Atheism is the belief that there is no such thing as a deity (or deities); it is the opposite of theism. Some definitions of atheism allow for the possibilities that an atheist simply has no opinion on the existence of deities, or believes the existence of deities to be something humans cannot know, but these latter usages are more often called agnosticism.
For the purposes of discussion within Issuepedia, our working definition will be that atheism is the belief that the existence of any being generally matching God's description is at best unlikely, and that there is no evidence that belief in such a being is in any way necessary. This definition encompasses both atheism and agnosticism.
Arguments and Opinions
Theists often ask atheists to defend their non-belief, which is silly; people are not normally required to explain their disbelief in things which cannot be proven either way. The only necessary response to "Why don't you believe in God?" is "Why should I?".
- 2006-11-16 Why Are Atheists So Angry?: this is actually the first part of a well-written multi-round dialogue between atheist Sam Harris and believer Dennis Prager. Unfortunately, Prager's responses seem to be mostly diversionary, including an ad hominem attack on Bertrand Russell [W] which does nothing to answer Harris's posing of Russell's celestial teapot [W] analogy. He does seem to get more real about the dialogue towards the end, however.
- Most religion supposes the existence of one or more gods (theism), and hence is diametrically opposed to atheism.
- Atheism and religion often come into conflict, for obvious reasons.