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What does “Atheism” mean?

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One of the great oddities with regards to issues pertaining to Atheism is the ongoing debates about the definition of the term “Atheism” (and thus, “Atheist” as well).

Often, individual Atheists will concoct their own definitions, demand that the definition applies to all Atheists and authoritatively demand that their definition be adhered to as the only true one.

Such is the case with the popular definition of Atheism as a mere lack of belief in god(s). Well, the Atheist author of that most unscholarly website EvilBible (see here) wrote that Atheists who define “Atheism” as such are a “few morons” who are “so damn stupid” for doing so.

Then there are Atheists such as Michael Newdow who claims that Atheism is a religion (see video here; he is the Atheist activist known for attempting to have “In God We Trust” removed from US currency).

Of course, the primary definition or rather, identification of “Atheism” is that it is an anti-Christian support group.

For details on such matters see the following:

History of Atheism

Definition of “Atheism”

Variations of Atheism

Atheisms Sects

Herein we seek to add to understanding the definition of Atheism by appealing to online, and therefore readily accessible, definitions.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

the belief that God does not exist

Merriam-Webster on Atheism:

1 archaic : UNGODLINESS, WICKEDNESS

2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

b : the doctrine that there is no deity

Merriam-Webster on Atheist

one who believes that there is no deity

Dictionary.Reference on Atheism: based on the Random House Dictionary:

1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Dictionary.Reference on Atheist:

a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

The Free Dictionary quoting The American Heritage Dictionary:

1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

The Free Dictionary also quotes Ologies & -Isms:

the absolute denial of the existence of God or any other gods.

The Free Dictionary also provides a definition based on Princeton University:

Noun 1. atheism - the doctrine or belief that there is no God

The Free Dictionary also quotes Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary:

the belief that there is no God

The fascinating thing to note is that these definitions are contradictory to the trendy definition of pop-Atheism which claims that Atheism is merely a lack of belief in god(s) and does not positively assert God’s non-existence.

Yet, academic scholarly sources do, indeed, define Atheism as such an assertion as the definitions make is clear that, to review, Atheism is the belief that God does not exist, the doctrine that there is no deity, one who believes that there is no deity, the doctrine or belief that there is no God, a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings, Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods, The doctrine that there is no God or gods, the absolute denial of the existence of God or any other gods, the doctrine or belief that there is no God, the belief that there is no God.

The issue is that (as some definitions above had as an option) for example, Dictionary.Reference also provides the World English Dictionary definition which is “a person who does not believe in God or gods.” Not believing in God is not the same as positively asserting that God does not exist.

The assertion which is clearly stated within academic scholarly definitions means that Atheism is the position of claiming to know that God does not exist.

The problem is threefold:

1) On this issue, Atheists prefer to run away from academic scholarly definitions and invent their own (or, appeal to weak aka negative aka implicit atheism).

2) The academic scholarly definitions require that Atheists provide evidence so as to prove that God does not exist.

3) Such proof would require Atheists to be omniscient (possessing all knowledge) but since omniscience is a characteristic of deity (it would identify one as a deity) then someone who is omniscient could not prove that God does not exist as via the omniscient claim, they would actually prove the existence of God namely, themselves as they are exercising a characteristic of God.

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