Definitions of Atheism

Atheism. The term atheism is employed in a variety of ways. For the purpose of the present survey atheism is the doctrine that God does not exist, that belief in the existence of God is a false belief. The word God here refers to a divine being regarded as the independent creator of the world, a being superlatively powerful, wise, and good. The focus of the present study is on atheism occurring within a context of thought normally called "religious." ...

Contemporary ethnographic research supports the view that a belief in a supreme creator is, at least, a pervasive feature of the religion of many primitive peoples, although new attention to the question of a "godless people" has been evoked by the recent discovery of a "stone age" people known as the Tasaday in the highlands of the Philippines. The complete absence of the idea of God would not qualify as atheism as I have defined it, but the role of the supreme being among primitive peoples is instructive for an understanding of religious forms of atheism as they occur under other cultural conditions. ...

The first step toward religious atheism occurs in the context of religious thought in which a variety of beings, each believed to be supreme, or in which a variety of conceptions of the supreme being, appear concurrently and compete. 479-480

George Alfred James, North Texas State University, "Atheism," in the
Encyclopedia of religion Mircea Eliade, editor (MacMillan: New York 1987)

atheism from the greek a-: not, and theos: god ... not-god.
Belief which is not theism.
Existence/life without god.
A monism asserting that the universe is undifferentiated
into spiritual and physical beings, and does not postulate god/s.

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created 1jun1996, revised 20mar98     |     comments on this site? tpkunesh@atheisms.info