Is Atheism a Belief?

Extract from: Is Atheism a Belief?

 

I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that, when atheists are discussing our own ideas and feelings and conclusions, we should stop using the word “belief.” I’m trying to wean myself off of it, and I’m encouraging other atheists to do the same.

If we want to say that we think something is true, I think we should use the word “conclusion.” (Or “opinion,” depending on how certain we are about what we think.) If we want to say that we think something is good, I think we should use the word “value.” If we want to say that we have trust or confidence in something, I think we should use the word… well, “trust” or “confidence.” I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that the word “belief” is irrevocably tainted: there’s no way to use it in discussions with believers without the great likelihood of being misunderstood. Deliberately or otherwise. So whenever it seems likely that our use of the word “belief” will be misunderstood — and it seems that any use of the word “belief” is likely to be misunderstood — we should endeavor to make our language as clear and precise as possible.

 

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