It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe
Atheists maintain that there is no evidence for God, yet, therefore, it is not necessary, logical or reasonable to believe in him (or it or them). When the existence of a god is demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, then that is the time to believe. Within the context of this discussion, it's important to note the definition of faith that is relevant:
- Faith is accepting a claim as true without sufficient evidence. Faith is an extreme form of belief.
With that in mind, not believing in fairies or Father Christmas is not an act of faith, because no claim is being accepted. Technically, such positions require less a statement of faith, in the same sense that 0 is less then 1. Different kinds of atheism could be described as having different amounts of faith:
- strong atheism - those atheists believing there is no god, with insufficient evidence
- weak (or default) atheism - those atheists simply lacking a belief in the god.
An atheist may wish to bring up this distinction to derail the "Atheism is a kind of faith" argument, as most consider themselves weak/default atheists. (Though, some theists may try to make the claim that this category is actually agnostics).
Definitionally, it doesn't make sense to say that disbelieving "takes more faith". It would be like saying that not-playing-sports requires more athletics than playing football.
There is no evidence for the presence of a higher power, which is why theists need faith - it's used in place of evidence. The irony is that most of them have the confidence to deny the existence of fairy tale creatures from other mythologies and cultures, for which there is no evidence.
Most religions assert that faith is a virtue, and they are criticizing atheists for having more faith (or the same amount they do as the case may be). They are only criticizing themselves. An apt question to directly follow the theists objection would be "does faith prove me wrong?".