I am an atheist and I have faith

I am writing this piece because there are millions of people who believe that somehow an organization made of men who crave power will make things better in our world. There are people who believe strongly that there is a supernatural being or beings who either control or exist in their lives. There are people who do not believe there is any supernatural forces outside of what we exert on ourselves out there as well. However, everyone has faith in something. Mathewson (27)

Faith is commonly defined as, “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” We all have faith in something and almost all of us will deny the existence of that same faith at some point. Many atheists tend to be quite political, they believe that by exerting their will through lobbying, voting and more they can change the world. They have faith in this process known as government. However, in almost every case these same faithful statists also deny that faith exists. And yet, the facts which they claim to embrace over all else prove that this unrelenting support of government has yet to actually benefit all humanity in any major way. In fact throughout written history government has been the primary mover and instigator in war, famine and much more.

Now, before others make the assumption that I am supporting religion, let me explain using common definitions to do so. I do not support religion, defined as, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.” I do not support government/governing, defined as, “organizations that rule over people through rules and laws and force.” And most important I do not support the religion of state, state being defined as, “a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.” Yes, there is a religion of state, it exists among those who are most likely to reject any attempt or design meant to avoid or get around the involvement of state in their lives. 301870_4643987011244_1486831755_n

As an individual I simply wish to not be told how I must live my life, I wish to make choices and decisions for myself and more importantly I do NOT want to make decisions or choices for any other humans life except those with whose care I am entrusted. My children are my responsibility, this is a natural right and the natural way of things. All other humans are NOT my responsibility, rather I want only to be responsible for that which is mine either through reproduction or direct property. And so I can say, I am an atheist and I have faith. I have faith in myself, for I am responsible only for myself, my life is solely in my hands and all actions that occur that I may be involved in are a direct result of my decisions and my acceptance of personal responsibility.

So who are you and does it even matter?

Not too me, after all, you are an individual and unless you wish to work with me and share responsibilities freely (voluntarily) there is no reason why we should be forced to do so. I would rather work to help others voluntarily without coercion or force than be forced to do what others deem best for me.

I am free what are you?

Free the mind and the body will follow

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About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, jessetalksback.com and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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39 Responses to I am an atheist and I have faith

  1. Faith is more like hope. Hope is just part of life. Life has its own propulsion. In this society hope is brought to a ridiculous precipice hanging on day after day just hoping you will make it. It’s not natural. So hope and faith are more like alleviating worry. See you can have faith in anything that will get you through one more month. Its the very same for everyone. So faith to me is synonymous with religion and this ridiculous merchant form of society.

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  2. You are absolutely correct in your discussion about definitions. Humans cannot have any rational, reasoned discussion with establishing definitions. Not starting with definitions and constantly changing the definition you “mean” is a very old evasive technique. Basically… it means the person doesn’t know what they are talking about, but don’t want to admit that. It means they lose the argument intellectually before it starts. But… still some try….

    Obviously I will disagree with you on many things, but you at least understand how to formulate arguments! Kudos! I don’t see how anyone can claim to believe something… then claim they don’t have faith…. But… that seems to make an argument that cannot be logically defeated…. Even though it’s just a logical fallacy….

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    • I want disagreement, however, I dislike (as you can tell at this point) the endless loop being used by Icaris – it seems popular and I also used it at one point…but it truly is a pointless approach as no one can actually learn anything until you test and measure theories against common definitions on your own.

      My entire education while a mix of autodactic and didactic has been culminating in my desire to forge ahead using the foundations from others but evolving my own thoughts and process’s based in logical approaches-

      Not fantasy logic but strictly the 2+2=4 type.

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  3. May I inquire into how you reached your conclusion that you have faith, though you are an Atheist and whether you believe faith is required to be an Atheist… or is simply your choice? Your conclusion seems to be… almost unique…. And I imagine you must be making a lot of other Atheists very uncomfortable…. Are you demonstrating courage… or quirkiness… or both…? Thank you!

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  4. For the rest of those reading-

    If you have a chance check out the comments and my responses. I am always open to legitimate individual personal criticism. However, when an individual is clearly not capable of being themselves and continues to use verbatim others arguments…Seriously, why is it so incredibly difficult for humans to think using their own minds versus simply repeating verbatim whatever current or dead philosopher tickles their fancies.

    Personally if it is a philosophy war this unnamed individual desires I would gladly begin citing the various esoteric philosophers that I prefer. Of course than neither of us actually learns anything.

    So thoughts?

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  5. Ignostic Atheist says:

    I would suggest to you Peter Boghossian’s video on faith:

    You define faith to be, “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Boghossian extends that definition to be, “Pretending to know things that you don’t know.” How do you get from here to there? It is a question of epistemology, how do you know. So, for you, the question is, how do you know that you can have complete confidence or trust in yourself, for every situation? You can’t hope to imagine every situation, so you must, therefore, be pretending to know. Moreover, it’s probably not too hard to imagine a situation in which you would be unable to be trusted. The stuff of nightmares: being forced to choose between saving loved ones. Or, you may come down with schizophrenia or be drugged, and have hallucinations so real you can’t tell the difference. It would be more accurate to say that you hope you will always be able to trust yourself. Or perhaps you could say that you have reason to believe you can trust yourself due to your past experience of being trustworthy. Or, you can continue to used faith to describe your trust in yourself, knowing that it is epistemologically unsound.

    Also, kudos to Voluntarydactyl on the well deserved smack down.

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    • So, the commonly accepted definition doesn’t interest you? And yet some other person’s definition that is not commonly accepted does?

      And I am unsound?

      I know me, I know what I do why I do what I have done and what I do it based on. My faith in self is unshakeable.

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      • Ignostic Atheist says:

        I did not say the commonly accepted definition doesn’t interest me. What I said is that Boghossian’s definition necessarily comes from the common one, if you consider what it is you are capable of knowing. You say that you have faith in yourself, so if you insert the definition, you have complete trust or confidence in yourself. Which is to say, in every situation, you know you will do the right thing (by your own standards).

        It is impossible to account for every situation, and simple to conceive of situations where you will not have the choice to do the right thing, or be tricked into doing the wrong thing. Furthermore, I’m sure you can bring to mind situations in which you have not done the right thing, as simple as cutting off someone in traffic or not returning too much change.

        Therefore, since you cannot always know that you will do the right thing, you cannot have complete trust or confidence in yourself, and Boghossian’s definition of faith as, “Pretending to know things that you don’t know,” comes into effect.

        I’m not saying that you can’t claim faith, that is your right to believe whatever the hell you want, but you can’t say that everyone has faith in something while there exist people who reject faith as a reliable claim of knowledge.

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        • What you are saying is that this man’s interpretation of a word outweighs my approach because this man is the man you prefer…?

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          • Ignostic Atheist says:

            I admire your persistence in avoiding the meat of my comments by suggesting that I am biased, but to be honest, it bores me. My statement was that Boghossian’s definition is the logical conclusion of the common definition. If you are incapable of comprehending the logic, or object to it, the appropriate thing is to say so, not put up a lame strawman.

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            • You do understand that I have neither studied this person nor do I care too. This is my prerogative as an individual. Of course if his definition were the commonly accepted one or was a common one I would likely have heard of it as I am not incapable of understanding facts and reality.

              I would suggest you attempt a different approach when telling someone they are wrong then by using another individuals view of that same thing.

              I am being purely logical here, I stated I used the COMMONLY accepted definition and as such it applies to me as an individual.

              You stated I am wrong and used someone I dont really care a whit about.

              You continue doing it and have the gall to call me out and or even accuse me of something that is not what have said at any given point.

              I clearly stated that your definition utilizing boghear or boredhear or whatever his name is doesnt apply unless it is commonly accepted as I clearly stated I am using commonly accepted definitions for clarities sake.

              So- you can continue to run in circles and attempt to stretch your obviously intellectually superior wings or, remember this is my blog, I am an individual (common definition) and I dont care about your philosophy major or some philosopher that really isnt that important as I havent heard of him…

              See what I did there?

              Look, I do hope you understand, I do not edit nor do I prevent anyone from commenting or even posting an article if they desire, I will however defend using my own voice, writing and mind that which I write. If you disagree with my usage based on common definitions and can do so without quoting, linking youtube videos or repeating “epic” names in an attempt to wow a nonexistent crowd then by all means please do so.

              If not, I will continue to repeat exactly what I wrote and why.

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              • Ignostic Atheist says:

                If you disagree with my usage based on common definitions and can do so without quoting, linking youtube videos or repeating “epic” names in an attempt to wow a nonexistent crowd then by all means please do so.

                I linked the video as a supplement for what I wrote, not in lieu of writing, and none of what I wrote was quoted or even paraphrased aside from his definition of faith. No, his epic name is not widely known – he’s relatively new, and I was talking to you, not your nonexistent crowd.

                But you’ve made your point several times in this last comment: you don’t care. Instead of saying that up front, you posted two comments worth of insinuation that I’m in love with this guy and biased against you, instead of considering the implications of what it means to be faithful about something.

                The argument, for the last time, is that Boghossian’s definition of faith is the logical outcome of the one you use. Which is to say, the truth of yours implies the truth of his. I tried to explain why, in two comments, but as you’ve mentioned, you don’t care. Which seems odd, to have a blog in which you don’t care about dissenting opinions. Anyone else who started a conversation on faith would have cared about discussing what faith is.

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  6. Pingback: When fantasy and reality collide | Jesse Talks Back

  7. You seem to be thinking along roughly the same lines as I have these past few weeks. Basically, I’ve begun to think that religion is cognitively inevitable. Take, for example, cognitive biases. There are so many pattern-seeking evolutionary leftovers in the human brain that it makes it almost impossible for people to truly break free of the desire to find some ideal or narrative to uncritically follow. To my way of thinking, if you believe in anything strongly enough, and ask hard questions about it sparingly enough, it will become a religion in your own mind. Thus, true atheism (which is really more like skepticism than anything else) will never take root in any more than a handful of smart people. The rest of the population will always be religious, even the atheists. They might just worship non-supernatural secular ideas like “The State” and “Equality”. That, I think, is how we’ve arrived at our current government-worshiping muddle: the government, having generations of stolen plunder at its disposal, will always have an advantage when it comes to indoctrination. Plus, when all the “smart” and “trendy” people in a society always belong to the same religion (Egalitarian Social-Democratic Humanism), that’s great advertising, as well as near-perfect livestock management.

    And now time to shamelessly plug my own blog: http://voluntarydactyl.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/on-atheism-and-postatheism/

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    • Vol,

      Some of the greatest minds in history were people of religion.

      In fact, religion is necessary for the development of civilization.

      That’s because religion orders the mind so that the extensive cooperation needed to form civil society can take place.

      All atheism has to show for itself is the greatest mass murders in human history.

      That’s because atheism is a trip back to pre-civilized, atavistic man.

      Whereas, religion attenuates the baser nature of man, atheism does nothing to attenuate the baser nature of man.

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      • SoM,

        “Some of the greatest minds in history were people of religion.”
        –That’s because religious explanations were the best explanations their societies had available at the time. I’d be willing to bet that if smart Christians like Isaac Newton or Leonardo di Vinci had had access to our modern scientific knowledge of nature and the universe, they would be deists at the very least.

        “In fact, religion is necessary for the development of civilization.”
        –There’s really no way of knowing that. There’s certainly a decent argument that could be made for early religious commandments being what first allowed people of different tribes to overcome their Dunbar Limit and interact peacefully by giving them some common ground. But little in the way of solid proof. I doubt it’ll ever be decided definitively one way or the other. I will, however, point out that there’s evidence that Homo sapiens and Neandertals interbred, and it’s very unlikely that they shared a language, let alone a religion.

        “That’s because religion orders the mind so that the extensive cooperation needed to form civil society can take place.”
        –I fail to see how letting your brain’s pattern-seeking algorithms run unchecked to the point of paranoia helps to “order the mind”. Trust me, humans don’t need help thinking in abstractions.

        “All atheism has to show for itself is the greatest mass murders in human history.”
        –Despite what your priest or pastor might have told you, that’s not true. The USSR, Maoist China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and Nazi Germany (what I like to call the Fearsome Foursome) were theocracies. It’s just that they were centered around the worship of the ruling regime as godlike, omniscient, and all-powerful. Marxism-Leninism was the state religion of the USSR, and Nazism was the state religion of the Third Reich in practice, even if this was never formally recognized.

        “That’s because atheism is a trip back to pre-civilized, atavistic man.”
        –No, pre-civilized man was incredibly superstitious and religious. Stone Age peoples saw gods and spirits everywhere and in everything.

        –“Whereas, religion attenuates the baser nature of man, atheism does nothing to attenuate the baser nature of man.” Religion does nothing to change man’s nature. Vicious, amoral monsters will be that way no matter what, and will justify themselves using whatever the predominant belief in society is. It could be religion or atheism. What attenuates man’s baser nature is commerce and trade with other groups. Each group gains something, and builds ties with its neighbor. Rinse and repeat for a century or two, and you have the beginnings of civilization. Man overcomes his baser instincts by channeling them into something positive. Religion may help that (“love thy neighbor”) or hinder it (“burn the heretic”).

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        • A lot of this reply is unsubstantiated conjecture. No one knows what dead men would have done under different circumstances.

          Religion may not be necessary for developing Civilization, but Professor Carroll Quigley makes an interesting case for Christianity civilizing Western Culture… which is the only culture that values women’s rights, equality and justice for all, freedom, natural rights… all of the Freedoms guaranteed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights come directly out of Western Christianity. The roots of Atheism are Hedonism with a belief in the supremacy of the Pleasure Principle and the mediating effects of the Reality Principle.

          Stalin and Mao were Atheist and Communism and Marxism are Atheist. The avowed purpose of Communism and Marxism is to violently destroy Capitalism and religion is explicitly stated to be a pillar sustaining Capitalistic authority in the Communist Manifesto. Hitler was religious, but he certainly wasn’t Christian. He was an Occultist. Pol Pot… was raised Buddhist… but he certainly wasn’t ACTING Buddhist…. I find it funny that Atheist claim that Stalin was a Orthodox Christian and Hitler was raised Catholic and Pol Pot was Buddhist and Mao… when the tenets of Communism CLEARLY require that ALL true Communist embrace Atheism…. And Hitler was an Occultist…. They have been RAISED Christian or Buddhist… but the only one who had any religion other than Atheism at the time they were involved in their reign of terror was Hitler…. No one seems to mention the Japanese… who slaughtered millions of Chinese…. They were all Shinto with some following a form of martial Zen Buddhism…. But religion didn’t make any of those men killers…. Not Christianity…. Not Buddhism…. Not Occultism…. And not even Atheism…. But religion did not have enough of a humanizing effect on them them to bring them into a subjective relationship with other humans. That’s the pathology. A lack of empathy.

          I doubt Satanism attenuates the baser natures of humans. Some other religions also teach the supremacy of the Pleasure Principle. As long as the Reality Principle remains in place, most humans retain their humanity. But ANY human in ANY religion can lose touch with the Reality Principle… and begin objectifying everyone else…. Some people are incapable of forming subjective connections with other humans.

          As far as I know, the documentable history of Atheism begins with the Hedonists… who branched off of Socrates like the Stoics and the Epicureans…. But I could be wrong. Most uncivilized men were religious because religion was a part of civilization…. The Bicameral Mind…. Now… only GroupThink remains….

          In Ancient Times, religion DID provide structure for the mind. When people believed everything was caused by Spirits, religion provided safety. Holy Days or holidays were a way to help control the excesses of the rich and powerful: stop their abuses of women and the poor, who were nothing more than property. But some religions sacrificed children in fires. Others demanded constant human sacrifices. And ALL religions… including Atheism have had episodes of violent excess…. Doesn’t mean that ALL Atheists are bad people. Doesn’t mean ALL Christians are good people. Because ALL people are people. And ALL Christians should recognized that they are first and foremost Sinners. Neither Atheists nor anyone else is under any compunction to do so. But… we are ALL hypocrites who seek to give our own beliefs moral superiority and what amounts to an ethical pass….

          I am a Fundamentalist Reformed Christian Conservative, but that doesn’t mean I believe everybody else has to be…. Or even can be…. It’s just what makes the most sense to me….

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        • Eric Price says:

          “Wrong”

          Can you be more specific.

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          • Stalin, Mao and the others were statists – meaning they worshipped the idea of the state as the highest power over any other. If they had been atheists they would not have worshipped any higher power.

            Now, were they christians like Hitler or any of the many Popes and thousands of Christians throughout history who have murdered, raped and stolen from others? Nope, they were not, however, they were not atheists.

            They had a higher power and it was the pursuit of individual power through state.

            The common misconception that they were atheists is based on what other wrote, however, a simple fact check showed they got rid of all other religions (except Stalin who actually endorsed the Orthodox church for what that is worth) and placed themselves as modern gods ruling a system that was gods fist over the people.

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    • Truth and please plug away! 🙂

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  8. Atheism demands the belief that everything happened all by itself.

    It takes less faith and makes more sense to believe in God who made everything happen.

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    • Haha, no, atheism demands nothing. Dont make up definitions, you either use commonly accepted definitions or dont, but understand I do for a reason.

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      • Jesse,

        Words means things. Atheists are people who do not believe in God.

        If there is no God, than everything happened all by itself.

        The preceding sentences are an example of reason.

        In addition to believing everything happened all by itself, atheists don’t believe in reason.

        That is why you don’t understand what I have just written.

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        • “Words means things. Atheists are people who do not believe in God.”
          –Well, yes.

          “If there is no God, than everything happened all by itself.”
          –No, no, no. If there is no God, then everything happened through non-divine means. We don’t necessarily know what those means are. Some very smart people have a couple theories that do seem to make some sense, but saying “I don’t know” is still a perfectly valid answer. I don’t know how the universe came to be. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the work of a supernatural superhero, and I’m interested in finding out what the real answer is. Besides, what’s wrong with admitting you just don’t know something? Sounds like some healthy humility to me.

          “The preceding sentences are an example of reason.”
          –No, they’re not. The first sentence is just reading the dictionary at us, the second is blatantly making things up to help you grind your ideological axe.

          “In addition to believing everything happened all by itself, atheists don’t believe in reason.”
          –You’re right, I don’t believe in reason. Reason is self-evident. It doesn’t need to be explained, because then you’d be using reason to prove that reason doesn’t exist. If I didn’t believe in reason, communication would be impossible, because I’d have to use reason to explain why reason doesn’t exist. Reason doesn’t need to be proven because there’s literally no way it can be false. It’s an axiom.

          “That is why you don’t understand what I have just written.”
          –Nope, I’m pretty sure the problem’s on your end.

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          • Dictionary definitions are exceedingly useful. Without them… the form of logical debate is lost….

            Merely stating that someone is not using reason is not necessarily a rational statement.

            How does believing that God does not exist differ from believing things started by themselves? Are you suggesting that things started ex nihilo? Or that SOMETHING mysterious… just call it the Great Spaghetti Monster for lack of a better term… started the Super-strings to vibrating… ex nihilo…. M-Theory and all that sauce…?

            I agree with you when you say that we don’t know how things started. I would add that we have no proof… with or without God…. All we have is belief…. Or faith in what we choose to believe.

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        • The truth is, I do not care if it all happened by itself or if it always has existed in some form.

          And you are correct, someone like you will never understand- not sure why you chose to read this blog, however, I would suggest moving on.

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          • Jesse,

            This is you expressing that you don’t care what you believe:

            “The truth is, I do not care if it all happened by itself or if it always has existed in some form.”

            How can someone like you, who admits they don’t care what they believe, say this:

            “And you are correct, someone like you will never understand.”

            If you don’t care what you believe then there is no way for you to understand anything.

            And if you can’t understand anything yourself, you certainly have not authority or competence to tell me that I “will never understand anything.”

            And since you freely admit that you have no idea what you believe, that means you have no idea what you are saying or writing.

            So you’re blog is indeed a waste of time and I shall not return. I’m glad that got settled.

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            • In context what I said actually makes sense. You have done what all religious zealots and freaks do, taken it and cut it up to represent what you want it to represent. Thereby invalidating your entire approach ON MY BLOG – I didnt invite you, you came of your own free accord, I am grateful you are now leaving of that same volition.

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