At a restaurant back in 2007, a friend who I’d long known and only known as a Christian, regaled us all at the table with his secret confession: He was once a devout atheist. Atheism was his former belief and science was his faith and article of worship.
Being the only other person at the table who was openly known to all as an atheist, I scoffed.
“You were never an atheist, then.” I said.
He gave me a silent “How dare you?” glare, but our other friends rushed into the void to change the subject.
Later on at a group interest forum we belonged to, I discovered that he was airing his grievances with me and mentioning me by name.
HIM: “All I can think is how ironic it is that someone would tell me I wasn’t atheist when I most certainly was and how Christians tell me I’m not Christian because I’m different.”
My response –
Me: What I said wasn’t ironic, it was a contradiction.
- to assert the contrary or opposite of; deny directly and categorically.
I’m basing my disbelief in your claim to have been an atheist, based entirely on what you say atheism is. You use words like “devout” and “faith” to describe your former atheism. You mistakenly misrepresent science a number of times. Atheism is the disbelief in a deity, period.
(between most of these paragraphs was his response, with a subsequent paragraph my rebuttal. I’m not posting his responses because I’m making a point, not continuing an argument)
It doesn’t mean that I have faith that there is a substitute supreme being that created the universe, I just have no faith that there is such a supreme creature, or even a well-intentioned tricycle for that matter. Since, according to you, you were a devout atheist, and put your faith in science, you were not an atheist, which, by dictionary definition means:
“An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings.”
And that’s all.
Scientists don’t go around claiming Newton, Carver, Curie, Einstein, or Hawking were/are supreme or divine beings. And it doesn’t matter if any of those scientists were religious or not.
*Salma Hayek may have been a supreme being once, but we all get old. Dolly Parton is old but still divine.
So since you are unable to separate belief from faith, and since your entire argument against atheism is to repeatedly attack science (???) and attack it with a huge misunderstanding of what science is, you weren’t an atheist. In your own words, you define an atheist as someone who is devout and has traded faith in god for faith in science. So you weren’t the dictionary definition of an Atheist and you don’t know the definition of Science.
Some people call themselves Christians even though they aren’t. Using your logic, I can claim to be god.+ And I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, you just have to believe me because I said so and you cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not god.
Like this guy:
Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine
And boy does he really work that whole “Can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m NOT god?” routine.
Now you attack science as a counter-weight god of faith for an atheist. At some point you felt science was a false god: You had a crisis of faith! Your answer was to embrace a different faith. It’s an entirely normal part of human behavior for someone to trade one addiction for another without fully coming to terms with either.
Like an alcoholic abandoning Rum for Whisky, faith remains your addiction. An alcoholic who insists that people who don’t drink to inebriation or loss of control must be addicted to SOMETHING, is a clouded perception.
You’ve created, or made personal, a definition of atheism that doesn’t exist, but because you really want it to, you demand that it be accepted as fact – just because you say so – and further, be used as a cudgel against those with atheist views. From what you say, “Christians tell me I’m not Christian” as well. You could be at a juncture in your life.
(but at this point I have to include what he said so my responses make sense)
Him: “Reading books that tell me chaos organizes itself does not lead to proof or even evidence that God does not exist. Your atheism is Faith in the fact that all of what we see is just here by random chance, of which there is no logical PROOF.”
Me: No, my atheism is a personal view without faith: one where I will not believe what people say merely on their say so. I don’t care how many people believe the devil lives in children or that drinking radioactive water will cure all human ails.
Him: “So are you saying because something is not known it does not exist? None of us can PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is or isn’t a God. I’ve been saying all along that neither of us can give enough evidence to PROVE either belief.”
Me: My answer is, and will always be: Without evidence to support your claim, I won’t believe it. Further, I’m not required to expend any energy or time in regards to your “magical basement” at all.
The burden of proof is on the person who wants to change my point of view.
Him: “The flaw you made is saying that I demand inarguable proof of what you believe. I asked no such thing because your beliefs are just as illogical as mine.”
Me: Refusing to believe without evidence isn’t illogical. Also, as everyone can see, you just said,
“I’ve been saying all along that neither of us can give enough evidence to PROVE either belief.”
You obviously demand proof, yet insist that you will disregard anything that contradicts you.
I’m not out to change your beliefs, but I am correcting what you are telling people that I believe.
I’m also not here to persuade you toward atheism. I have no problem with your belief in god (some atheists might, but people are people, not rubber stamps). This discussion with you is one of my repeatedly correcting your mistaken beliefs in who I am and what you tell others I believe.
You are the one bearing false witness against me.
Your idea of atheism is not the dictionary definition. Nor does it apply to any atheist I’ve ever known. Just because someone calls themselves an atheist doesn’t make them one.
Some people think they’re Jesus.
With this current post of yours, you contradicted yourself in front of everyone and misrepresented what I said – even though all of our previous posts are there for all to see.
This is the third time I’ve corrected your repeated misrepresentations of what I believe. I’m done.*
*Sometime later, mutual friends told me this guy was still trying to poison the waters with me at every available opportunity. He was just doing it in other places outside of my attention. Our friendship ended.