What is an atheist? June 1, 2007Posted by Joe in agnosticism, atheism, freethought, god, immorality, nihilism, religion, skepticism, theism.
An atheist is nothing less and nothing more than a person who has no belief in god. It is not an actual belief in itself, but merely describes the lack of belief in any of the god or gods.
Despite this simplicity, it is a term often misunderstood by believers. Some believers seem to equate it with nihilism, belief in nothing, satanism, anti-religion, god-hating, evil, immorality, etc… Any given atheist may be any or none of these things. I and most of the atheists I know are none of them. Atheism does not imply any particular political beliefs, or any stance on any particular social issues. On many issues there are more atheists on one side or the other, but there is rarely an issue where they all agree.
One of the most common responses when a believer hears someone state that they are an atheist is something along the lines of “You don’t believe in anything?” I assure you this is not what atheism means.
I am tempted to go on about all the things that atheists believe in to counter this claim, but I don’t want to mislead you. I don’t know what atheists believe (regarding anything other than god) anymore than I know what a chef believes. There is only one thing that all atheists have in common.