By Ben Chamberlin
We all make choices about what we believe. We are active in the realm of ideas.
Many Americans define themselves as Atheists. More and more people are identifying as non-religious, specifically atheists. But what does it mean to be an atheist? A quick google search defines atheism as disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. Another way to say this in a positive sense could be the belief that there is no God. In other words, a belief in some idea is present. After seeing this through another lens, it appears atheists do have a religion or faith. Atheism is not a lack of religion, but it is a faith in the non-existence of God.
Religion as human tradition
Religion has been part of human life and community since the beginning of time. In fact, religion could be considered an essential characteristic of humanity. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and other empires were polytheistic, worshiping many gods. In more recent history, monotheism, the belief in one God, has grown and today the major world religions are monotheistic — Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. But Atheism claims there is no God or gods at all. I would argue that to have faith in no God takes as much faith as believing that there is a God. One could even say the religion of atheism is far less believable. Joining a religion requires a step of faith that there is a supreme being or beings. But if one denies all religion, you deny a concept that many people see as evident.
By denying the existence of God, one must look at the earth as if it is a product of pure chance, with molecules moving randomly through space. This idea would cause morals to flee, and nihilism, logically, to take over. Life ceases to have meaning if there is no God. An objective standard of what is “good” cannot be found, because every man must do what is good in his own eyes, and materialism rules the day. The religious waste their lives following arbitrary rules in submission to a fake higher authority, and martyrs died for a lie.
According to Atheist.org, Atheism is not the “disbelief” of a god, but rather, Atheism is the “lack of belief” in a god. What atheists are saying is that they are completely without belief. They are saying that atheists do not actively disbelieve something, but that they simply do not have belief at all. At first glance, this confused me, and something troubled me about how they define atheism. After checking a few dictionary definitions of terms, I found, however, that “lack belief” is a synonym for disbelief. Disbelief, defined by is, “Refusal to accept something as true.” Disbelief is active, not passive. Their argument is that they do not have the capacity to believe in a God, which is the conscience’s “refusal to accept something as true.” It seems to me that the bottom line is that we all make choices about what we believe. We are active in the realm of ideas.
Atheism is, then, another belief system marked by faith. In other words, it is a type of religion. It does not have the centrality of a god to worship, but it still requires a type of faith to believe that God does not exist. Evidence of God in the world around us must be explained or rejected by the atheist. Just like Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, atheism requires faith. But it is faith in the non-existence of God.
Ben Chamberlin is a junior at Grove City College with a major in political science and a minor in business. Ben is a contributing writer to the Collegian, plays intramural soccer, is an avid snowboarder, and was a resident assistant over the 2021-2022 school year. In 2022, Ben was a summer associate at the Vogel Group, a bipartisan lobbying firm, in Washington, D.C.
Ben is foremost a Texan, but he has moved 9 times over his life, including living in Shanghai China, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. Through his travels, he has enjoyed connecting with people in many different cultures, and he values dialogue and debate. He looks forward to the opportunity to engage with ideas, culture, and public policy through IFF, with a view to serving Christ in politics or the legal profession after college.