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Defining "Atheism;"
How non-Atheists View Atheists;
And Other Topics Discussed here.

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Definitions of "Atheist:"

There is a conflict over the meaning of this term:


Many dictionaries and most non-Atheists define "Atheist" as a person who actively denies the existence of any Gods, Goddess, Satan, angels, demons, or other supernatural living entities. For example, the online Merriam- Webster dictionary defines Atheism as:

"Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial."

bullet Many, perhaps most, people who identify themselves as Atheists do not actively deny God's existence. They simply have no concept of any living supernatural beings. They conclude that the existence of God can be neither proved nor disproved, just as the existence of invisible pink unicorns (IPU) and the flying spaghetti monster (FSM) cannot be proved or disproved.

bullet Atheists who actively deny the existence of God are generally called "strong Atheists."

Some religious conservatives attack all Atheists for having no belief in God or for actively denying God's existence. Yet Atheists are generally quite open to any proof that supernatural entities do or do not exist. They are currently unaware of any such proof. They do acknowledge that many Christians and other theists are totally convinced of the existence of a version of God as described by their faith group within their religion. However, Atheists generally need strong evidence before believing in something -- particularly belief in a life form with abilities infinitely advanced compared to humans.

Most Atheists probably agree with:

  • The French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827) who stated: "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness."

  • Marcello Truzzi (1935-2003), a founding member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, stated "An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof."

  • Carl Sagan (1934-1996). an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences, stated: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

One method of proving the existence of God has been suggested by the author of this menu: Since God is normally considered to be onmiscient (all-knowing) then he could prepare a list of the next dozen strong earthquakes that will occurr in the world, including their location, depth, date, hour, and minute. Since God is omnibeneficient (all-loving) he might be willing to prepare such a list because it would save countless lives. However, it would require God to be interested in proving his existence to humanity. Meanwhile, an accurate list would be totally beyond the current abilities of humans.

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Articles in this section:


Results of public opinion polls

bulletBeliefs by some conservative Protestants:

bullet Atheists really believe in God, but are lying: Argument from design; written on their conscience.
bullet Why Atheists reject God. What Atheists allegedly fear

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The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Paul Fidalgo, "Gallup: Record number of Americans would vote for an atheist president," CNN, 2015-JUN-15, 58 15at:
  2. Frank Newport, Americans Today Much More Accepting of a Woman, Black, Catholic, or Jew As President. Still Reluctant to Vote for Atheists or Homosexuals," Gallup, 1999-MAR-29, at:
  3. Jeffrey M. Jones, "Some Americans Reluctant to Vote for Mormon, 72-Year-Old Presidential Candidates ..." Gallup, 2007-FEB-20, at:
  4. Jeffrey M. Jones, "Atheists, Muslims See Most Bias as Presidential Candidates. Two-thirds would vote for gay or lesbian," Gallup, 2012-JUN-21, at:
  5. Derek Beres, "Would You Vote for a Gay or Atheist President in 2016?," Big Think, 2015-APR-20, at:
  6. Lydia Saad, "Support for Nontraditional Candidates Varies by Religion," Gallup, 2015-JUN-24, at:
  7. "Atheist And Muslim Presidential Candidates Face The Most Bias," Huffington Post, 2017-DEC-06, at:
  8. Kimberly Winston, "Arizona Democrat to replace defeated Pete Stark as sole atheist in Congress," Religion News Service, 2012-NOV-08, at:

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Copyright 1996 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-AUG-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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