One of the ways in which religious believers try to get back at atheists is to argue that “Atheism is as much a matter of faith as religion is”. This is disingenuous.
For the atheist, no belief, let alone “faith”, is involved. What the atheist says is this: “In order to entertain a claim, especially a claim as irrational as the existence of a supernatural being, I require to see reasonable evidence of its existence. I see no evidence for the existence of the supernatural and I therefore decline to accept your claim that such a thing exists.” There is no “belief”, let alone “faith”, in that.
This bears repeating for the sake of clarity: I do not “believe” or “have faith” that God does not exist; I simply decline to accept a claim that such an entity exists.
When a claim is made, especially one that runs counter to everything we know and understand about the world, the burden of proof rests with the claimant, not with the person to whom the claim is put. More bluntly still (because religious believers are apt to be very obtuse on this point): I do not have to prove that God does not exist; you have to prove he does.
If the believer responds that the atheist is expressing belief, namely belief that all existents necessarily furnish evidence of their existence, we might ask him whether he believes in dragons or Santa Claus. The answer is almost certain to be no. On what grounds does the religious believer deny the existence of dragons? If absence of evidence allows the existence of God why does it not also allow the existence of dragons, fairies at the bottom of the garden, the Cheshire Cat, Santa Claus and all other entities dreamed up by poets, novelists, science fiction writers and so on?
Bertrand Russell, despite always writing and speaking as though he were an atheist, thought he should label himself an agnostic on the grounds that it is impossible to prove that God either exists or does not exist. Much as I respect Russell, I consider him wrong on this point. The reason is simple:
We are not obliged to accept the possible existence of every crack-brained invention until we can prove it false. If we were, we would be bogged down in the endless task of disproving the existence of unicorns, the tooth fairy, mermaids and every other product of the creative or febrile imagination. This is clearly as ridiculous as it is impossible.
Religious believers in fact support this view by rejecting as false every creed except their own. When have we seen a Pope accepting Hinduism as true because he could not prove it false?