It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe
Atheists maintain that there is currently no evidence to justify positive belief in God. Therefore, it is not necessary, logical or reasonable to believe in any of the various gods posited by world religions. As the saying explains, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If this is true of other things it is probably true of the divine concept as well. When the existence of a god is demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, it will then be time to believe. For the purposes of this discussion, the relevant definition of faith is:
- Faith is accepting a claim as true regardless of confrontations with evidence that oppose it.
When there is not sufficient evidence to support a given claim, the default position should be rational skepticism. With that in mind, not believing in fairies or Father Christmas is not an act of faith, because those who are making these claims have the burden of proof, and must provide evidence why that position should be accepted. Technically, such positions require less a statement of faith, in the same sense that 0 is less than 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. Some theists, such as Ray Comfort, may try to make the claim that this category is actually agnostics, as they usually represent strong atheism as the standard atheist position.
Definitionally, it doesn't make sense to say that disbelieving "takes more faith," as it doesn't require any faith not to place one's belief in unsubstantiated truth claims. 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-- to replace 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 likewise 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?".