A good explanation of a distinction that deserves to be highlighted.
When encountering claims like “atheists believe x” or “an atheist would say y” I often find myself unable to resist the urge to add my view to the discussion. This generally involves pointing out that atheism is an absence of belief in gods. Responses vary from “you’re a God denier” to “believing there’s no God is the same as not believing God exists”. It seems that although I’m trying to be clear about my view of what an atheist is I could be clearer.
I’d like to start with two quite different definitions of the word “atheist”.
“…a person who believes there is no God.”
“A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods”
To some people these definitions are for all intents and purposes the same but they’re in fact quite distinct. One difference is the notion of lacking belief. I prefer the word “absence” over…
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