Do atheists have ‘beliefs’?

At bohemian prose the author states they are going to start a series on atheistic beliefs.

I questioned this on the basis that most atheists say they don’t have ‘beliefs’.

The word ‘belief’ can have numerous meanings but is often, particularly in relation to religion, understood to be knowing something without any actual evidence and/or taking something ‘on faith’. When discussing atheism the words belief/believe should probably be only used in the sense of:

“I believe that e=mc2” I’ve never actually proved or measured this myself, but I can infer it from the numerous scientific books that reference it, and from my training in electronics.

As for myself, I ‘believe’ that there are no gods.

Of note, I used the define function in Google to help  write this article. To use this cool function, type define: word in the search box (where word is the word, or phrase, you want defining) 



Filed under atheism, beliefs, religion

2 responses to “Do atheists have ‘beliefs’?

  1. bohemianprose

    Hey Oz –

    I would agree with you that most who call them selves atheist do not consider them selves to have a believe system in regards to faith. To say I have a clear cut direction for this article isn’t true – I am letting it steep for a bit as I consider the idea, whcih is something I always like to do, eg; is it true, is it relevant. I do want to provide the most objective view I can. And in a sense that is the way I am referring to belief but I also hold to a notion that everyone believe is something, that faith can hold many definitions..well anyway we’ll see how it comes out. Thanks for the input – BP.

  2. Of course we have beliefs, we are human. But my guess is that is not what BP is getting at.

    I have beliefs based on adequate evidence, reasoned evidence, although I am human and we all exhibit confirmation bias that can lead us to construct belief on insufficient of poor evidence just because it suits our argument, sense of self etc.

    I have faith based on evidence and reason, faith in myself, in my community, in Qantas (that my plane won’t crash) based on their safety record.

    Again I suspect this is not what BP is heading towards – maybe I am misreading him.

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