What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism?

What is the Definition of Atheism?

Atheism, broadly defined, it is the absence of belief in the existence of any gods. Christians insist that atheism means the denial of the existence of any gods; the absence of belief in any gods is, for some strange reason, often ignored. At best it might be mistakenly referred to as agnosticism, which is actually the position that knowledge of gods is not possible.

Dictionaries and other specialized references make it clear, though, that atheism can have a much broader definition. The Definition of Atheism...


How are Atheism & Theism Different? How are Atheism & Theism Similar?

Given the constant debates between atheists and theists, the differences between atheism and theism should be obvious. The truth is that there are so many misconceptions which both sides have about the other that the facts can get lost. The difference is ultimately very simple: theists believe in at least one sort of god. How many gods, the nature of these gods, and why the belief exists is irrelevant to the concept. Atheists lack belief in the existence of any gods external to human minds. Atheism vs. Theism...


What is the Difference Between Atheism & Agnosticism?

Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes evident that agnosticism is not, as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism.

The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god exhaust all of the possibilities. Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not. Atheism vs. Agnosticism...


What is the Difference Between Strong Atheism & Weak Atheism?

The more common understanding of atheism among atheists is “not believing in any gods.” No claims or denials are made — an atheist is a person who is not a theist. Sometimes this broader understanding is called “weak” or “implicit” atheism. There is also a narrower sort of atheism, sometimes called “strong” or “explicit” atheism. Here, the atheist explicitly denies the existence of any gods — making a strong claim which will deserve support at some point.


What is the Difference Between Atheism & Godlessness?

It’s true that atheists are by definition godless, but it’s possible to draw a subtle distinction between the two concepts. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods; godlessness is the absence of gods and is generally defined as not recognizing or worshipping any gods. Technically, a person could believe in the existence of gods they don’t worship. This might be rare, but the implications are important. Godlessness need not deny the existence of gods, but it does dismiss their importance.


What is the Difference Between Belief & Disbelief?

Is disbelief in an idea the same as believing that the idea isn’t true? No: mere disbelief in the truth of a proposition is not equivalent to the belief that the proposition is false and that the opposite is true.

If you make a claim and I disbelieve it, I am not necessarily saying that your claim is false. I may not understand it well enough to say one way or the other. I may lack enough information to test your claim. I may simply not care enough to think about it. Belief vs. Disbelief...


Is Atheism a Religion, a Philosophy, an Ideology, or a Belief System?

Because of atheism's long-standing association with freethought, anti-clericalism, and dissent from religion, many people seem to assume that atheism is the same as anti-religion. This, in turn, seems to lead people to assume that atheism is itself a religion - or at least some sort of anti-religious ideology, philosophy, etc. This is incorrect. Atheism is the absence of theism; by itself, it isn't even a belief, much less a belief system, and as such cannot be any of those things.

Atheism is not a Religion, Philosophy, Ideology, or Belief System...


How Can I Be an Atheist? Simple and Easy Procedure to Become an Atheist:

So, do you want to be an atheist? Do you really want to be able to call yourself an atheist instead of a theist? If so, then this is the place to come: here you can learn the simple and easy procedure for becoming an atheist. If you read this advice, you'll learn what it takes to be an atheist and thus perhaps if you also have what it takes to be an atheist. Few people seem to understand what being an atheist is all about and thus what becoming an atheist entails. It isn't that hard, though. How to Become an Atheist...


Is Atheism Morally & Intellectually Significant?

Many atheists regard atheism itself as being important, but that is mistaken. The mere fact that a person doesn’t happen to believe in any gods isn’t very meaningful. Thus, if atheism is going to have intellectual or moral significance, it must be for other reasons. Those reasons can’t be found simply in critiques of religion or arguments against theism; instead they must be found in a general program of reason, skepticism, and critical inquiry. How Atheism can be Morally & Intellectually Significant...


Does Godless Atheism Have Implications for One's Philosophy or Ideology?

Atheism, which is the mere disbelief in the existence of gods, has no inherent philosophical or political implications. There are too many different and opposing atheistic philosophies and political positions for this to be possible.

Godlessness, which covers more than just atheism, arguably can have implications because refusing to recognize or worship any gods may influence how we approach important issues. I will argue for some implications which people should draw from their godlessness. Implications of Godlessness...

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Your Citation
Cline, Austin. "What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2016, thoughtco.com/what-is-atheism-what-isnt-atheism-248062. Cline, Austin. (2016, February 5). What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-atheism-what-isnt-atheism-248062 Cline, Austin. "What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-atheism-what-isnt-atheism-248062 (accessed May 26, 2018).