Opinion Question
Posted by: MrJosh

Atheism is an ism

  From Greek: A is without; theos is god. Atheism is not "I don't know," that's agnosticism (again, Greek: A is still without; gnostos is knowledge). Atheists affirmatively say there is not a god (or God, depending on your opinions about capitalization, or gods if you are Hindu). It is one among the many isms that proclaims to affirmatively know the answer and, as such, bears the burden of proving that answer is the correct "one" among the, literally, infinite number of possible answers. Not much different from saying "there is one answer and it is the Flying Spaghetti Monster" in my book.
Skeptikitten says2013-07-03T18:34:56.703
Agnosticism isn't "I don't know". It's not a position on belief but knowledge- agnostics are also theists or atheists depending on the person. It's actually more "we CAN'T know with certainty"- this does not preclude belief.

Atheism is the opposite of the "ism". There are no beliefs or philosophies involved. Around 90% of atheists are also agnostics. We make no claims- we simply reject the claims of theists as unsupported by evidence. Atheism is not "there are definitely no gods". It is "there is no reason to believe any gods exist".
Mookt says2013-07-11T20:28:17.587
I disagree, semantically at least, although I have a feeling we come from a similar place philosophically.

Agnosticism is a professed lack of knowledge. That is the literal meaning of the word. You can't be a theist and an agnostic because theism is premised on the acceptance of the deity without the ability to know the nature of its existence. Technically not mutually exclusive, but functionally so.

Atheism, as you are describing it, is actually agnosticism. The claim that 'I won't accept your unfounded assertion regarding your particular spaghetti monster' without proof is not literal atheism, which required an affirmative claim that there is no divinity.
Skeptikitten says2013-07-12T02:16:33.897
Incorrect- agnosticism as a position on knowledge has nothing to do with what one actually BELIEVES. A great many theists admit they don't think the existence of a god can be proven but believe in one anyway.

"Literal atheism" is NOT an affirmative claim of no deities. You are referring to gnostic atheism, which is actually quite rare. Again, agnosticism has nothing to do with belief whatsoever but knowledge.

Atheism is indeed JUST the lack of belief in gods. From "a" meaning "without" and "theos" meaning gods. Substitute any other supernatural concept but god and you would see the truth of this. A person who states that they do not believe in a Santa because there is no evidence is an aSantaist, not agnostic on the topic of Santa.
Mookt says2013-07-12T16:03:12.547
It's silly to be getting into a fight over definitions. If you want to define atheism that way, go for it. Einstein's description of why he considered himself an agnostic rather than an atheist pretty much sums up my view:

"You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."
Skeptikitten says2013-07-13T02:19:18.947
And since when is a physicist an expert on religion?
Maahi says2013-07-13T07:14:56.627
You say that,because atheist doesn't believe that God exists,he/she carries the burden of proof.But the same can be said for theist too.They believe that God exists,can they prove it? Just because,it was written down in some books ages ago,that doesn't prove that it all just can't be myths or fiction.
Magic8000 says2013-07-22T04:59:41.787
So agnostics are not without god?
Skeptikitten says2013-07-23T02:16:31.143
Agnostics just think it is impossible to prove whether a god exists or that the question is inherently unknowable. This has nothing to do with whether they believe in a god or not- agnostics are also theists or atheists, depending on whether they believe.
DevinG says2015-10-29T09:12:27.483
Atheism is absence of belief, not belief in absence.
Since nothing is believed or asserted, no proof is needed. Any rational person is agnostic. There is no proof of a god, and no proof can exist to disprove a god. The only rational response would be agnosticism. In fact, anyone can be agnostic. It is a statement of knowledge, not belief. For a while I was a Christian agnostic. I believed in the Christian god, but I knew there was no proof. Now I am an agnostic atheist. Monotheists, polytheists and atheists can all be agnostic.

Atheists make no affirmative statement of belief, and have nothing to prove. Someone who believes in the absence of a god would carry the burden of proof, but such a position is so ridiculous there isn't even a word for it, as far as I am aware.
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