Part of an occasional series addressing popular misconceptions about atheism. You can access this and future articles by clicking on the “Atheists wish Christians knew” tag above this post’s headline.
Atheism is an absence of faith. It is not “faith” itself.
Spend any time on Twitter or on Quora, and you’re sure to find examples of believers who try to equate atheism with religion in one regard: both, they say, require faith.
This is not true. Atheism does not require faith. Similarly, having nothing to drink does not require a glass and being bald does not require a hairbrush.
What’s happening here is, everyone believes something. But “faith” and “believing,” in the English language, have distinct definitions. And when someone says “atheism requires faith,” they’re really confusing those definitions.
In common usage, believing means “accepting something as true or valid.” Faith, on the other hand, means “accepting something as true with or without conclusive proof of its veracity.”
These are my definitions, so if you want to quibble over them to iron them out, be my guest.