In my May 6, 2012 public lecture for the Humanists of Greater Portland, I further underscored the difference between faith and hope by issuing the following thought challenge:
Give me a sentence where one must use the word ‘faith,’ and cannot replace that with ‘hope’, yet at the same time isn’t an example of pretending to know something one doesn’t know.
To date, nobody has answered the thought challenge. I don’t think it can be answered because faith and hope are not synonyms.
For 10 years, Richard Dawkins has been claiming he experienced some harmless molestation as a young boy. Is there any evidence to support this claim? No. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. All we have is Dawkins making some vague claim about the past.
So here is my sentence.
I will accept, on faith, that Dawkins was molested as a young boy.
Clearly, we cannot replace the word “faith” with “hope,” as I certainly do not hope he was molested.
Neither is this an example of pretending to know something, for I certainly do not claim to know that Dawkins was molested as a young boy.
So there ya go.
But now we have a challenge for atheists.
Given he has no evidence to support his claim, and all claims are supposed to be supported by evidence in order to merit belief, why do you believe Dawkins?