I can only imagine the Christian caller got a little too hyped up believing Bill O’Reilly’s assertion that it takes as much faith to believe in god as not believe. In fact, O’Reilly’s assertion is that it takes more faith not to believe in god, that framing is why they pay him the big bucks. As the hosts were quick to point out, any sensible discussion has to start with what do we mean by god. Typically in America, people mean a Christian god or at least a deity that can satisfy the constraints of a given holy book. These distinctions and oft-conflicting requirements usually elude the lay-believers wishing to argue with atheists. However, the caller does show some intellectual dishonesty in not disavowing a belief in Leprechauns. Does he go out chasing ends of rainbows every time it rains?
It isn’t that atheists are absurd skeptics. Most are willing to believe that it will take Pluto approximately 248 Earth years to orbit the Sun, the theory of the atom, or that evolution explains the emergence of the human species. However, some claims, like big-foot or pixies, haven’t met their burden of proof. Atheists also put god in that category. Believers, again, try to turn this around and say that evolution hasn’t met their rigorous standard of proof. As I mentioned before, that stands on a rail of intellectual dishonesty, because if one takes such a stance, then they should admit what evidence it would take to change their mind. Frequently, they invoke a variant of argumentum ad consequentiam, which is a logical fallacy. It should be obvious that the idea that there exists a telepathic, invisible, omnipotent, omniscient, everlasting deity would take quite a bit of evidence. More than a book that people have copied and changed over hundreds of years full of fantastic tales and virtually nothing else.
Atheists don’t mean there is no god unconditionally. However, we might argue as Epicurus did.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
We have reliable ways of determining true beliefs from false beliefs. There are reasons atheists believe what they do, but one of those reasons certainly isn’t faith. It is telling why some believers believe what they do by the techniques they use: fear and intimidation.