--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Shelly Strauss Rollison
> The problem is how to define atheism. Some atheists say it means they do not believe in God. Some say it means they have no belief w/respect to a deity. Some say it means God does not exist. To say "God does not exist" is a statement of faith because it cannot be proven. (Nothing can be
proven to NOT exist.) To say "I don't believe in God" is to me pretty much the same thing as saying "God does not exist", because to say you do not believe in something that exists is utterly illogical. It would be like saying "I don't believe in rain." But to say "I don't believe in
spranglefizzlers" is virtually the same as saying "Spraglefizzlers do not exist." Which is a statement of faith because you cannot prove something does NOT exist and faith is, by definition, a statement of belief that is beyond proof. It's a matter of semantics, IMHO.
As you pointed out, it's a matter of semantics. If we use the words "believe in" in their Biblical context, it is absolutely possible to not believe in something that exists. The Greek word translated in the Bible as "believe in" is pistuo, which means to have faith or trust in something or somebody. So again, we are back to personal beliefs. Do I believe that Congress exists? Absolutely. Do I
have faith in them? Absolutely not. Do I trust them to do right by the citizens? Not as far as I can throw them.
Even if you declare that something does or does not exist, it has no bearing on reality. I am sitting on a chair. I do not believe in this chair. I have no faith in it. On a subatomic level, there is enough space between the atoms in the chair and the atoms in my body that I should fall through the chair, the floor and the earth below the floor to the center of the earth. But even though I have no belief, the chair continues to support my weight. The chair does not need my approval to be a chair.
And God does not need my approval to be God.