Atheism is sometimes mistakenly described as a belief that there is no god. While this definition does accurately define some atheists, it’s not an accurate depiction of every non-believer. Instead, atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods without necessarily claiming certainty on God’s nonexistence. The distinction between these concepts is subtle but important.
The Issue of Belief
Disbelieving in something does not mean that you believe it is false; it simply means that you don’t believe it is true. For example, someone might make the claim that Ford is the best car company in the world. You may not believe that to be true, but you may also have no compelling reason to believe it isn’t true.
This is essentially the definition of agnosticism. Agnostic atheists do not believe in deities, but they also do not believe in the absence of deities. Gnostic atheists, meanwhile, do make claims that gods do not or cannot exist. Both are valid types of atheism.
Is atheism just another religion?
Atheism is not a religion. There are no holy atheist scriptures, no atheist Pope and no atheist rituals, tenets, creeds, code, authority or ceremonies. Atheists come from every possible background, race and gender. They hold a variety of beliefs and convictions, and no two atheists will have exactly the same views or ideals other than their lack of belief in any gods. Atheists may disagree on many issues.
For more information about atheism see:
- Why There Is No God: Quick Responses to 10 Common Theist Arguments
- 10 Common Misconceptions About Atheists
- Atheism vs. Agnosticism: What is the difference?
- What is God? An Objective Overview of Different Views and Ideologies
- Atheism by Country
- Discrimination against atheists
- What is the Purpose of Life?
- Where does morality come from?