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Definition of Atheism: Dictionaries, Atheists, Others Define Atheism

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. Christians in particular dispute the definition used by atheists and insist that atheism means something very different.

Belief, Disbelief, and Denial: Disbelief is Not the Same as Denial
Atheists who try to explain what atheism is and is not encounter significant hurdles created by the failure of so many people to understand basic terms like belief, disbelief, knowledge, and faith. Atheists can't expect people to truly comprehend how atheism is the absence of belief in gods if they don't understand how belief differs from...

Not Believing vs. Believing Not - The Difference Between Disbelief and Denial
Many have trouble comprehending that 'not believing X' (not believe gods exist) doesn't mean the same as 'believing not X' (believe gods do not exist). The placement of the negative is key: the first means not having the mental attitude that proposition X (gods exist) is true, the second means having the mental attitude that proposition X (gods...

Got Faith? The Connection Between Faith and Theism, Religion, Atheism
Faith is a subject of much debate not only between atheists and theists, but even among theists themselves. The nature of faith, the value of faith, and the appropriate subjects of faith - if any - are topics of intense disagreement. Atheists frequently argue that it's wrong to believe things on faith while theists argue that not only is faith...

What is Belief? What Does it Mean to Say I Believe Something is True?
Atheists are frequently challenged to explain why they are so critical of religious and theistic beliefs. Why do we care what others believe? Why don't we just leave people alone to believe what they want? Why do we try to impose our beliefs on theirs? Such questions frequently misunderstand the nature of beliefs or are even just disingenuous....

Myth: Agnosticism is the Suspension of Belief; Atheism Asserts a Belief
One popular tactic used by religious theists (usually Christians) is to confuse the differences between agnosticism and atheism in order to insist that atheists aren't 'really' atheists, but agnostics. There seems to be the hope that by misrepresenting both as two points along a continuum with theism, then atheists can be convinced that they are...

Myth: Defining Atheism as a 'Lack of Belief in God' is a Cop Out
I've written a number of articles about how religious theists, but especially Christians, try to argue against the broad definition of atheism as simply the absence of belief in gods. This myth explains why this is so important to some theists: if atheism is just the absence of belief in gods, then it's not making any claims that all atheists...

Myth: Atheists Cannot 'Lack Belief in God' After Learning About God
Christians' objections to defining atheism as simply the absence of belief in gods can extend to blatant misrepresentation of what should be a simple concept in order to divert attention from what atheism really is. In the case of this myth, we find that people will inexplicably distort the simple nature of "not believing the truth of a proposition" in order to pretend that it's not possible to merely lack belief in the truth of someone's claims. This makes the myth easy to refute.

Atheism & Naturalism: Atheists Should Focus on Naturalism & Science
Many atheists object to the labels 'atheist' and 'atheism"' for who they are and what they believe. They don't object because such labels inaccurate - they don't dispute that they don't believe in any gods. They object to the labels because they don't regard disbelief in gods as important enough to warrant its own label or any special attention....

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...

Defining Atheism as Not Worshipping Gods: Atheism Is About Worship, Not Belief?
Some have argued that rather than define atheism as the absence of belief in gods, it makes more sense to define atheism as not worshipping any gods. There are advantages and disadvantages to this idea. A principal advantage is the fact that there is no need to go through contortions when it comes to apparently "real" gods, like a tree or Caesar. A principal disadvantage is the fact that it allows for a person to be an atheist but to believe that some god exists — an apparent contradiction.

What is Atheism? Overview of How Atheism is Defined
It seems 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. Because the same questions and same arguments keep coming up over and over again, it's important to have a central resource where people...

What Is Atheism? Strong vs. Weak Atheism
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.

How Modern Dictionaries Define Atheism
What is the definition of atheism? How do atheists define atheism? How do dictionaries define atheism? A common theme throughout the definitions here is the primary use of 'disbelieve' when defining atheism. Some dictionaries drop this, but most comprehensive dictionaries do not.

Online Dictionary Definitions of Atheism
When debating atheism online, people often rely on various online dictionaries. These are references which everyone has equal access to, unlike printed dictionaries which people may not have at all or may not have immediate access to. So, what do these online sources have to say about atheism?

Definition of Atheism in Reference Books
The works cited here are all specialized reference materials designed not to provide general information for a general audience but, rather, information on specific topics like religion, sociology, or other social sciences. Their value here is in the fact that they provide insight into what scholars from different fields think of when it comes...

Definition of Atheism for Early Freethinkers
Atheists and freethinkers have defined atheism relatively consistently over the past couple of centuries. Although a few have focused solely on the sense of 'strong' atheism, many more have differentiated between 'weak' and 'strong' atheism. Included here are definitions of atheism from nonbelievers and freethinkers from the early 20th century...

Definition of Atheism for Modern Atheists
A few contemporary atheists restrict the definition of atheism to just the sense of 'strong' atheism, but most do not. Most instead point out the difference between 'weak' atheism and 'strong' atheism, arguing that the former is the broader and more commonly found form of atheism. Included here are quotes and definitions from nonbelievers from...

Definition of Atheism from Theologians
Although misunderstandings about the definition of atheism have tended to come from theists, it is also true that many theists have recognized that atheism has a broader sense than simply 'denial of the existence of gods.' Included here are quotes from a few of them.

The Scope of Atheism
The heart of the great book "Atheism: the Case Aainst God."

Are There Really No Atheists?
Some people, like theologian Greg Bahnsen, argue that atheism is impossible and that there aren't any "real" atheists. This proceeds from a misunderstanding of what atheism is and philosopher Michael Martin refute's Bahnsen's arguments.

Capitalizing Atheism - Why Atheism Shouldn't be Capitalized
One of the earliest signs that a person doesn't really understand what atheism is comes when they spell 'atheism' or 'atheist' with a capital A in the middle of a sentence. In English, this is only grammatical with proper nouns and thus this signals that the person imagines atheism to a be a proper noun - in other words, some sort of ideology or...

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