The Faith of Atheists


Atheism is very hip these days. All kinds of people are claiming to have turned away from traditional religion, and non-belief has become a basic requirement for entry into certain intellectual circles.

But what exactly does it mean to not be a believer?

The answer isn’t as simple as it might seem — as I explore in an essay appearing in the online journal, American Thinker. Click over there and check out my observations.

Then, please come back and share your views.


American Thinker LogoThe article can be accessed here…




And here are links to the sources cited in the article:


Pew Research Logo • the  2012 Pew study on religious affiliation…


Science 2.0 Logo• the article from Science 2.0 on how religion may be wired into our brains…



The online journal Stubborn Things has picked up my essay. It can be accessed here…

Stubborn Things Logo




  1. James says

    So … people who have a non-belief in leprechauns, fairies, or unicorns are really a part of a religious movement? Where’s the church, because I’m betting those guys and gals are a hoot to party with.

    No, wait … I’ll use a subject which deals with a comparable number of people, at least to some religious sects. Alien abduction and UFO belief in general. The people who don’t believe the stories of anal probing are really exercising a form of religious belief?

    If not, your article sounds like the typical call for special consideration for your particular religion. You can’t wrap your mind around the idea that people simply…. don’t believe it, and so they must have had some bad experience that led them to their current condition. Well… I’ve never been bitch slapped by a group of UFO researchers, but I still don’t believe anybody has been anally probed on a Texas back road.

  2. says

    There’s plenty of nastiness on either side of the fence. The zeal of converts knows no boundaries, and humans thrive on debate and conflict. I agree that most people of faith and people of reason share a common yearning for answers and meaning in life. Problems tend to arise when either side starts dictating what others ‘should’ or ‘must’ believe and try to dictate they way other people live their lives. I do have a problem with the religious right putting their Bibles on my body, just as I have a problem with new age charlatans peddling homeopathic remedies disguised as scientifically proven treatments for disease. I don’t like having prayer forced in the public arena any more than I condone denying the right of individual personal religious expression.

    That’s what it boils down to for me. Religion, or the lack thereof, is personal. We aren’t all Borg to be assimilated into a single ‘true’ belief system. The journey is personal and should remain so — it can inform one’s personal philosophy, political decisions, and life choices, but cannot be forced onto others. Unfortunately, life isn’t black and white and the moral grey areas and different interpretations of what is moral will inevitably foster continuing conflict. I do like your idea of keeping a dialogue open. I don’t agree with most of your beliefs, but I do enjoy our discussions and usually walk away with a better understanding of the other side.

    FYI, you might also want to expand your discussion to include other faiths in a non-dismissive way (I don’t think Hindus would be very happy with the relegation to Yoga). If any dialogue is desperately needed in today’s world, it’s a dialogue between Muslims and the western world (including Christians, Jews, and the unaffiliated). I’m not very optimistic about peace in the middle east to be honest, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried. And tried…and tried…

    Regarding the article in Science 2.0: I just looked and realized I’d seen this article before. No citations for the primary literature, no methods, no results/discussion, and no peer review. The article is an opinion piece, not a scientific study.

  3. says

    It’s an interesting topic because we all believe in things that cannot be proven empirically, using the scientific method. We all have a belief system. We all have a worldview. We all have a “philosophy”. From here, it can become a discussion of what belief is more reasonable given ALL the facts (physical, historical, metaphysical and philosophical). In the last analysis, the true atheist has an irrational faith in the dogma of “chance”.

  4. Al says

    I believe in good and compassion, as derived from the very basics of Buddhist belief. I am not a Buddhist. I am simply a human being living on this planet doing what feels most natural and best for me. I have been through 22 years of the Catholic Religion and concluded none of it was for me, at all.

  5. John says

    You are making this way too complicated. For me it is easy. I worked almost exclusively in technical fields that demanded logic and facts to be successful. It is ludicrous for me to think that at the end of the day or on Sunday morning (or whatever your holy day may be) that I could flip a switch in my brain and believe in a deity whose existence can’t be proven.

    So my Agnosticism is not caused by a “confrontation with evil or tragedy”. Nor is it from “personal loss” or the search for an “alternative philosophy”. And did you really say, “a religion of rejection”? Wow, your right brain dominance has always been a fascination. No. My reason is consistency. Anything else would be hypocrisy.

  6. says

    Bill; Your short essay in American Thinker got me… uh… thinking. As an atheist (and former Catholic), I agree with much of what you said about the strident and fanatical nature of many new atheists. I used to be like that when I first left the Church. It was mostly out of anger and grief at losing something (faith) that had been such a big part of my life. I’d like to think I’ve matured beyond that phase (time will tell, I suppose). These days I don’t give religion much thought at all, and when I do it’s with a more detached, benign curiosity. I have a short, 500-word post on my blog in response to your essay if you are interested: Am I a religious atheist?

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