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Overview

atheism

Subject: Religion

The theory or belief that God does not exist. The word comes (in the late 16th century, via French) from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.

atheism

atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
284 words

...). Sometimes referred to as negative atheism or non-theism ( 1 ) , or less commonly weak or soft atheism . 2. Belief that there is no God or gods. Arguably the most popular current usage, atheism here signifies disbelief in the existence of a God or gods, and is distinguished from both theism and agnosticism. In common speech, the term is often understood to imply a degree of conviction or certainty ( see also anti-theism ). Sometimes referred to as positive atheism , or less commonly strong or hard atheism . 3. Belief in the falsity of a specific...

positive atheism

positive atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
158 words

...atheism The belief that there is no such thing as a God or gods, as opposed to a broader absence of a belief that there is ( see negative atheism ). Positive atheism is thus used to distinguish non-belief from other species of atheism , such as agnosticism and certain forms of indifference . It is pointed out that positive atheism is, in fact, a special category of negative atheism (since all those who believe there is no God are ipso facto without a belief that there is). Synonyms include hard atheism (versus soft atheism ), strong atheism...

negative atheism

negative atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
156 words

...include soft atheism (versus hard atheism ) and weak atheism (versus strong atheism). Negative atheism, like its equivalents, is almost exclusively encountered in technical writings on the definition of atheism . It is worth noting, however, that positive and negative are the preferred nomenclature in recent major reference works, such as The Cambridge Companion to Atheism and The Oxford Handbook of Atheism...

State Atheism

State Atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
121 words

...State Atheism State Atheism is the name given to the incorporation of positive atheism or non-theism into political regimes, particularly associated with Soviet systems ( see scientific atheism ). State Atheisms have tended to be as much anti-clerical and anti-religious as they are anti-theist , and typically place heavy restrictions on acts of religious organization and the practice of religion. State Atheist regimes are sometimes seen as examples of political secularism because they entail a nonreligious form of government; these regimes are even...

Atheism Plus

Atheism Plus   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
102 words

...Atheism Plus A broad (primarily online) movement of non-theists and others ‘dedicated to promoting social justice and countering misogyny, racism, homo/bi/transphobia, ableism and other such bigotry inside and outside of the atheist community’. The name is often used interchangeably with Atheism+ (which is itself sometimes abbreviated to A+). While the movement emerged explicitly in 2012—based on a suggestion by blogger Jen McCreight—it arguably crystallized a growing dissatisfaction in some quarters with mainstream non-theist culture (including the New...

New Atheism

New Atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
186 words

...New Atheism Coined by the US journalist Gary Wolf in 2006 , New Atheism is a term used to identify a cultural movement generally united by a strongly anti-theist outlook based on non-theist , rationalist claims (concerning the incompatibility of theism and reason) and/or moral objections to religious institutions (concerning their perceived illiberalism, including gender inequality and repression of members). New Atheism is also associated with the veneration of Western science, and most New Atheists are identifiable as humanists . New Atheism was...

scientific atheism

scientific atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
297 words

...scientific atheism [Russian: nauchny ateizm .] 1. Distinctive social, cultural, and ideological pro-atheist project within the Soviet Union (and elsewhere within its sphere of influence). At the theoretical level, as the official worldview of the Soviet Union, scientific atheism packaged together positive atheism with, among other things, an explicit anti-religious message (justified on the basis of historical and social-scientific studies of religion), and a commitment to the tenets of Marxism–Leninism. Its practical applications varied over...

methodological atheism

methodological atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
188 words

...methodological atheism A device used by empirical researchers, especially in sociology and other human sciences, to bracket metaphysical questions for the purposes of research and focus exclusive on naturalist explanations for religious phenomena. The approach focuses on claims about the existence and action of God(s) but is also applied to any supernatural aspects of religious phenomena, so that atheism is here a proxy for materialism . Introduced by the sociologist Peter Berger in 1967 , methodological atheism aims to be neutral towards metaphysical...

militant atheism

militant atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
144 words

...militant atheism A frequent, heavily contested term mainly associated with popular debate of the twenty-first century, and pointing to the significance of anti-theist and anti-religious strands in contemporary non-theistic movements, especially associated with New Atheism . The term also connotes proselytizing or evangelical dimensions to these movements. Nonreligious actors frequently question the extent to which ‘militancy’ can be correctly or fairly applied to activity that does not typically involve physical violence, though this critique does...

practical atheism

practical atheism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Atheism

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Religion, Philosophy
Length:
163 words

...practical atheism 1. Sometimes used to describe a type of nominal, or otherwise deficient, form of (normally Christian) religious believing and practice. The French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain, for example, described practical atheists as those ‘who believe that they believe in God (and who perhaps believe in Him in their brains) but who in reality deny His existence by each one of their deeds’ ( 1947 ). The phrase itself was popular among some leading twentieth-century theologians (e.g. Karl Barth, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac), although the general...

atheism

atheism   Quick reference

World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
82 words

... Philosophical denial of the existence of God or any supernatural or spiritual being. Early Christians were called atheists because they denied Roman religions, but the term now usually indicates the denial of Christian theism. During the 18th-century Enlightenment , David Hume , Immanuel Kant , and the Encyclopedists laid the foundations for atheism. In the 19th century, Karl Marx , Friedrich Nietzsche , and Sigmund Freud all accommodated some form of atheism into their respective philosophies. Today many individuals and groups advocate atheism. ...

atheism

atheism   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
66 words

... Either the lack of belief that there exists a god, or the belief that there exists none. Sometimes thought itself to be more dogmatic than mere agnosticism, although atheists retort that everyone is an atheist about most gods, so they merely advance one step further. http://www.pluralism.org/resources/tradition/atheism_links.php A list of internet resources on atheism http://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/existence-god-0 An audio discussion of the arguments for and against God’s...

Atheism

Atheism   Quick reference

A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Religion
Length:
132 words

... The attitude that affirms there is no God. Until the Middle Ages, when the philosophers, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, who in response to atheistic attacks sought to prove by rational argument the existence of God, theoretical atheism was unknown. When the Psalmist (Psalms 14: 1) castigates the fool for saying in his heart there is no God, he is thinking of practical atheism: that, so far as human conduct is concerned, God does not matter, that God is unconcerned about whether or not human beings practise justice and righteousness. It goes without saying...

atheism

atheism n.   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Psychology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... n. Rejection of belief in God. atheist n. One who rejects belief in God. Compare agnosticism , deism , pantheism , theism . atheistic or atheistical adj. [From Greek a - without + theos a god + - ismos indicating a state or...

atheism

atheism   Reference library

Edward Royle

The Oxford Companion to British History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
623 words

...Necessity of Atheism’. In Britain the best-known atheist, Thomas Paine ( 1737–1809 ), was in fact a deist whose Age of Reason was written to counter the progress of French atheism. As loyalist propaganda in the 1790s was directed against those radical ideas in religion and politics associated with the French Revolution, atheism became identified with lower-class subversion, though only a few radicals, such as William Godwin ( 1756–1836 ) and Jeremy Bentham ( 1748–1832 ), were actually atheists. In the 19th cent., materialistic atheism was taken up in...

atheism

atheism   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Religion
Length:
164 words

...but meaningless that they are strictly to be called atheists. Modern atheism is usually seen by its adherents as a way of safeguarding an affirmation of human freedom and people’s ability to control their own destiny. Paradoxically ‘atheism’ is regarded by some Christian theologians (e.g. J. Moltmann ) as a legitimate means of avoiding positing God as one entity among others, an infinite Being encroaching on finite...

Atheism

Atheism   Reference library

Martin E. Marty

The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...great.” He had no names to name. Positively, the almost invisible presence of atheism made it possible for more moderate and public doctrines like those of deism to escape the worst criticism. Negatively, the attacks on it left a legacy of abhorrence of atheism, which for the next two centuries has been exploitable by the enforcers of orthodoxy in church and state. Organizations devoted to propagating atheism have been few and small, but what is sometimes called “practical atheism,” in which citizens act the same way whether or not God exists has found a home...

atheism

atheism   Reference library

Robert Christopher Towneley Parker

The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
580 words

... , The Greek for atheism is ‘not to recognize (νομίζειν) the gods’ or ‘deny that the gods exist’ or, later, ‘to remove (ἀναιρεῖν) the gods’. (The old doctrine that θεοὺς νομίζειν never means to ‘believe in’ but always to ‘pay cult to’ the gods is wrong; but it is true that borderline cases exist.) The Greek word ἄθεος can be applied to atheism (Pl. Ap. 26c), but in the earliest instances it means ‘impious, vicious’ or ‘hated, abandoned by the gods’, and these senses persist along with the other; so too with ἀθεότης. Thus Christians and pagans were to...

atheism

atheism   Reference library

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3 rev. ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Religion
Length:
608 words

... (Oxford, 1992). P. Masterson , Atheism and Alienation: A Study of the Philosophical Sources of Contemporary Atheism (Dublin, 1971; Harmondsworth, 1973). M. J. Buckley , SJ, At the Origins of Modern Atheism (New Haven, Conn., and London [1987]). On the pagan attacks on the early Christians as ‘atheists’, see A. Harnack , Der Vorwurf des Atheismus in den drei ersten Jahrhunderten (TU 13/1; 1905). For a modern philosophical defence of atheism, see J. L. Mackie , The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God (Oxford, 1982)....

Atheism

Atheism   Reference library

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945)
Length:
3,197 words

...Generation ; and Toland, John .] Berman, David . History of Atheism in Britain from Hobbes to Russell . London, 1988. A book that finds atheism where the author of this article often would not, and so a book that provides an important alternative view of the problem of the history of atheism. Buckley, Michael J. , S. J. At the Origins of Modern Atheism . New Haven, Conn., 1987. A rich and deep theological and philosophical contextualization of the origins of Enlightenment (and other) atheism. Deprun, Jean , Roland Desné , and Albert Soboul . Jean...

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