Science is the Atheist’s Religion

Most often in the modern world we think of “faith” as something restricted to the realm of religion and spirituality. The two are so wholly married, in the minds of many, that to refer to an atheist’s acceptance of science as faith will often result in as heated an argument as if it had been claimed that science was his religion. While it is true that faith can be used as a synonym for religion, the word has various definitions according to the American Heritage Dictionary:
  1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
  4. often Faith Christianity: The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
  5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
  6. A set of principles or beliefs.

The average atheist today often focuses on the second and fifth definitions, even though the first definition is by far the more common understanding of the word (thus its placement in the list). He does so mainly in an effort to cast those of a religious faith as ignorant or stupid for maintaining a belief that, to the atheist, has not been proven.
Focusing on this definition also seems to him to justify denying his faith in science on the grounds that science is provable by the large body of “evidence” that supports it. Of course most rational individuals can see that the first definition clearly shows that their confident belief in the scientific principles they hold so dear constitutes faith, and the sixth definition seems to accurately define science: a set of principles (scientific laws) or beliefs (scientific hypotheses and theories).

If in doubt as to how seriously the atheist will defend his faith in science, simply cast aspersions on science, question its veracity in any way or ask him to prove any of the scientific principles in which he believes and the atheist’s faithfulness (def. 3) to science immediately comes to light and he gets angry, confrontational, and often resorts to personal attacks because he has no rational way to defend his beliefs. In other words, he acts exactly as atheists claim that the religious faithful act.

So the best argument that the atheist has that science is not his faith is based on the second definition, since there IS a large body of evidence in support of most science. There is ample evidence of numerous scientific principles, so much evidence that they are almost universally accepted as fact. Yet does this really disprove that the average atheist has faith (belief without proof 2nd Def.) in science? Most assuredly not, since that body of evidence was compiled by others, namely scientists, the atheist has little, if any, personal proof, he is only believing what he has been taught or read in a book. Without personal proof of a particular scientific principle (i.e. personally performing an experiment to verify it), the atheist is expressing faith in science AND the scientist. So his best argument that science is not his faith begins to unravel. If one further considers the scientific ideas in which the atheist believes which have only scant, little or no evidence in their support (ex. the theory of evolution) but are based on large leaps of faith, we see that, even by the standards of the definition most often used by the atheists, their faith in science is proven beyond a doubt to anyone with an open mind.

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