Of course they should; atheism is in essence a collective of those who are still seeking answers and truth about who they are; and it forms the
opposite side of the coin to the religious, who believe they have found the answers.
You need to remember that regardless of whether you are atheist, agnostic, or of any other paradigm or religion; we are all fundamentally asking the
Who am I?
or; What is the meaning of life?
These are both at their core the same question; and it is something which everyone seems to overlook when they take up defensive positions on both
sides of the fence in religious debate.
When you examine these questions; and both sides of the argument subjectively you realise that for both sides it has becomes less about finding the
definitively true answer to this question; than trying to prove the other side wrong.
The question asked as the topic to this thread is a prime example of this.
It is very simple. There are those seeking truth; and those who believe they have found it.
If you can acknowledge this as being an accurate evaluation of the 'Religion vs Atheism' argument; then you should be able to appreciate that the
burden of proof always lies with those who believe they know the truth; or the answers to the questions.
The very nature religion means; that when you subscribe yourself to its belief; that you have found the answers to the meaning of life, and who we
are; you also open yourself to the scrutiny of those who would disagree with your belief.
This is where the paradox of 'faith' comes into effect within the argument; which is what leads many religious to become frustrated, angry, hateful
or dismissive, in their arguments with atheist/agnostic people.
The common factor that you will find present in most atheist/agnostic people is that they are commonly very logical, analytical and intelligent
people. Who are looking at things subjectively from the perspective of one without the 'burden' of faith; or proof. They need only ask the questions
which do not make sense. And Christians/Catholics fail to appreciate this, and treat them as one who is impaired in their understanding; because they
are not seeing things from the position of one who does not require such proof.
Now; before any of you who are religious state to me that they have experienced 'proof of God' or they can give examples of proof. They should
consider those they are debating may have never had any such 'experiences', or they may have other rational/logical explanations for these things.
And that all physical/historical proof of their religion, is subjective, non-conclusive and in some cases; highly likely to have been manipulated by
the hands of men; not God.
So to those you are arguing with; you must forget the experiences you've had where "You had to be there", or physical evidence which would not hold
up in any court of law; because that is how they view it.
The issue needs to be analysed logically, and rationally. If you get asked something about a contradictory, hypocritical, or improbable aspect within
the Bible; you should never tell them to 'Just believe' or 'Have faith', or anything of this sort. Because if you stop for a second to view this
from the mindset of one who needs to understand logic and reason in what they are presented; it sounds like you are trying to con them into something
which smells fishy (pardon the pun), or that you don't fully understand what it is you are trying to offer them. It is fairly understandable why they
would not trust religion from this perspective.
It gets much worse when those of the religious faiths get frustrated or angry at those asking the questions; because they are not able to answer
adequately outside of telling them they should just believe; as they do. Because this portrays to them that not only are you trying to offer them
something you don't fully understand yourself; but that you may be a little crazy. And this is not meant to sound insulting; only to give you
perspective of how you are viewed in such circumstances.
To most atheists the second you use the words; "The Bible says ..", "Jesus says .." or "The Devil ..", they will switch off to the rest of your
argument. The reason being that many of them have analysed the Bible to a level beyond that which most Christians do! (This has been substantiated in
surveys on 'Religious knowledge'). It is not because they do no know, or understand what is said within the Bible, it is because; even with all the
beauty, wisdom and other gifts offered within the Biblical texts; it still does not sufficiently answer the fundamental question of "WHO AM I" to
You need to appreciate that "WHO AM I" or "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE" to a half the people of this world, can not be answered with; "We are
from God". Because logically; we had to be created and come from somewhere. This is seen as a way to avoid answering the question; and makes religion
seem hollow to those who already understand the vast majority of wisdom within the Bible, by knowing the goodness of their own heart.
"Telling someone just to believe so they stop asking questions; is not the same as answering the question."
And before you try to work out 'how' you can get an Atheist/Agnostic to have faith in that which you believe in; you should consider that you are
presenting them with something which is claimed to be 'truth'.
[feyth] Show IPA
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
belief that is not based on proof.
[trooth] Show IPA
noun, plural truths [troothz, trooths] Show IPA .
the true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like.
So by the very nature of the definitions; faith and truth are incompatible; and those you are debating with understand this logic. Hence the burden of
proof that they are asking you for in the what you are presenting.