[A privative term derived from Greek theos: god.]

  1. (metaphysics) Atheism is an active disbelief in the existence of gods, deities, and supernatural powers; in this respect it is similar to secularism and opposed to any variety of theism. Atheism is to be contrasted with agnosticism, which takes a skeptical attitude toward the existence of gods but does not proclaim disbelief. Although atheistic doctrines are most notorious in their more militant (really anti-theistic) forms, other philosophies instead take the existence or role of gods to be irrelevant in human life and ethics and thus could be termed nontheistic (examples include Epicureanism and the Samkhya school of Hinduism). Popularly, atheism is often taken to imply a lack of any ideals or values whatsoever (nearly equivalent to immoralism), but this connotation rests on an assumption that religion is the only foundation for values (thus ignoring the possibility of ethical naturalism).

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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