Atheism takes the honest position of uncertainty into certainty. Atheist and Agnostics are not the same. One submits to the honesty of not knowing and the other makes a commitment saying God does not exist, hence disbelief. It is intellectually dishonest to make such a commitment towards material existence. There is more than reasonable evidence to believe there is more than the material world. Until atheist reduce their position to agnosticism, they are making a leap of faith.
We put faith into almost everything. That our car will start when we did not build it ourselves... To outright disbelieve (as opposed to doubt as is the case of agnostics) without knowledge is to have faith in your beliefs rather than just lack of faith in those of others.
Most people have a sense that there is a higher power at work in the world. To be an atheist would require a person to squelch any desire to learn more about God, whether or not the person is opposed to organized religion. Atheism also means that a person has to force himself not to believe in miracles, or to see any circumstances beyond human control as an act of God.
On the surface, one may believe an atheist need not have faith. Belief in anything without proof requires faith. We could try to say the atheist does not believe in anything, but that is completely impossible. Atheists believe that life just is. I believe if you were to sit and try to ponder this stance, You would see just how much faith the belief requires.
You are at the horse track and you are given 1000 dollars to place on one horse, and lets say there are only two horses as well. You place all your money on one horse and you now have faith that that horse will win the race. Apply this to atheism and you will find it does take faith to be an atheist, but in the betting sort of way.
When confronted with the question "Is God real?" the answer is a positive statement. "Yes, God is real" is a positive statement and a declaration of faith. "No, God is not real" is also a positive statement and a declaration of faith.
The definition of faith is often where atheists go awry because faith is not strictly associated with God or deity. Faith can be in an institution or philosophy among others.
Another mistake is equating a positive belief in the non existence of god with disbelief in other phenomena like unicorns. By definition atheism deals only with deity. Suggesting alternate deities like Thor also don't apply since atheism means no gods and theism means God(s) is/are.
Atheism is the disbelief that there is a God, or the belief that there is no God, based on a critical review of all the evidence. Conversely, Theism is the belief that there is a God based on a critical review of all the evidence. Both are assertions and so both require a leap of faith. Not being convinced either way would be Agnosticism. It would be at least ignorant, or in the worst case arrogant for either side to claim that their position is not made in faith.
If God was not the creator of the universe, then what was? An atheist can no more prove that life came about by 'chemical chance' than a theist can prove the existance of God. This position requires faith - it cannot be proven empirically that the universe just sprung up by happy coincidence, therefore atheism is based on feeling, emotion, perhaps logic, but ultimately faith.
Nobody can prove or disprove the existence of God. Kant showed this as one of his antinomies in his Critique of Pure Reason. Each side can make a rational case, but in the end no consensus exists. So to say God does or does not exists, ultimately amounts to an act and statement of faith.
Some atheists will argue that the onus lies on those claiming the existence of God to prove he exists (the celestial teapot, or flying spaghetti monster argument). This argument ignores two important points. One, unlike those beings people have had experience of God's presence albeit subjective ones. I don't know anyone legitimately claiming contact with celestial teapots or flying spaghetti monsters. While we can't necessarily confirm his existence objectively from subjective experience, Bayesian reasoning tells us that we can't entirely rule it out either. Again, to do so would require faith. Two, this argument ultimately ignores the fact that God is not a material being in the sense that humans and animals are, so to look for him physically misses the point. To crib from someone else, he is not a being, he is being.
If someone want's to claim they don't have faith in regards to the God question, they should think of themselves as agnostic not atheist.
All of the one liners and sound bites like "If atheism is a belief, then not... is a sport" really does a disservice to the discussion. Atheism is the metaphysical belief that there is no God or gods. Agnostics and verificationists lack a belief in god but it is indeed true that agnostics and verificationists are not the same thing as atheists. For one, an atheist, as opposed to a theist, asserts that there is no god. A psychological description (i.e. lacking a belief in god) of their state of mind really has no place in the debate. Even if the atheist were to claim their atheism is knowledge and therefore not a belief or faith, they would be ignoring that it is nonetheless, at least to them, a justified true BELIEF per the western definition of knowledge. Indeed, belief seems to be an essential component of knowledge. You can't have knowledge if you don't believe it.
Atheism is a religion as much ast not smoking is a habit. As an argument here so states, your average atheist knows more about different religions and their stances/opinions than your average believer. Faith means one believes in something staunchly, without doubt. Atheists do not believe without doubt, they explore, learn and seek new evidence. That requires no faith.
True Atheists tend to look at things objectively, and draw probabilistic conclusions. Observation and logic requires no faith, for they are self evident (some may say that self evidence = faith, but this is intrinsically untrue. Faith is the lack of self evidence). Contrarily, religious people may have a half way "legitimate" argument for extremely weak deism, most of the rational ones admit that faith is the only thing keeping them believing in personal gods.
Faith implies the belief in something contrary to the evidence, such as the faith in god, or the faith in someone to reform after going to jail. Atheism is by definition only paying attention to the facts and evidence and nothing else. It does not require faith to only look at facts and logic. It does require faith to look past these facts and believe in something away from the evidence. Such as god.
Atheism is a lack of belief in God/gods. Atheism is not a belief system any more than not believing in the Easter Bunny is a belief system. To be an atheist does not require a person to squelch any desire to learn more about God. In fact, your average atheist knows more about religion than your average believer.
Who is to say that atheism is a lifelong belief system? Those who subscribe to the beliefs of atheism could simply be on the search for something meaningful. It takes quite a lot of resolve to commit to anything, yet alone faith. Many people simply have not found what they are looking for.
Disbelief in the existence of the Abrahamic god requires as much faith as disbelief in the existence of Zeus. There is no evidence to support the existence of either, therefore the atheist rationally rejects the assertion. Claiming this is an act of faith is a common logical fallacy used by theists who are unable to produce a convincing argument.
Does it take faith for you to not believe in leprechauns?
We can propose any number of things that might exist, from leprechauns, to god, to flying green elephants. It doesn't take faith to decide not to believe in something. Not believing in something is the default position of any rational person.
Then you are free to add evidence to convince that person to believe.
Atheism is not the position that no god or gods exist. Atheism is the position that there is a lack of evidence to support their existence. This requires no faith because atheism has no tenants or dogma. In addition, this relates to the notion of "that which is proposed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"-- why none of us believe in the tooth fairy. Could it possibly exist? Yes, and nobody denies that possibility. However, there just isn't enough evidence to justify belief.
The only people who vote Yes are the idiots who haven't the slightest clue on the definition of atheism and are more than likely idiot Christians who have more faith than any other religion in the world. Atheism is defined as the lack of belief in a god or gods. That doesn't necessarily mean that we believe there is no god. Lacking belief in something and believing something is not are two completely stories. Learn the difference or shut up.
I dont believe there is a god. This is NOT the same as saying I believe there is no god. The difference is subtly but paramount. We all, every one of us (theists and atheists), currently dont believe there to be an invisible jumbo jet orbiting Saturn. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, that is not the same as saying I firmly believe there is definitely no invisible jumbo jet orbiting Saturn.
If you can understand the difference of those positions, you understand atheism. Otherwise you are wasting valuable time of your short, precious, wonderful, unique life.