atheists are those "without any deity." This label
is formed from the Greek theos meaning "god" and
the prefix a meaning "without." Atheists
live without a god-belief.
ancient times when Jupiter, Juno, and their assorted cadre were the
dominant religion and monotheism was making inroads in the Roman Empire,
it was the Christians who were called "the atheists"
because they were "without the (Roman) gods."
Characterization of the atheist as someone who is
seeking to prove there is no God is ill suited to contemporary atheism.
Atheists today are not concerned with disproving the claim that "God
is." Rather, they say that, because there is no proof of God’s
existence and no way to prove that God exists, we are therefore
"without God" or "without a god."
They point out that the burden of proof concerning the existence of God
(or any gods) rests not upon them, but upon those who make the claim
that a supernatural being exists.
A vast majority of atheists today operate from a notion
of probability. They do not declare that a god is impossible, but
they regard the probability as exceedingly slight. Over thousands
of years verifiable proofs of the existence of a god (or of any
supernatural entities) have been lacking, so atheists deem it highly
unlikely that they will encounter a valid proof within their
Atheists include secularists and naturalists,
who base their attitudes, their thinking and their conclusions on
scientific explanations of nature and whose life commitment is to the
world of the human without acceptance of supernaturalism. The materialists
represent another form of atheism. (Materialism in this sense is
not to be confused with the different connotation for the term in
popular speech—a desire for material things). The following chart briefly
outlines the thinking behind these forms of atheism.
Philosophical Variants of Atheism (without a
||Focus is on secular issues, in
particular on human well-being, using scientific outlook and no
acceptance of supernaturalism in any form
||recognizes and stresses the
affinity of the human and nature, viewing humans as a product of
nature not above or apart from it; rejects dualism (body and
sout) and any belief in an afterlife; having no doubt that
inasmuch as there are no non-natural objects, events or causes,
all objects and events are to be accounted for scientifically
and explained in terms of natural causes
||philosophy that physical matter in
its modifications and movements is the only reality--all
processes and phenomena (everything) in the universe are to be
explained in terms of physical laws and as resulting from