I Don’t Have Enough Patience for Your Clichés

Bat SlapDear old man tugging your lapels whilst confidently chuckling when the pastor says “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” after an abysmal presentation of the design argument (which usually just consists of a few slides picturing deep space objects with a nod to Plaley, or a banana),

I would like to appeal to your good nature and demand this practice be stopped at once.

For starters, the cliché betrays the Biblical concept of faith, catering to the bastardized cultural definition that has something like “belief on the basis of induction,” or worse  “belief without evidence or reason” at its heart. Correctly understood, faith has a spiritual dynamic that cannot characterize unbelief or belief in spiritually-neutral matters. Indeed, in the New Testament, an unbeliever just is someone who does not have faith. So speaking of an atheist as having faith is just a contradiction in NT terms.

For seconders, the Bible and Christian tradition teaches that faith is (among other things) an epistemic virtue had by those who are in some sense in tune with the things of God. Saying such ridiculous things as “it takes more faith to be an atheist” either tacitly admits that believing by faith is an epistemically bad way of believing, or else suggests atheists are more epistemically virtuous about spiritual matters than believers are. Are you recommending we either stop believing things by faith or all become atheists?

For thirders, it is not clever and it is not cute. Actually, dialectically speaking, it commits the tu quoque fallacy. Whenever I hear this cliché applied to atheism or some other non-Christian position, I hear your confident chuckles and resounding baritone amens. But, ironically, this only reveals how unclever and uncute you are. Let the record show: it is not clever, and it is not cute. In the rare event that you heed this sage advice,

Thank you sincerely,


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