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Atheism, Atheists, Agnosticism, and Agnostics

What is atheism? Is it a religion? Are all atheists communists? What is the difference between atheism and agnosticism? Atheism is often misunderstood and even vilified; a better understanding of it, however, reveals that many of the attacks made upon atheism and atheists are based upon errors and mistaken assumptions.
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Atheism for Beginners - The Very Basic Facts About Atheism for Beginners
There are a lot of resources here about atheism for beginners: what atheism is, what it isn't, and refutations of many popular myths about atheism. I've discovered, though, that it isn't always easy to direct people to all of the information they need - there are too many people who believe too many falsehoods about atheism and atheists. That's...

Freethought Posters: Inspirational Posters on Freethought, Skepticism, Atheism
It's not unusual for people to assume that atheism has to be dry, cold, cynical, and overly intellectual. Atheists are so often engaged, as atheists, in philosophical debates about gods, morals, politics, etc. We don't see much in the way of art created by atheists in order to express ideas, emotions, or beliefs from an explicitly atheistic...

Articles of 2006: Most Popular, Most Read Agnosticism / Atheism 2006 Articles
I cover a variety of issues from an agnostic and atheistic perspective on this site: religious critique, ethics, philosophy, and politics. The most popular articles on this site from 2006 reflect his variety: people were most interested in pieces on the nature of atheism, why atheists don't believe in gods, the importance of religious critiques,...

Freethought Poster: It's OK Not to Believe
There aren't a lot of inspirational posters out there for skeptics, freethinkers, atheists, and other like-minded people. Is this because they don't need any inspiration? That's doubtful. It seems more likely that the standard inspirational messages often adopt a transcendent or supernatural perspective which is incompatible with the naturalistic view of the world which such people tend to have.

Godless Constitution: Constitutional Law without Gods or Religion
The Christian Right regularly claims that America is a 'Christian Nation' and was founded on Christian principles. If this is the case, then those principles should be identifiable in America's founding legal document, the Constitution. If the Constitution explicitly reflects Christian principles and doctrines, then the Christian Right is...

Atheists & Religion: Do Atheists Hate Religion? Are Atheists Anti-Religion?
There are frequent debates not only between atheists and theists, but also among atheists on the subject of religion. Why? Because there is no unanimity among atheists on religion. Different atheists believe different things about the value, nature, and future of religion and religious beliefs. It’s impossible to ascribe one overarching position...

Meaning of Life: Is there a Question to be Answered?
Religious theists like to ask about 'the meaning' of life, especially when they can insist that atheists are unable to provide any answer to this burning question. Then again, perhaps the question isn't really so burning after all. Maybe it's not a question that can be answered in the first place.

Atheists Discriminated Against in Child Custody Cases
A couple of days ago I read a blog dismissing the importance of the survey showing atheists to be the most distrusted minority in America because there isn't any practical bigotry or systemic discrimination resulting from this. I wish I could find that blog again to point the author to how atheists are discriminated against when it comes to child custody cases.

Atheists Hated More than Gays, Muslims, All Other Groups
Atheists are hated more than any other group in America. Surprised? Atheists know this very well, but a recent survey conducted by the University of Minnesota has provided new evidence of it. According to most of those surveyed, atheists fall below Muslims, gays, and every other minority group when it comes to "sharing their vision of American society."

Purpose and Meaning in Life
It's common for religious theists to argue that only theistic religion (and preferably their theistic religion) can provide meaning and purpose in life. Irreligious atheists can't possibly have meaning or purpose in their lives. Why does this belief exist? It seems likely that it's founded on the premise that this life can't be very meaningful in and of itself.

Holocaust Denial, Atheism, and Atheists in America
I've written before about Larry Darby, his obsession with Jews, and his involvement with notorious Holocaust Denier David Irving (perhaps Holocaust Apologist would be more accurate, just as he is an apologist for Nazism). I've refrained from calling Larry Darby a Holocaust Denier, but evidence indicates that he does indeed deny the historical reality of the Holocaust.

Mixed-Faith Marriages: Cruel?
Are marriages between Christians and atheists a bad idea? Some think so - including some atheists. Some Christians, however, find the idea to be positively outrageous. According to them, such a marriage is not likely to survive because of the differing religious and spiritual opinions.

Czech Republic: Most Atheist Country in Europe?
The Czech Republic may be a great place to live for atheists - even those Czechs who aren't atheist are, by and large, disdainful of organized religion. A recent poll and found that only 33.6% of Czechs belong to a religion and only 11.7% attend services once a month or more. That's the lowest rate for any country in Europe aside from Estonia.

Can Atheists Teach Philosophy of Religion?
There is nothing to bar an atheist from teaching the philosophy of religion - indeed, in some places this may be the norm rather than the exception. On the other hand, we would never find a person teaching aesthetics if they denied the existence of aesthetics - that is, if they denied there was anything about art that differentiated it from other cultural artifacts. Is this difference justified?

Atheists Hated Because they Represent Doubt?
Quite a few atheists in America are only willing to 'come out' and admit their atheism when online - and anonymously. They aren't able to publicly acknowledge their atheism to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors because they fear the repercussions. Why? What possible reason could Christians have for making atheists afraid of being honest?

Where are the Atheists?
There are a lot more atheists in the world than many in America seem to realize; it's just that America isn't one of the nations where atheism is common enough. Other nations have far more atheists, at least as a percentage of their total population, than the United States does.

Suffering and God: Human Experience is an Argument for Atheism
One of the most significant theological problems for most traditional monotheistic religions is the experience of suffering: if there is a god which is perfectly good and all-powerful, why is there so much human suffering? Even if it could be argued that suffering is unavoidable, it's harder to argue that the amount of suffering that does exist is unavoidable...

Atheism is Not a Religion
It seems to be getting more common to find theists - usually Christians - insisting that atheism is a religion. This assertion isn't compatible with standard definitions of either atheism or religion. No one looked up the two terms in a dictionary and made a casual connection between them; in fact, it's arguable that insisting on a connection does violence to both concepts.

Atheists on Souls and Heaven
Atheists don't believe in any gods, but can a person be an atheist and still believe in a soul or a heaven of some sort? I've encountered a number of people who don't believe in any gods, but nevertheless believe in things that qualify as ghosts, spirits, afterlife, reincarnation, etc. Sometimes this is part of an organized belief system, like Buddhism...

Uncertainty vs. Doubt: Criticism and Skepticism as Rebellion
Are you uncertain about the existence of God? Do you doubt the existence of God? Most people would probably regard the two states as being identical, or at least identical in all of the essentials, but that would be inaccurate. Uncertainty and doubt are surely related, but if we look closely at them we find that they are quite different in the underlying attitudes

Evaluating Theistic Claims: Defending & Supporting God as Explanation
Can atheists explain why the universe and life exist? Maybe, maybe not - there are possible and at least partial explanations, but not ones which theists tend to accept. Theists think that they have a superior explanation - their god - and criticize atheists for not offering something better. The problem is, there are no good reasons for accepting the theistic explanation.

Bertrand Russell on Agnosticism and Atheism
Are you an agnostic or an atheist? This is a question which faces many nonbelievers. Too often, this question is predicated upon a misunderstanding of both terms - many people imagine that agnostics sit on the fence about whether gods exist or not while atheists deny their existence.

Taking Beliefs Seriously: Why Reason and Argument are Necessary
What does it mean to say that you believe something? It means that you accept a proposition as true. But so what? Who cares what you think is true or not? No one cares, necessarily, unless you can provide good reasons to think that it is true - reasons which, therefore, become reasons why others should think it is true. Without such reasons, statements of belief are meaningless.

Why Not Believe? Reasons Why Atheists Don't Believe in Gods
Atheists are often asked 'why don't you believe in God?' Well, there are many reasons why atheists might not believe in any gods. In fact, most atheists can probably cite multiple reasons and every atheist is different. But here are some of the most common reasons why atheists don't believe in any gods.

Atheism 101: Introduction to Atheism & Atheists; Answers to Questions & Mistakes
I see a lot of misunderstandings and errors about atheism and atheists all over the net. People don't understand what atheism is, what the definition of atheism is, or the difference between atheism and agnosticism. People claim that atheism is a religion, that it requires faith, that it's a form of denial, that there are no real atheists, and...

Overview of Atheism: What is Atheism? What isn't Atheism?
It is strange that atheism would be so difficult to understand, but it must be - otherwise, there wouldn't be so many arguments over what it means, what it entails, and what significance it has for society. The same questions and same arguments keep coming up over and over again: what is atheism? What is theism? What is the difference between...

Passive vs. Aggressive Atheism: Which Path is Best?
Different atheists have different attitudes towards their atheism and the theism of others. One difference which has persisted for a long time is whether to attack theistic religion aggressively or to adopt a more conciliatory stance - an atheism which is critical, but doesn't go out of its way to criticize.

Who Are the Atheists? What Does Being an Atheist Mean? Overview of What...
There are a lot of misunderstandings about who atheists are, what they believe, and what they don't believe. People become atheists for many different reasons. Being an atheist isn't a choice or act of will - like theism, it's a consequence of what one knows and how one reasons. Atheists are not all angry, they aren't in denial about gods, and...

Credibility of Atheism: Threat to Religious Belief
"To say that atheism is credible is to suggest that the atheist may be right; to say that the atheist may be right is to suggest that the Christian may be wrong; to say that the Christian may be wrong is suggest that faith may be an unreliable guide to knowledge..."

American Anti-Communism and Opposition to Atheism
The extreme hostility towards atheists in America can probably be traced to two related factors: America's view of itself as a religious nation entrusted with a special mission from God and America's fight against communism in the Cold War. These two combined to portray atheists as a godless enemy, a fifth column either for Satan or for totalitarian communism.

Chickens, Eggs, and the Meaning of Life
It's common for religious theists to wonder how atheists can have any meaning or purpose in their lives without belief in some sort of god. Atheists, in turn, fail to see why any gods would be necessary for meaning and purpose in life. It's difficult for atheists to convey this because for theists, their god is so fundamentally important.

Infants and Uninformed Children are Atheists
Do infants and very young children qualify as atheists? Most atheists will say so, working from the definition of atheism as "lacking belief in gods." Theists tend to reject this definition, even if they don't use the narrow definition of atheism as "denial of gods." Why? If infants lack belief in the existence of gods, they can't be theists - so why not atheists?

Pleasures of Atheism: Why Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics Find Joy in a Godless Existence
It's impossible to count how many times atheists, agnostics, secularists and freethinkers are told by religious folks of various faiths that we will regret our 'godless' or 'sinful' life sooner or later. I can honestly say I haven't had any regrets for my decision to trade in what I perceived to be the miseries of traditional Catholicism for the pleasures of freethinking.

Myths about Atheism
There are numerous misconceptions about what atheism entails and who atheists are - not at all unsurprising, since even the basic definition of atheism is so misunderstood at times. Because we find people making these mistakes and assumptions in the forum, in the chat room and even in private email, it is important to address them and explain where they err.

Questions About Atheism & Atheists
Theists often have a lot of basic questions about the nature of atheism and about atheists themselves. This resource will address questions from both atheists and theists; the commonality is that everything here deals with atheism: what atheism is, what atheism is not, what atheism is all about, what atheists believe, how atheists and theists can relate, etc.

Definition of Atheism: Dictionaries, Atheists, Freethinkers
What is the definition of atheism? How do atheists define atheism? How do dictionaries, standard and online, define atheism? There is some disagreement about the definition of atheism and it is interesting to note that most of that disagreement comes from theists - atheists themselves tend to agree on what atheism means.

Atheism FAQ
What is atheism? Is it a religion? What is the difference between atheism and agnosticism? Atheism is often misunderstood and even vilified. A better understanding of atheism, however, reveals that many of the attacks made upon it are based upon errors and mistaken assumptions.

Recently Reviewed Books on Atheism
Atheism is often misunderstood and sometimes reviled - but it deserves neither. There aren't a great number of books which really do a good job at explaining what it is and help people to understand what it is about.

Belief and Choice
Is belief really just a matter of choice? A lot of arguments from Christians seem to assume that it is - they tell atheists that they have "chosen" not to believe in God and that they must now "choose" to be a Christian. But what if belief (and therefore disbelief) really aren't "choices" after all?

Atheist Differences: The Wide Variety of Differences Among Atheists
Being an atheist means nothing more or less than simply not believing in the existence of any gods. It doesn't imply any opinions on any political, economic, social, philosophical, artistic, or even religious subjects. On every other matter, atheists can disagree — and even on the subject of disbelieving in gods, atheists can disagree on their...

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