All too often on the street I run into people that are self-proclaimed Atheists but, when pressed to give a response as to why they believe that “God does not exist” they recant: “I never said I believe that ‘God does not exist’ I simply lack a belief in God’s existence.”
Is a lack of belief in God’s existence really Atheism though? Certainly not, and when pressed to give an explanation as to what they believe; more times than not they wind up giving a description of Agnosticism.
A true Atheist however is not someone that is open to the possibility of God’s existence. A real atheist is not one that merely lacks a belief in God. A genuine atheist is one that affirms there is no God.
The term Atheist comes from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos). In English this comes out as two words:
ἄ represents the “negative” or “no”
θεος represents “God”
Atheism is the negative (ἄ) contrasted form of God (θεος), which is to say that there is “no God.”
Claiming oneself to be an Atheist -in it’s truest form- comes with a burdensome task as it asserts a negative, that is to say, it affirms that God does not exist which comes with shouldering quite a burden of proof. Of course they are not up to the task and therefore they pour a different meaning into the word “Atheist” and so the word games and redefinitions begin.
They want that provocative title “Atheist” but when their feet are put to the fire on it, they describe themselves to be more Agnostic; or as the Latin form puts it Ignoramus. I guess identifying oneself as an Ignoramus just doesn’t have the same rousing ring to it.
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