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atheism

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
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Francis Edward Smedley
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English

Etymology

French athéisme, from athée (atheist), from Ancient Greek ἄθεος (atheós), godless) < from ἀ- (a-), without) + θεός (theos), deity, god).

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
atheism

Plural
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atheism ({{{1}}})
  1. Absence of belief in the existence of God or gods.
  2. The belief that there are no gods, the denial of the existence of God or gods.

Usage notes

  • (Absence of belief in the existence of god or gods): Note the difference between the two senses. In general, those who identify themselves as atheists say they do not have a belief, while those who are believers identify atheists using the second sense, someone who denies the existence. This reflects the different underlying philosophies—the religious see belief, introspection, or faith as valid evidence; the non-religious do not.
  • There is a difference between not believing that a god does exist, and believing that no god exists. In one, there is an acknowledgment to the possibility of a god, and in the other, there is not. "Atheism", by itself, can mean either of these two things. More specific terms are, respectively, weak and strong atheism.

Derived terms

Related terms

See also

Translations

References

  • atheism” in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.
  • Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. 31 Aug. 2006. <Dictionary.com

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