The following was a comment I left on a blog in which many athiests, agnostics, and believers were discussing belief in God. One believer made the usual statement that we all rely on faith, but the non-believers wanted to know how those of us who use that argument reach that conclusion. This is the clarification that I gave, I thought it would be appropriate to post it here:
You wrote, “But in the end, it’s hard for me to be religious because God’s existence cannot be proven.”
And, yet, it is not hard for you to be non-religious even though God’s non-existence cannot be proven either. If God’s existence can neither be proven nor disproven (I am assuming, from your posts/comments, that you agree that God’s non-existence cannot be proven…afterall, you said, “Anything is possible in this large and vast universe.”)…where does that leave us? Why choose non-belief over belief? Seems that that would make it an arbitrary, unfounded decision…and if unfounded and arbitrary, then why attack those who believe in God? Why not just let people go about their business of making an arbitrary decision?
And, yet, the very fact that you attack belief in God shows that you really don’t believe it to be an arbitrary decision. Your 8 Reasons for not believing tell us that you at least think that the question of God’s existence, while perhaps not proveable one way or the other, is at least a question that can be answered to a degree of certainty based on a preponderance of evidence.
So, now we have non-believers claiming that their evidence leans towards the non-existence of God…and we have believers claiming that their evidence favors the existence of God. How does one decide? If both positions are unproveable, then we have reached the point of faith, either way you go…belief in something that cannot be proven. It does not mean belief in something for which there is no evidence…simply belief in something that cannot be proven. But, how many things are there to believe that can be proven? Some would say experiential beliefs, “Seeing is believing”…but then how do you prove that you can trust your senses, that you have an independent mind, that this “reality” is not all some Matrix-like illusion, that every thought you have is not controlled by chemical reactions in your brain, programed responses to stimuli?
So, here we are…We all believe in something, many things, that cannot be proven. Like axioms in Geometry, beliefs that can be tested by their use, but must be accepted before we can work any problems. We all establish our world-views based on some basic, unproveable beliefs. We all rely on faith.