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wildwood | 20:51 Tue 08th Mar 2016 | Religion & Spirituality
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I have always thought the meaning of atheism to be a lack of belief in the existence of a god that created all that is.

Since joining the R & S 'club' a couple of years ago, it has become apparent that there are quite a few people that are convinced that Atheism means anti-theism instead of a lack of belief in Theism.

How say you?


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Lack of belief might also include agnosticism.
I think you're right. I would say I'm an anti-theist and probably many of the people you're talking about are. I can't speak for them really, though.
The prefix "a" means "without" and "thei" means god AFAIU.
So by etymological definition it is the belief that there is no god.
It doesn't mean a lack of belief in gods, it means the belief that there are no gods.
There must be a reason why people believe so.
A lack of belief suggests there may be something to believe in. Atheism isn’t a lack of belief – it’s an absence of belief.

To answer the question, I would say that atheists are often also anti-theist - but not always. Some just don't think about it.
^Should be anti-theism, not anti-theist. There is a difference. ;o)
Of course it means a belief that there is no God. Lack of faith in either position is agnosticism. However it seems many agnostics like to argue in order to claim they are atheists for some reason.
I am atheist and anti-theist.
I am staggered that religion still exists.
I agree with you, quizproquo. It's staggering, isn't it?
Goodness knows why some people spend so much time being staggered that others disagree with them, but that's how AB survives.
I'm not staggered. I believe in a power greater than my own....I married her.
I'm an atheist and always most surprised at the number of atheists who spend time in R&S. A rare visit for me.
They are two different things. I make no apology for being both an atheist and anti-theistic.

Religion is one of the foundations of many of the world's problems. We will not have peace while the archaic Abrahamic doctrines persist.
Agnosticism is fence-sitting; hedging one's bets; "Oh, hi God. Yeah, I believed in you, really, just wasn't sure, for a long time. Hope the deathbed conversion is okay by you?"

Atheism is locking the gate. "God? What god?"

I'm not sure if there's a special word for bridge-burning, ex-believers; "Bye, God. It was nice knowing you, but malaria was the final straw."


Lack of belief might also include agnosticism.

Someone on The Big Questions gave a very convincing explanation of (his) agnosticism. I can't recall the details or reproduce the words so the below is only what's left after I've processed it: -

i) It is not possible to prove God exists: there is no measurable physical evidence.
ii) It is not possible to prove God does not exist, as it is impossible to prove a negative.

To a logical mind, the only realistic conclusion, arising from considering (i) and (ii) is "I don't know whether God exists", or even "I *cannot* know whether God exists".

In general, they go around, holding this view, all the time open-minded, on the lookout for miracles or other measurable signs…

Hence I think of it as non-committal, or fence-sitting, if I want to be unkind about it.

Well, that's kind of what scientists do: keep looking for new evidence (eg gravitational waves) that may help prove or disprove a theory. Maybe that's fence sitting, but it seems to me like refusing to form an opinion - either way - that you don't think is, or can ever be, founded on sufficient proof.

Don't bisexuals sometimes get the same reaction - Come on, stop trying to have it both ways, you know you're really gay/straight?
//keep looking for new evidence//

I don't know any atheist who looks for evidence of the existence of God. An agnostic might - but not an atheist.
Also, it is a three-part model:

A: A God, which exists or does not
B: The belief, which exists or does not
C: The person, who exists

Believers have A+B+C; agnostics can't make their minds up about A so they cant have B but, as soon as they do that, they've become standard believers. Atheists have C and nothing else. They *never* believe things. There is either empirical proof of something or there isn't. If there isn't, they just state "X does not exist".

Just ask Brian Cox about ghosts and see what happens. :D

I'm talking about agnostics, Naomi.

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