Lars if I may tweak one thing in that well stated point.
"this god phenomenon has existed thousands of years before ABRAHAM, the father of Judaism, Islam and Christianity." So before there was even a patriarch to all modern religions... may hit the point home a little harder that there were gods for thousands of years before there was even a prophet who fathered the other prophets.
I find it rather insulting for a Christian to be calling us out on our use of the word atheism. They raped the mythologies of nearly every major civilisation in history. They have been smacking humanity in the face with their plagarised fantasy for the last 2000 years.
And yet they have apalling arrogance to pick on us because we interpret a word differently to them?
We're not denying history, Fred - we're forging a path. And we're taking our word with us :)
The one problem I see with that particular piece discussing the definition of "atheism" is that the two definitions they have put forth for "disbelief" is " refusal to believe" and "refusal to believe something that is true". The discussion regarding the meaning of "atheism" is then partially predicated upon this definition of "disbelief". There is an entire list of definitions for "atheism" but only two for "disbelief" and both are biased to theist thinking.
The Oxford English reference defines "disbelieve" as "1) unable or unwilling to believe (a person or statement) 2) have no faith." This definition does not suggest that the person is unwilling to believe something that is true, just that they do not believe. It is a little disingenuous for the writer to use definitions that support a position of belief.
Thanks for the history lesson. :-) To be honest I have only recently become an atheist and am not familiar with in depth history of atheism, though I find it interesting. I would have defined myself at first as having a refusal to believe because the god I was raised to believe in is an asshole and now I would just say there is no evidence that I can discern that gives me cause to believe, therefore I refrain from believing. (I think I always felt that way deep inside as faith was always a problem for me.) I do not state that god does not exist just that I have no knowledge of the existence of one. So I think maybe we are a mixed bag...as many types of atheists as there are theists.
Organizing as a group/ or groups frightens me a bit as I can see it becoming as indoctrinated as theist religions with insistence upon fitting into a certain definition.
I have no issues with being true to our roots, to be anything but would be reflective of the hypocritical nature typical of religion and theism.
Well they are correct in that if one makes the statement "There is no God" then the burden of proof lies with the person making that statement. How do they know this (as opposed to why do they believe this)?
It is worth noting, however, that it may not actually be modern atheists who are misusing the word. If we accept the old Greek definition ("without gods") then it was the 18th century philosophers who redefined it to mean "there are no gods". In that context I would think that the conservapedia author(s) are guilty of some form of equivocation.
In the larger picture though, this issue with whatever word we use to describe ourselves is an attempt to paint us as an intellectually inferior 'other' whilst deflecting criticism of the problems with their 'proof'. They are trying to put us in a corner where our opinions should not be taken seriously because we don't even know what an atheist really is. Whether our definition of the word is historically accurate or not is quite beside the point.
Even so, I really have no problem with being called agnostic rather than atheist. It certainly does not change my actual views on the subject, nor does it lend any kind of credibility whatsoever to the notion of a god's existence - despite what the apologists might hope for.
Where's their evidence against allah? against vishnu? not to mention zeus, woden, thor, wakan tanka?
Where is ANY of their evidence supporting one of these theistic beliefs over the others?
The assertions of any of these are as weak as the others. They need to put up or shut up and deal with these competing and contradictory god proposals first before they worry about others who only disbelieve in ONE more god than they do.
I think it could be an effective (although a bit devious) tactic to defend atheism in opposition to Hinduism when debating with Christian theists. The trick is you should never treat this religion as a specific one - i.e., always say "religion" instead of "Hinduism", "God" instead of "Brahman/Brahmā", quote the Vedas, Upanishads or Bhagavad Gītā instead of the Bible (there are inconsistencies enough in these sacred texts to make a case for atheism too.) Don't let them divert you onto biblical grounds. If they insist, just tell them you see no good reason to consider their upstart, newcomer Yahveh more worthy of consideration than the more venerable Brahman/Brahmā. If you don't make them flee away, you have a small chance to instill doubt in their minds, when they realize that their Christian religion is not THE natural antithesis to atheism.