I decribe myself as an (agnostic) atheist but what exactly is an atheist? Of course, what I am really asking is What is a god? I don't rule out the possibility of a being with superior abilities even of one who caused the Earth to come into being so the question remains: am I an atheist?

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"Why would that be a certainty?"

As I've said here many times in the past, "philosophical certainty" is an oxymoron. 

"he asks how do we actually define the word god"

If NOTHING else, God must be supernatural.

I don't think that is true, Mike.  I haven't ruled out the existence of deities, but I am an atheist.  I just don't believe in any deity.  That's all it takes, IMO.  There are "strong" atheists, who assert that there definitely are no gods, and "weak" atheists, who say they simply do not believe in any but do not claim that there are none. 

Many of us are also agnostic, which I think I am also.  Agnostics can be weak or strong too, claiming that they themselves don't have knowledge of the existence of any gods, or that nobody can know definitively that any gods exist, respectively. 

THIS.  Agnostic atheists don't necessarily rule out the possibility of a god, higher power, or powerful being, they just find it improbable (to varying degrees), and thus typically choose to live life as though this being did not exist.  If you think it might exist but it is of no consequence in your life, then I'd say you're functionally an agnostic atheist - pretty sure I know many self-proclaimed theists and agnostics who also fall in this category :).

When I spoke of a being capable of bringing the Earth into existence, I meant a being who is capable of harnessing physical forces in order to turn pre-existing matter and energy into a planetary body orbiting a sufficiently young sun at the right distance to be (eventually) life-sustaining; how is that supernatural? It's true that humankind are not capable of  such feats but we may someday be

"how is that supernatural?"

Oh dear,oh dear.

When I spoke of a being capable of bringing the Earth into existence, I meant a being who is capable of harnessing physical forces in order to turn pre-existing matter and energy into a planetary body orbiting a sufficiently young sun at the right distance to be (eventually) life-sustaining; how is that supernatural?

Maybe human consciousness was brought into existence by a being capable of harnessing physical forces to alter the brains of ancient habile hominids.

To anyone making such claims-- super-aliens made the earth, the monolith inspired the human mind, God made the universe, gnomes make really great cappuccino--  I say: let's see your evidence.

I'm open to new evidence that will change my mind, however unlikely I think the claimant will be to produce that evidence, so I can't rule things out with absolute certainty. But I can think some claims are laughably improbable. Until I see the evidence, I don't believe it. As Carl Sagan once said: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

If you're seriously asking: what is God? Most folks think of God as the supernatural God of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: the all-powerful, all-knowing God who originated and controls the universe, listens to prayers, performs miracles, reigns over the afterlife, and is the ultimate source of morality. But there a minority who call God something else, for example, there is Spinoza's God, the sum total of the natural laws of the universe.

Does that make you an atheist? You tell me, Mike. Redefine God as a non-supernatural being who builds planets, or as a pepperoni pizza, and you've changed the most common understanding of God enough to render the question virtually meaningless.

@Gallup - Ah for the days when special effects were special. I haven't seen 2001 in FAR too long. One of my favourites.

I am making no such claims: I don't believe in the Judeo-Christian God which makes me as the Irish comedian Dave Allen pointed out "a Christian atheist". What I am really trying to elucidate is in what sense does that make me a generic atheist since there may be religions I have not heard of!

If you don't believe in a deity, whether or not you've been exposed to information about that deity, I believe you are an atheist because you are, literally, without belief in a deity. 

That sounds right to me. If you've never heard of the pepperoni pizza god (or have heard but don't believe) you're an a-pepperoni-ist.

There just isn't a unique word for each god or supernatural thing you don't believe in. It seems the one term covers it all, but even that is one term too many.

I just love to hear him speak.  

If we build houses, does that make us gods to the mice that live in them?

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