I have had this discussion on other threads and I wanted to get your opinions on what most fellow Atheists consider an "Atheist".

I have always considered an "Atheist" as someone who does not believe in even the possibility of a God/Gods, an afterlife, reincarnation of any kind, energies "living on" or being "transferred to other forms" after death, ghosts/souls, and/or superstitious beliefs.

I have not considered Buddhists atheists as they still believe in "energies" and the sorts; and believe that people who say that they believe in the "possibility" of an afterlife as agnostics or the sorts - I have been an atheist for example since I was 15-16 and maybe an agnostic for a couple of years before then.

For example, I am sure that Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the likes all fit into the aforementioned definition of an "Atheist". So, what do you think?

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But aren't we then simply playing semantics? I will just wait to see what others say in this thread.

"a·the·ist  /ey-thee-ist /  
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings."


So, what if there really are extra-terrestrial "beings" that are "supremely powerful" compared to us having developed such advanced technologies that allow them to do things that we currently consider to be sci-fi?  These "aliens" would easily be looked upon as "gods" by man...especially primitive man.  Does this definition limit the "Atheist" from believing that this is a possibility? 

I think in this case you should replace the word supreme with supernatural. That sounds like a better definition to me.

If I met some aliens that were supremely powerful, I would be impressed but would assume that they achieved their supreme power through progressive technology and that their supreme power is based upon the underlying laws of the universe (i.e. they can be explained). If, on the other hand I met some aliens that were supernaturally powerful, then I would acknowledge their godlikeness.

To finally answer your question, no, atheism is not limited in any way by this definition. It is a belief which can be changed, not a fact. I hope that explains my position on this.

I'd just like to say the worst thing about not being a believer is this hang-up on definitions.

on the subject of theism, I am an atheist

on the subject of belief, I am a humanist

on the subject of the paranormal, I am a skeptic

on the subject of creation, I am a materialist

on the subject of 10D String theory verses 11D M-theory, I am agnostic

I beleive someone could believe in an afterlife and claim to be an atheist if they wanted to. I wouldn't argue with them on that (I'd have a pop at the belief in afterlife mind) but I don't know anyone like that. I do know someone who doesn't believe in god but does believe humans originated from alien invaders. I think of him as a credulous atheist

The latter is at least somewhat "plausible" and not based on unscientific superstitious beliefs (I no way believe aliens made humans) but in contrast with the belief in an afterlife is in no way "plausible".
I agree (although actually the alien believers, ther are 2 now i think about it base their views on readin Charriout of the Gods or some drivel by David Icke so not a million miles from superstitious nonsense). the afterlife is impossible to believe in if you accept consciousness relies on a functioning brain fed by sensory organs, however, ignoring how impossible it is, it is possible to believe one will live for ever without believing in a theistic god. the philosophical issue with this though is that if I were to live forever in some non-material state, I would then by some definitions be a god.
I agree with Daniel here. It is very easy to get mixed up in this world of definitions and sometimes doing that can make it harder for people to understand themselves because they start to question their own definitions of what atheism means. I think it is generally accepted, that an atheist is someone who lacks a belief in a god or gods. The certainty of this non-belief can be different for each person, but simply speaking, atheism, as the word's entomology tells us, is the opposite of the belief in a theistic god.

Thanks Robert.


I think the best way to define what it means to be an atheist today is to read the god delusion. The reaons Sassan does not accept I am an atheist is because I leave room for doubt which is a rational viewpoint. To say I am in no doubt there is no god crosses the line into a faith-based position. InTGD Richard Dawkins refers to an athesitic scale of 1-7 1-definitely is god, 7-definitely isn't and puts himself as a 6.5


this has attracted criticism from people saying he can't be a real atheist but he is simply pointing out that in order to be a scientist you must always leave room for doubt even if you don't actualy harbour any doubt. Sassan's definition of atheism is dogmatic rather than rational. his assertion that Cristopher Hitchens would agree with him rather than me is one of ego-centricity which is in itself a risk that comes with dogmatic belief

I think you are misconstruing Richard Dawkins' position in "God Delusion". I think he was simply stating as an atheist you can't "disprove" a God just like you can't "disprove" the Spaghetti Monster or any other metaphysical claim. He was referring to this point. He has said that he wouldn't believe in the existence of any "God" or "Afterlife" in the same sense of believing in the existence of "Dragons".
yes he was. and that is what i mean by my position. an acceptance i can't disprove.
But just you can't "disprove" something doesn't mean you hold it to be plausible. There is a big difference there.

I never claimed that I held it plausible. I claimed I have yet to be given an adequate definition of god.


once again I must insist you do not respect my position. if you did you would take time to understand it.



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