Many people believe the term "atheist" indicates someone who says "God does not exist" or "There is no God". This is not true. This is a common misconception among theists, that the term "atheist" implies a person has a belief in the non-existence of God.
Let's look at the source of the word:
"Atheism", from the Greek:
Therefore, "atheism" is "the state, quality, or condition of being without a god or deity". "Atheos" would literally mean "godless", and "atheismos" ("atheism") would literally mean "godlessness".
Notice that the prefix "a-" does not mean "not" or "against". It's a common mistake to think so. That would require the use of the Greek prefix "anti-", such as in the term antikhristos ("antichrist").
Now, let's change that suffix. "Atheist", from the Greek:
An "atheist", then, would be "a person who supports or subscribes to a godless state, quality, or condition".
This does not necessarily mean that atheists positively believe that there is no god. It simply means that they advocate a lifestyle that is devoid of one. They live their lives as if there were no god.
Last updated by Nelson Feb 8, 2009.