I’m sick of people misrepresenting what the word “atheism” really means, so I’m going to spell it out here and refer back everytime someone spouts nonsense about what atheism is. It bothers me to no end when people say that atheists believe this and that, because “atheism” doesn’t describe what beliefs someone has, all it says about someone is what beliefs they don’t have.
Theism = The belief in a god or gods
And just like apolitical means without political association, asexual means without sex, or asymmetrical means without symmetry…
Atheism = Without the belief in a god or gods
That’s it! If you ask someone: “do you believe in god?” and they say: “no”, they’re an atheist, simple as that.
Oh, FYI, saying “I don’t believe in ___” is not the same as saying ”I believe ___ can’t/couldn’t exist”. Got it?
Being an atheist just means that you don’t believe in any gods. People who describe themselves as atheists can believe in ghosts, goblins, hell, heaven, unicorns, psychics, leprechauns, Santa Claus, they can believe the Earth is flat or there are aliens living on Venus, they can be tyrants or saints, they can be any type of person you can imagine, as long as they don’t believe in any gods.
All you can deduce when someone tells you they’re an atheist is that they don’t have any god beliefs.
One more thing: there’s no need to bring the word “agnostic” into this definition. Theism/Atheism is a true dichotomy, meaning if you’re not a theist you’re an atheist. There’s no need to pretend that “agnostic” is a middle ground (it’s not, gnostic/agnostic deal in knowledge, where as theism/atheism deal specifically in god belief), because atheism is a spectrum from the people who don’t really believe in god but would be easily convinced, to the people who assert that there’s no such thing as god and it’s not possible for a god to exist.
Really, the only important parts of this whole post are the bolded parts, the rest is just me imagining to possible objections to my definition. If you object to the bolded parts I’ll be doing this:
Likely followed shortly by this: