Atheism's Dishonest Redefinition of Faith
Atheist popularizers dishonestly conflated faith with blind faith to support their dishonest argument that materialism has evidence while no religion has evidence.
It's human nature to get frustrated, even angry, when people use dishonest arguments to argue against your position. Atheists always irritate me by using a dishonest definition of faith to score rhetorical, but illogical, points. Most do so in ignorance, so I have to practice some self-control when responding. If I point out the dishonesty of the rhetoric, I have to emphasize that I'm accusing the originators of the trick of dishonesty, not them.
Faith is not necessarily decided in the absence of evidence. That definition was popularized over the couple of decades by promoters of Atheism such as Dawkins and Boghosian. Those pop-science writers equivocated by conflating faith with blind faith.
Faith, honestly defined, is active trust in the absence of absolute proof. I use the redundancy in “absolute proof” for emphasis. Blind faith is a subset; classifying all faith as meeting the definition of blind faith and then relegating faith to religion, to the exclusion of other matters, especially science, was deceptive rhetoric on the part of the popularizers.
Belief overlaps faith because it is a decision about a claim. The difference is that faith is active. Faith influences decisions, whereas belief can be active or passive. That is, one can accept a claim “in theory” without letting it influence decisions.
(Grammatically, believe is a transitive verb: one believes a claim. Sometimes, the believed claim is implied. In contrast, faith is a noun that labels an active belief.)
Can anthropogenic climate change be proven? No. Can the claim be believed? Yes. Can one put faith in it? Yes. Is there sufficient evidence (e.g., long-term history or evidence that politically- or career-motivated managers in the science industry fudge the numbers) to create reasonable doubt? Also yes.
Since issues such as climate change depend on evidence in the absence of proof, believe and faith are perfectly applicable terms in the realm of science. Technically, they lie outside the rules of the process of science, but they certainly apply to scientists, the public, and the policies and cancel culture that rely on scientific issues and evidence. One can honestly conclude, based on observation, that fearmongering over climate-change crosses into religious (or at least ideological) zeal.
To say that faith applies to religion and not to science is to mislead — and on the part of Atheists who popularized the bad definition, to use such rhetoric is to deceive.
Copyright 2021, Richard Wheeler. Permission granted for non-remunerated use.