There is no leap of faith involved in not believing; one simply does not. Do you believe in Seven Dwarves? Only when you are 7 yourself. No “leap of faith” will make you after you grew out of it.
Also, that’s a wrong formulation, about “proof”. If something does not exist, and you say it does – the burden of proving your statement is on you. Impossible to find proof that something does not exist – if it doesn’t, then proofs of its absence do not exist, too, in total.
This endless conversation is like asking me to prove that bengali tigers are not native on the streets of NY. -They are not roaming 5th Ave! – But you have to prove it to me! -Here, look at the streets, they are empty of tigers! – No, you gotta prove it to me!
Actually, an atheist does not “simply not believe.” An atheist affirmatively believes God does not exist. This is an avowal, a profession — far more than simply a choice to “not believe.”
In most cases, especially in this country, avowed atheists are people who were raised as Christians and who therefore internalized the faith in which their lives were steeped during their impressionable years, but as a result of some negative personal experience or another they got mad at God and decided to punish Him by denying His existence — and then when He failed to go away in the face of their denial, they became militant in seeking to drive everyone else in the world to join their denial, and to marginalize all those who refused. They are Crusaders of a denied Cross, jihadists for a non-existent Allah.
When you meet an avowed atheist who is capable of tolerating believers after dealing with so many who cannot, you practically want to hug them.
With no apologies at all to atheists anywhere, atheism is every bit as much a belief system as any of the religious alternatives it disdains. To say that one does not believe in a supreme transcendent source for our existence is to say, at the same time, very many equally unprovable things about how we did come to exist as we are.
Kirk – what a faulty logic. If one idea is wrong, that does not automatically mean infinite number other ideas are. There is no evidence that your preferred idea has any merit – it has no consequence to merit of other ideas.
As I said – the burden of proof is on the believer. Atheism is not a belief-in-deity system, it’s the absence of one.