of course! Those add-on beliefs do not apply to the statement.

Opponents Arguments

"I think that if a statement is false, it follows that it is harmful"

If my sister were to get a hair fixed up and it looked horrible, and she asked what I thought and I said "It looks great." That would be a false statement, yet it is not harmful, but actually encouraging.

"The argument is over whether or not it takes more faith to believe in God."

More correctly, it takes more faith to be an atheist (believes there is no God) than a theist (believes in God)

"The reason that the atheist doesn't apply is that they have no faith to begin with."

I've said time and time again, that they have faith that there is no God. I could also say that theists have no faith that there is no God. Theists have no faith in what the atheists believes.

"They reject the notion or possibility of faith."

Just because they reject the notion or possibility, doesn't mean they don't have faith. I can proclaim that I do find this certain girl pretty, but that doesn't mean she isn't pretty!

"That would mean: If theism is true, it takes more faith to be an atheist.
Now this is where the argument falls apart: This statement means that faith is inversely proportionate to the truth of a belief. How then can the theist say they have any faith at all? How can a Christian claim faith in Christ?

Well, so what? The argument is about faith of God or no God. The definition of faith changes when we start talking about the religious add ons, like we have discussed in the past.

"Problem with this argument: The atheist with respect to God lacks belief (or if you insist, has positive belief in no-God...although most atheists would have a problem with this definition as most wouldn't be full on anti-theists).
Now this definition is based on HAVING belief not LACKING IT."

Atheism is the belief there is no God. Not the lack of belief. Like I said before, if you lack belief in God, you just stating your psychological state. So you're saying you have similar psychological states as a cat, or an ant, or an infant. It's not really helping atheists out. And like I said before, theists also lack belief there is no God.

"there is still no "complete trust and devotion to" or firm belief "in something which there may be no tangible proof." there is only firm belief that there is NOT something..."

Exactly. Atheists have complete trust and devotion to there being no God. And they believe in something which there may be no tangible proof. But I'll take it a step further and say there is NO proof.

"Does this mean they have more faith? If it does, then you seem to believe that faith is ignoring defeaters. If that is so, faith is rejecting reason."

I wouldn't take it that far. Would it be reject reason if someone told me their name was Adam, and they dropped an ID and it said their name was "David" and I still continued to believe his name was Adam? I don't think so, you'd just ignore it like it's not a big deal or that there might be some explanation I don't know of.

Round 2: "But the two are different, We are saved by faith, not by reason. Although both are important."
Round 3: "Because as the Epistle says, we are not saved by faith alone"

How do you reconcile with these two statements?

Faith

I looked up Hebrews 11:1 and looked at the Greek word for faith. The transliteration is pistis. The Thayer Definition of this faith is: "Conviction of the truth of anything, belief." It also goes on to have other definitions as well. But what I found most interesting is that the origin of the word is from the Greek word "peitho" and that means persuade.

If you take that definition, who has more persuasion to hold that belief? There isn't any good persuasion or defeater to believe there is no God.

Now, the reason I chose the definition of faith like I do, is because that's how most people I talk to seem to take it to mean. If you said, "I have faith God exists." It's like saying I don't really have a reason. That sounds a little funny. Because you need to be certain he exists to say that "I have faith in Jesus for my salvation." Now an atheist would never use the word faith to describe his reason for believing there is no God because he thinks that faith means to have no reason." I'm using their definition against them.

Now I'm not arguing about all the add ons theists may or may not have. You can believe in God and reject Islam, and Christianity and Judaism and even any sort of organized religion all together. I'm just talking about having faith that God exists or faith that God does not exist.

I think I've made a pretty good case when you just talk about God and nothing else. Atheists over the ages have provided some reasons to believe there is no God, yet they have all been crumbled. And theists have provided numorous solid reasons to believe in God that have lasted for centuries.

Some say that atheism is not falsifiable, but I think it's been falsified. If you think atheism is true, you're making a pretty big claim that you have no reason for. Which is part of the reason for the redefinition to "Lack of belief" so they have to avoid the situation altogether.
Debate Round No. 3
Dmot

Con

im very busy right now so I apologize for the short response.

My basic point is that if you define faith in any way most Christians would, and in any way that includes God or the supernatural, and in any way that is virtuous according to the Christian, the atheist has less of it.

On the other hand, if you define faith as belief in spite of evidence or against reason, then atheists might have more or less of it depending on your argument. But if atheists have more of it, this means Christians have to admit that faith is bad and that is the point
hanson.aaron

Pro

It feels weird having the first and last say, even though the instigator said I could. So, I'll keep this brief.

I haven't saying, "it takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian." But a theist, simply believing in God. No add-ons that any religion may have. You can be a theist and not believe in Jesus, or Muhammad. And so what if the you define faith in a way that makes it bad. It just shows faith, along with several other english words, have different meanings.

I've appreciated and like to thank my opponents thorough response and a chance to debate. Vote for Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Dmot 4 years ago
Dmot
But wouldn't this mean that faith is something negative?
Posted by Albert_C 4 years ago
Albert_C
Though I do not agree with the definition of faith as not based on reason, I agree that it takes more faith to be an atheist. But it goes with my concept of what God is. For me, God is the creator, a creature of great intellectual capacity. Every reason of thought will point that things that exist are created. To go against this basic fact, atheists must sustain their lack of belief in a God with greater faith, however standing only on assumptions and speculations that lack evidence.
Posted by Dmot 4 years ago
Dmot
However you want to define it I am okay with as long as you give reasons to believe that your definition is correct or at least reasonable.
By reasonable I mean a definition that either fits into general Christian doctrine, general dictionary definition, ordinary people's understanding, etc.
So as long as faith isn't defined as something entirely different than what most people understand it to mean, I think its okay.
Posted by hanson.aaron 4 years ago
hanson.aaron
Fair enough. I just asked, because I normally don't define it in such a way. I'm just trying to be consistent.
Posted by Dmot 4 years ago
Dmot
I accept that faith is not based on reason. But I want to leave out of this debate whether or not faith is in fact reasonable. So even though faith goes beyond the bounds of what we know through reason, I don't want this debate to be about whether or not faith contradicts reason. Stick to whether or not "atheism takes more faith" is an appropriate statement.

Which since we are arguing over the validity of that statement, I would add that any definition of faith works really because you can argue in favor or your understanding of faith. I think faith is broad enough that you can do that
Posted by hanson.aaron 4 years ago
hanson.aaron
I'm defining faith as this:

"a belief not based on reason."

Do you accept this definition?
Posted by Dmot 4 years ago
Dmot
Fair enough, thank-you for accepting the challenge
Posted by hanson.aaron 4 years ago
hanson.aaron
I'm interested. I'd rather just defend the statement: "It takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist." The other statements like, "It takes more faith to believe in evolution than God creating the universe" and the like, I disagree with.
Posted by evangambit 4 years ago
evangambit
Strictly speaking, believing in a deity or being an atheist both require a certain amount of faith; agnosticism on the other hand....

That being said, I agree that the claim that "it takes as much/more faith to believe in evolution or the Big Bang theory than in God" is incorrect because faith is about taking a leap from the facts to your belief; whether or not evolution is "air tight", the leap (and hence the "amount" of faith) is certainly smaller than that required to believe in God.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Mrparkers 4 years ago
Mrparkers
Dmothanson.aaronTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con could have easily won this if he had not accepted Pro's definition of atheism. Atheism is a lack of belief in a God or Gods, not a belief there there is no God or Gods. All Con had to do was give the correct definition and he would have won.
Vote Placed by Mikal 4 years ago
Mikal
Dmothanson.aaronTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I do not agree with Pro on this by any means, but he simply argued it better. And Con also threw the last round which weakened any argument he had already given.