Atheism

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.

The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshipped by the larger society. With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. The first individuals to identify themselves using the word "atheist" lived in the 18th century.

Arguments for atheism range from the philosophical to social and historical approaches. Rationales for not believing in any supernatural deity include the lack of empirical evidence, the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, and the argument from nonbelief. Although some atheists have adopted secular philosophies, there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere. Many atheists hold that atheism is a more parsimonious worldview than theism, and therefore the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of God, but on the theist to provide a rationale for theism.

Atheism is accepted within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Raelism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods, whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but some schools view the path of an atheist to be difficult to follow in matters of spirituality.

Since conceptions of atheism vary, determining how many atheists exist in the world today is difficult. According to one estimate, atheists make up about 2.3% of the world's population, while a further 11.9% are nonreligious. According to another, rates of self-reported atheism are among the highest in Western nations, again to varying degrees: United States (4%), Italy (7%), Spain (11%), Great Britain (17%), Germany (20%), and France (32%). According to a 2009 report by the American Religious Identification Survey, people claiming to adhere to "no religion" made up 15% of the population in the US.

Read more about Atheism:  Definitions and Distinctions, Concepts, Atheist Philosophies, Etymology, History, Demographics

Other articles related to "atheism":

Lists Of Atheists
... Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities ... In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities ... Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist ...
Agnostic Atheism
... Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism ...
Christianity In The Soviet Union - 1964–1970s
... They came to a general conclusion that it had failed in spreading atheism, and that it had only antagonized believers as well as pushed them underground, where they were more dangerous to the state ... The two main anti-religious serials, Yearbook of the Museum of History of Religion and Atheism and Problems of History of Religion and Atheism soon ceased publication ... The principle of persecuting religion in order to spread atheism did not disappear, however, even if the methodology was re-examined after Khrushchev ...
List Of Atheists In Film, Radio, Television And Theater
... Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities ... In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities ... Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist ...
Atheism - Demographics
... Respondents to religious-belief polls may define "atheism" differently or draw different distinctions between atheism, non-religious beliefs, and non-theistic religious and spiritual beliefs ... The lowest rates of atheism were in the United States at only 4%, while the rates of atheism in the European countries surveyed were considerably higher Italy (7 ... was a 1% to 5% increase in self-reported atheism from 2005 to 2012, and a larger drop in those who self-identified as "religious", down by 13%, from 73% to 60% ...

Famous quotes containing the word atheism:

    The form of act or thought mattered nothing. The hymns of David, the plays of Shakespeare, the metaphysics of Descartes, the crimes of Borgia, the virtues of Antonine, the atheism of yesterday and the materialism of to-day, were all emanation of divine thought, doing their appointed work. It was the duty of the church to deal with them all, not as though they existed through a power hostile to the deity, but as instruments of the deity to work out his unrevealed ends.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838–1918)

    We find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in the practical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor. We often encounter these forms of atheism among those who are formally Christians.
    Nicolai A. Berdyaev (1874–1948)

    He talks about the Scylla of Atheism and the Charybdis of Christianity—a state of mind which, by the way, is not conducive to bold navigation.
    Norman Douglas (1868–1952)