echoe wrote:Why does it take "less" faith to be a non-believer than it does to be a believer?
Not believing doesn't require faith. Doing nothing requires no effort.
echoe wrote:I find it equally as easy to believe in extra-terrestrial as I do in not believing in extra-terrestrial. Barring evidence, a thing can just as easily be as it can not? No?
Interesting example, and no.
Belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life doesn't rely on faith. There are ample proof that life exists, that it is resilient and aggressive. We now know for a fact that it does not rely only on carbon, water, oxygen, etc. but can incorporate other elements in its DNA—even here on Earth, we have now found different type of life, although we had always thought there was only one (here). So, it's a reasonable assumption. (I'm not trying to convince anyone there is alien life out there. I'm just pointing out that the probability exists. There could be no life outside of the Earth, though at this point I think most will admit it is unlikely.)
There has never been any hint, not even the slightest, that the divine may exist (the only hints we ever got were when we misinterpreted signs around us—like the apparent complexity of Nature, that is now easily explained by science... but wasn't always). There's no reason to assume there are gods, other than our (sometimes strong) desire for them to exist.
In a way, it's a pity because we miss something by clinging to the traditional idea of the divine. I think we should embrace the truth, admit that our view of the divine is outdated and embrace its real nature, its real level of existence: fiction.
Fiction is a wonderful, powerful thing. Gods have the same level of existence as the Doctor, Buffy, Superman, Santa and just about any iconic character out there. And it's not sad or trivial. The heroes of our stories help us do good, they remind us how great it is to achieve something good and positive and beautiful. They empower us to be heroes ourselves. Fiction is one of the few things that make us truly Human. It's not murder and rape: animal do that too (meet our nasty cousins, the chimpanzees). It's not even laughter. Rats laugh (yeah, I know, sort of scary that one). It's STORIES.
That's how I can call myself a Pagan and
an Atheist. I now realise I was a Pagan decades before I even new about modern Druidry. I have always believed in my Heroes. They helped me make it through life, they inspired me. Of course, if I'm attacked in a dark ally, they won't fly down and save me. They're not that sort of real. But they might help me through it, still.
So, I have faith in Humankind. I have faith in Humankind because we made the heroes, the gods. We invented them: better versions of ourselves towards which we strive. I have faith in me and my ability to achieve my dreams (because that's real faith... if I were to go with the statistical evidence on this one, I'd be screwed...
But no, saying there's no magic and no gods doesn't require faith. It does not require anything. Except maybe the will to suppress our own desire for something we are not going to get that way (but can get some other way).