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To Pi Patel, an atheist has faith because the atheist either believes that there is no God or he believes that there is no need for a god. Atheists believe that science and reason are the ways to clearly see the world and all that it has in it.

Everything is here and clear, if only we look carefully.

Logic and reason are paramount to an atheist, and this is why Pi sees atheism as just another religious form and type of faith.

It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them—and then they leap.

The way that Pi understands atheism is that an atheist believes that reason and logic can explain everything. It is their worldview, and conceptually, Pi does not see it any differently than the way that other religions believe in their particular worldview.

The above passages can be found in chapter 7, and it is a very interesting section to read. However, I believe that Pi's closing comments on agnostics are the most profound part of this chapter's discussion of faith. Pi may not believe in atheism, but he at least respects their stance. He is not so tolerant of agnosticism.

I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

Agnosticism really bothers Pi because agnostics essentially choose to believe in nothing. They doubt everything and permit the possibility of anything. In Pi's opinion, they have no faith, and that does not sit well with his personal faith or worldview.

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Pi feels that atheists have faith because they believe in reason, but then go beyond reason to provide further explanation.  Further, Pi realizes this because of his "kinship" with Mr. Kumar.

There is an interesting irony that Mr. Kumar, one of  Pi's very favorite teachers, is an atheist; however, one of the first words we hear him say is a term full of religiosity.  Pi meets Mr. Kumar at the zoo.  Reacting to Pi's surprise, Mr. Kumar says, :I come here all the time.  One might say it's my temple."  Pi is flabbergasted that his mentor doesn't believe in religion calling it "darkness" and explaining more about it:

Why tolerate darkness?  Everything is here and clear, if only we look carefully.

Truth be told, Mr. Kumar has been debilitated by polio in his youth.  "It wasn't God who saved me--it was medicine."  In other words, Mr. Kumar believes in both science and reason.  Ho ever, because there are some things that exist but cannot be explained through either science OR reason, the atheist must eventually take that "leap" of faith that Pi talks about here:

Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them--and then they leap.

For Pi, though, that "leap" was COMBINING religions, not nixing them.  For Pi considers it a "terrible disease" that would "kill God" in any person.  But what surprises Pi the most is not any of these things.

What I find the most interesting is that it is the connection that Pi feels with Mr. Kumar that convinces Pi that Mr. Kumar actually does have faith.

I felt a kinship with him.  It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. 

Note the pronoun "it" in this quotation.  To what does that pronoun refer?  It refers to "a kinship."  Therefore we could reword the quote to say "[My kinship with Mr. Kumar] was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sister of a different faith."  So, in conclusion, Pi feels connected to Mr. Kumar through science and reason; however, it's Pi's relationship and connection with Mr. Kumar that proves that they BOTH have faith.

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