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British police and atheism[edit]

There was an article in the newspaper a while back - the 'Police guide to religions and what to do with practitioners' (the intent of the text) saying that atheists do not have any places of worship, do not have prayers, or any particular dietary requirements (beyond that of the particular individual). Could this be incorporated somehow? (talk) 18:08, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

If you can find a source for it. Otherwise, it's just heresay and isn't provable. The Symphony of Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 18:10, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure what would be the point of the addition. What does it say apart from the obvious?--BobSpring is sprung! 18:17, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

One reference is to be found at [1] - have come across another. The benefits of having an official definition (like the Met Office on winter - it begins when all the leaves have fallen off the (dedecious) trees and ends when the bulbs start sprouting again).

Can there be an archive of this talk page - there is an automatic warning. (talk) 18:21, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

So ... you are suggesting that the British police definition of atheism is the definitive one?--BobSpring is sprung! 18:26, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

'Noting that they have a policy on the subject' (what their view of Last Thursdayism is has not been recorded). (talk) 18:30, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

However I see the article does talk about the British police's policy on witches and pagans. --BobSpring is sprung! 18:37, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

The tome probably covers everything from Atheists to Yezedis and Zorastrians) - and is worth mentioning somewhere on RW. (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

I've tried to find the position on atheism of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the New York Police Department without much success. I'm seeing if the FBI has a position now.
Actually doing a Google search on FBI athiests is quite disturbing.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:50, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
That's an understatement. ТyTalk. 18:57, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Quote: Employees of the Public Service of Canada must ensure that all aspects of their roles and responsibilities uphold the
Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service and maintain the integrity of the RCMP.
As per the Code pertaining to Conflict of Interest Measures and as per RCMP core values, the VEO recommends employees avoid
any actual, apparent or potential conflicts of interest.[2] TLOS 21:53,
21 August 2011 (PST)

Types of arguments for atheism[edit]

In Types of arguments for atheism is there any real difference between burden of proof and evidential? Are they not really the same argument expressed slightly differently?

One says that theists need to present evidence for their particular deity and the other says that no evidence has been presented. But it's the same argument isn't it? --BobSpring is sprung! 19:35, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so. The main piece of evidence for atheism is the non-observance of a deity. This is not the same as saying that a theistic god is more a priori improbable than atheism because the theistic hypothesis is more complicated. Tetronian you're clueless 19:47, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
But does either of these arguments make the argument that a god is the more complicated solution? Which one? Or have I misunderstood you?--BobSpring is sprung! 19:59, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
The burden of proof section probably should do that, but at the moment it doesn't. Tetronian you're clueless 20:04, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Then we return to my original point that they are (presently) the same argument.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:43, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Presently, yes. Ideally, probably not. Tetronian you're clueless 16:48, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Very long article[edit]

I think there's lots of amazing stuff near teh end of this article, but the article is so long, the lower stuff will get lost. Are there any sections we can reasonably pull out, make their own pages for, and still keep this a gold level article? --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:37, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

No! We can't diss atheism like that! This is RationalWiki after all! The Symphony of Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 19:40, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Homeopathy was split some time ago. This could probably do with the same thing. ADK...I'll riot your band! 11:00, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Let the discussing begin. Тytalk 14:09, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok, the title heading Why people become disaffected with religion is really more about religion than atheism. Though I grant the the content brings it a bit more back to atheism. I mentioned above that there seems to be some overlap with a couple of points in respect of the reasons for people being athiests. Finally I think the stuff about types of athiests weak, strong etc is really now more of historical interest. It could conceivably be part of a hived-off " history of atheism section"--BobSpring is sprung! 15:36, 27 August 2011 (UTC).
When I was breaking up the abortion page, I asked myself "what is the thing users are coming here for, what do they already know, and what are we adding to their world." In this case, the "types of atheism" and the "history of atheism" seem more encyclopedia than the RW "why everyone hates atheists" aspects. I would suggest we say "for a detailed history of atheism, see here", and "there are 4 types of atheism (list them and very short summary) - for a detailed descriptions, see here".... I'm still struggling with how this article is organized. It feels so scattered and chaotic.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:31, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Atheism in history / history of atheism is probably worth it's own piece. Godot is pretty right that RW needs to concentrate on what is most relevant for us, so "why people hate atheists" is of more importance than "what types of atheism are there?" ADK...I'll revolt your rutabaga! 16:40, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

quotes and rearrangement[edit]

I destroyed the quote section. Didn't really seem to follow our style to have "famous quotes" here. I also reorganized the article a bit. What is atheism, should be before "the history". I didn't even understand the Pollard quote - sorry, I'm ignorant. And the Washington quote was very...well...elipsed...for my good. I kept thinking "yes, but what did we take OUT of that quote". So if his quote was there for the goat, do please put it back in. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:22, 27 August 2011 (UTC) unused quotes:

Yeah I know because there's no fing 'cause I can't see it. Nathan reckons there's no God, it's [religion is] bollocks innit?
Vicky Pollard
I ... do not ... believe ... in ... God
—George Washington[1]

The quotes are hit and miss to be fair. I'm sure we've had this discussion before but since Little Britain has pretty much died a slow cultural death in recent years, we can lose it. ADK...I'll pander your tomato! 16:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Ohhhh, i saw "fly with me", or something, so I actually know what "little britin" is. I don't get Brit humor, i think.
Those two were funny for a few episodes. Maybe a full first series if you're generous. Then it just died on its arse. ADK...I'll exercise your shank! 16:55, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Atheists should shut up[edit]

The recent popularity of the 'New Atheism', with books like The God Delusion achieving best seller status has been particularly threatening to theists.[3]

The response from theists has been to put considerable effort into trying to stop “irresponsible” atheistic promotion, this ranges from material that at least superficially is academic like what is found in NOMA [4] through to material that is downright abusive.[5]

I'm not a massive fan of these vague and cryptic remarks leading to references at all. If it's not worth expanding and explaining and exemplifying, it's not worth including at all. ADK...I'll absolve your pillow! 01:06, 29 October 2011 (UTC)


Our first section begins with:

  • History has long been riddled with those who doubt the existence of established and prominent gods ...

I'm not sure that I like "riddled", as it's a sort of negative word - as in "riddled with maggots". I guess that it's an attempt at humour but I'm not convinced that we need it in the first sentence.

How about:

  • "There has been a long history of rational people who have not accepted superstitious or magical explanations of natural phenomena and who have not felt that "gods" can be used to explain anything."

Or something of that nature?--BobSpring is sprung! 13:38, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

That works. Tytalk 13:49, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
OK.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:15, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

How Serious is this site?[edit]

I was wondering how serious this site is. Should I look for discussions of problems with the purely rational perspective, or is this like conservapedia where I should just have fun reading slanted articles?

What I would like to see is an expansion of the "Moral" section. I'm sure that some orthodox atheists would simply say that we cannot pass moral judgement on the actuions of others, but most atheists do have a moral compass and are often more moral than many theists (of course, others are just as judmental as some theists)

If we have a section called "Moral" in the article, shouldn't we put in the various opinions for the basis for morality within atheism and implications of these opinions? At the least, shouldn't we at least link the morality article? --Bertrc (talk) 22:50, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

If you're asking how serious our articles are, then it's mostly serious with a few jokes here and there. If you're asking about talk pages, then it's mostly jokes with some serious stuff in-between. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:52, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I too would like to see an expansion of the "Moral" section. What it needs is more about "if morals are not god given then where do they come from?" which is a very interesting question. Of course, I would turn it around to say "If morals are god given then what is the method he, she or it uses to give us those morals and how do we know that god is a moral creature. It could be that the Bible was divinely inspired - by Satan. Prove me wrong. Bad Faith (talk) 23:04, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
There's some compelling evidence about our animalistic need for so-called morality. Group dynamics, politics, safety, survival, etc. Maybe Nebby can shed some light, if he knows any studies. Course my biggest question is "so the ONLY reason you don't eat your children for dinner when you are hungry, is cause of god?" --Pink mowse.pngGodotI live in the Infinite monkey cage 23:12, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Link to morality. It's not my area of expertise, but I can definitely "upgrade" the morality article. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:15, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I thought your area of expertise was whatever WaitingforGodot asked you to talk about? :-) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:16, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Were it true, I could be an expert in everything! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:57, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I wrote a long essay a while ago in response to the creationist tripe about atheists lacking an "objective basis" for morals. It contrasted natural-law morality with the Abrahamic view of morals as God's commandments, pointing out that with the latter, one just has to grab a prophet and get a sign-off and suddenly morals are inverted. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:46, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
ListenerX, do you still have a link to the essay? I anticipate my only issue would be differentiating between claiming an external absolute scale exists and claiming you know the absolute morality. I think, in the Bible, Jesus pointed out that even the people who wrote the law didn't understand it -- or, at least, the experts of the day didn't understand it -- He brings up the implications of not killing and not comitting adultery, showing that people have no conception of what it realliy means (IMHO). --Bertrc (talk) 01:25, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Bad Faith, With regards to your turned around question, I have a possible answer. I think we have to start a few steps back. Let me postulate that we all have basic central motives behind our actions. Let's call these things our foundations. The easiest earthly example is centering your life around a spouse or a child. People can also center their lives around money, being held in esteem by others, personal appearance, personal survival, etc. These are the things that drive us and in which we have invested ourselves. eg. a billionaire who commits suicide after losing half his net worth, even though he is still a billionaire, probably has founded their sense of worth on money. Now then, if you believe that God has invested/centered Himself in us and created us to be invested/centered in Her, then the method It uses to give us morals might be: Center ourselves on God; actions ultimately motivated by such a foundation are moral. The concept of the Trinity seems in line with this: Father centered on Spirit and Son; Son centered on Spirit and Father; Spirit centered on Father and Son. We get created to share/receive/join in this love. It is parallel to the laws of physics; they all derive from certain axioms. (FYI, this is an initial, condensed version of a very complicated idea. Thanks for letting me sound it out) --Bertrc (talk) 02:05, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
My two cents, this should point out the difference in the goodness of people as WFG pointed out - "are you only good because you are told? That does not mean you are good, rather it shows you are simply obedient." A good person does good simply because it is good and doe not require reward or punishment. In regards to the question "how can an atheist be moral?" I would explain that "secular morality" does exist [6]. Of course, the next question would probably be "is there objective morality?" Personally, I say no (I think Iron Chariots has done a good job at showing why [7]) - but I do not think that this "objective morality" should be included in this article. Feredir28 (talk) 19:55, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Intro paragraph[edit]

I pulled this and need to find a place to put it, but it's not really part of the explaintion of "what atheism is" that is normally the intro space of an article. Although anecdotes and studies indicate that people who have had no access to religious culture or influences may ponder questions like "where did we come from?", the lack of belief in specifically religious deities, or a specific religious doctrine to go with them, is the default state for any human being. As they age and gain more knowledge about the world, people may stay at this "default" non-believing state, move into a believing state, or move into and then out of a religious belief in the absence of sufficient evidence of any supernatural entities. The position of an atheist, therefore, is that they are not convinced that there is sufficient evidence for the existence of gods, so they can be assumed not to exist and safely ignored without fear of hellfire or lightning bolts. This idea was stated most famously by Bertrand Russell in his "teapot argument" which concludes that we must start with disbelief when it comes to any concept — be it an interplanetary teapot or vengeful god — until argument or evidence successfully implies otherwise.— Unsigned, by: WaitingforGodot / talk / contribs 16:43, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Atheism is the belief that God does not exist.[edit]

Multiple dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster, support this fact. If you think you're smarter than a book specifically designed by scientific experts, go ahead and prove them wrong. (talk) 21:45, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I have it on good authority (Diderot's Encyclopedie) that "atheism" meant this at one time:c'est l'opinion de ceux qui nient l'existence d'un Dieu auteur du monde. Ainsi la simple ignorance de Dieu ne feroit pas l'athéisme. Pour être chargé du titre odieux d'atheisme, il faut avoir la notion de Dieu, & la rejetter." Rough translation: "it is the opinion of those who deny the existence of a god as author of the world. Thus the simple ignorance of god is not atheism. To be charged with the odious title of atheism, it is necessary to have the concept of god, and reject it." Source: Advancedatheist (talk) 04:58, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Dictionaries are not compiled by scientific experts. Тytalk 21:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
um, no, atheism is at the least, the belief that GODS do not exist. I give your particular "god" no emphasis in my atheism. But it's also a hell of a lot more. Ty, definitions are not science and do not need scientific experts. :P. Pink mowse.pngGodotGet over it!. 21:49, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
So it's just because you consider the word "belief" to be taboo somehow? Theists believe in the existence of gods. Atheists believe in the nonexistence of gods. What's so bad about the latter? (talk) 21:57, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
(EC)That's what Ty said. And yes, dictionaries are compiled by practical lexographers, not scientists. Blue (is useful) 21:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
You're seriously going to keep banging on dictionaries on all things for your sole source? Got anything else? Why not accuse us of being atheist because we love sin or because we're angry at god while we're at it? (ʞlɐʇ) ɹǝɯɯɐHʍoƆ 21:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Dictionary definitions cannot accurately define atheism; this is why you have a dictionary definition as the first sentence in the article. (talk) 21:57, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm officially bored by this arguing from semantics already. Scarlet A.pngbomination 21:58, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Just pointing out the hypocrisy, bro. You're shunning one dictionary definition because it's "a dictionary definition" but the one that's currently being used is A-okay. I think it's because it doesn't have the word "belief" in it. Because believing in things is bad. (talk) 22:00, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
So we've moved beyond "the dictionary definition is scientific fact" now? That's good. Another counterexample to Pommer's Law? Blue (is useful) 21:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm curious. for a BON, you care a lot about one very small set of words. why? Pink mowse.pngGodotGet over it!. 22:01, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Because I don't actually care. I'm a troll. :D (talk) 22:21, 3 November 2011 (UTC) — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
The reason weak atheism is promoted as the canonical definition of atheism, despite most atheists probably being strong atheists in practice, is because weak atheism is, especially since the early 20th century, a much easier position to advocate for and defend. However, such semantic quibbling really has nothing to do with the merits of weak atheism considered by itself. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:08, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Of course it's easier to defend, because you're talking about not just "proving" a negative, a la Russel's Teapot, but because it's talking about the difference between 99.9% certainty and 100.0% certainty, which when viewed from a log-odds and probability theory perspective is an infinitely huge jump. But, alas, you're right; our confidence can have uncertainty assigned to it, but actions can't, and the whole thing is a semantic quibble that makes no sense because I don't (currently) think there's a particular difference between the "weak" and "strong" that makes much sense in the light of how people actually act. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 09:50, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. I suspect that in the case of many atheists, if they were actually weak atheists they would not take such strong exception to the proposition that one or more gods exist. When I was a (strong) atheist, I did not have any particular issue with theists' certainty in their beliefs; rather, I thought their beliefs were incorrect. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:18, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Maybe people could just acknowledge that multiple definitions exist, and none of them are necessarily wrong? That fact that a definition is in a dictionary is not proof that it's the one true definition, but it is prima facie evidence that it's a valid definition (especially if it's a reasonably respectable dictionary). Many people use the definition of atheism as "belief that God does not exist". According to this definition, all atheism is "strong atheism" and "weak atheism" isn't atheism, it's something else. Now, you can prefer to use the definition "lack of belief that God exists" instead; but that doesn't mean that the "belief that God does not exist" definition is wrong—it's a definition with history behind it, and is still popular today in many quarters (although not much among atheists). (((Zack Martin))) 10:51, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
When I was first editing here, I was unfamiliar with the whole weak/strong taxonomy and used strong atheism as my working definition. That got me a lot of grief from the rest of the editors, who considered that definition a straw man. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:18, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
You say that like it isn't a ridiculous straw man to state that all non-theists are assuming their beliefs with infinite certainty. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 09:07, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I was not intentionally making a straw man; I had strong atheism as my working definition mostly because I had been a strong atheist and partly, as I mentioned above, many outspoken atheists that I met behaved in a way that I thought was more consistent with strong atheism than weak — "passionate lack of belief" is almost an oxymoron. That has continued here; get a few shots of whiskey into Human, for example, and he starts espousing strong atheism with some degree of certainty. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:40, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
What you're missing is that it's not necessarily about logic as much as it is about pragmatism. It's easy to be passionate about your "lack of belief" when the belief itself is so harmful, oppressive, etc. In this sense, you have atheism as a response against irrational and dangerous religious belief being more important than the idea of atheism in itself. And in that battle it's often counterproductive to express a 'weak' position on atheism (even if you consider it correct), much in the same way it is to stress theory of evolution. Q0 (talk) 23:26, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

The problem; or why this is pointless[edit]

Here's the problem; this is arguing from definitions. I expect this from amateurs, so am willing to put up with it for a certain amount of time, then it gets boring. To argue over a definition is the lowest form of wit and intelligence - sarcasm isn't the lowest, it's rather lofty by comparison. Really, it is. No one gives a crap if you want to say "atheism is DEFINITELY the belief that no gods exist" and this exclusively. "Atheism" is a random and arbitrary combination of vowels and consonants that represents something. As it stands, we have two things; the positive belief, and the lack of belief. If you disagree, go find your own arbitrary combination of vowels and consonants to represent the qualia in your head relating to the positive assertion of the statement "no gods exist", because it doesn't matter. Arguing a definition is not going to change the actual set of beliefs in someone's head - this is why I don't bother learning the myriad names for concepts unless they're a strict term of art (i.e., the scientific ones). This is why we allow for precision to be defined, hence implicit atheism, explicit atheism, weak atheism, strong atheism and whatever else you add on to there involving your metacognition of the subject vs your practical outlook on life. The only reason this argument (indeed, the word itself) even exists is because of the ubiquity of religion throughout history. This has developed into a wide and complex set of ideas in opposition to it. You might think a dictionary definition trumps what someone thinks, but this is ass backwards. Scarlet A.pngpostate 22:08, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Good post! Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:40, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree totally with Mondy, I am only labelled an atheist because other people insist on their belief and I have no interest in following it. It's like the simplistic political sloganeering of "if you're not with us, then you're against us". A Ukrainian acquaintance of mine who grew up under the Soviet system and was never exposed to religion is an atheist not because she is denying god but because she has no reason to believe in the concept in the first place and has no knowledge of what religious festivals like Easter, Christmas or Whitsun are about. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 00:07, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Whereas I, being from a place where you're brought up Church of England "by default" (as I've mentioned before, I was once asked my religion, replied "none" and they ticked the CofE box!) I can't help but view my more open atheism as a reaction to this. I do have the concept of religion floating around, so I can't really carry off the pretence of being an implicit atheist. Scarlet A.pngmoral 08:28, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

What acts can only be done by a believer in the name of religion?[edit]

Hey Guys, long time no see. I don't get this. Can anybody come up with an evil act that could only be done by a believer in the name of a religion? I can't think of any. Any act can be done in the name of a religion, regardless of whether the perpetrator actually believes in the religion. --Bertrc (talk) 01:32, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Heck, I can't even think of an evil that can only be done in the name of a religion. --Bertrc (talk) 01:43, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Hell, I can't even understand what "can only be done in the name of a religion" means, or why anyone would care if it didn't exist. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 01:46, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
. . . Frankly, I don't even think there has been an evil that has only been done in the name of a religion. For every act of evil that comes to mind which has been done in the name of a religion, I can think of similar act that has been done without using religion as an excuse. --Bertrc (talk) 01:49, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Okay? This doesn't really have to do with the phrasing you changed, and I'm not sure what else it relates to. Its point seems to be that people aren't given moral imperatives by a lack of religion. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 01:58, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
The point of this is that we should remove the last two bullet points of that section because . . . well . . . because they are kind of pointless (if you see my point) --Bertrc (talk) 02:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, didn't see those. Yeah, I can't think of any "religion-only" deeds that matter. The last one (about theism not being required for goodness) still seems to make a real point, though it's kind of rambling. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 02:19, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
(For anyone else's reference, it's this section.) ~ Kupochama[1][2] 02:20, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Forcible conversion? Certain types of blasphemy? (talk) 15:14, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Because of vs in the name of[edit]

In the moral section, we run into a kind of halting problem by asking did somebody do an evil act because he was an atheist. The only way you could answer this would be if you knew what somebody would have done instead, if they were a theist -- but even then, there are so many ways of being a theist. We should change it to be "In the name of" because that is a concrete, quantifiable measurement. --Bertrc (talk) 02:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Changing it to that just makes it worse, because it's a different point and really doesn't relate to the rest of the section. Per Neb's section below, it's a pretty bad section in general, so it probably just needs a replacement. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 03:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)


"Since some believers, who fail history forever..." Irony meter, you're breakin' it. This section needs to be rewritten. See, e.g., League of Militant AtheistsWikipedia or Cult of ReasonWikipedia. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:55, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Removed the entire section because it's just wrong. Here it is if someone wants to salvage it:

One important ethic stressed by many is "truthfulness", and many atheists believe that religion presents an inherent attack on truth.

Atheists sometimes ask the question:

  • "Can you think of an evil act that a man committed because of his religion?"

Examples are quite numerous, from the bloody crusades and the Inquisitions to al Qaeda and Christian Identity. Even if religious apologists declare no true Scotsman on these examples, claiming that such people were influenced by other factors and merely used the religion as a vehicle, many cult leaders certainly commit these acts directly due to their beliefs. So the answer to this is clearly "yes" and it invites the obvious follow up question:

  • "Can you think of an evil act committed by an atheist because he is an atheist?

Since some believers, who fail history forever, like to equate atheism to communism and thus link it to the deaths of millions, the answer to this is often "yes" also. But the question remains whether any of the examples were because they were atheistic. Stalin was an atheist; however, he did not set up his communist empire in the name of atheism. A popular comparison is to note that both Hitler and Stalin had moustaches, however that was certainly not what drove them to mass-murder. (Moreover, Hitler was not an atheist.) Due to this, some atheists tire of the follow-up explanation involving "dictator x was an atheist" and thus use a variation on this theme:

  • "Can you think of an evil act that can only be done by a believer in the name of a religion?"

Again, several come to mind. It's then followed by:

  • "Can you think of a good deed done by a believer in the name of a religion that couldn't have been done by an unbeliever?"

However, this does raise the issue of what a "good deed" is. A lot of people think Mother Teresa did nothing good and constructive in her entire life, others believe that forcing bringing her religion to people was the "good deed." Obviously, bringing religion to someone is clearly something that can only be done by a believer - though the act's status as a "good deed" remains debatable. --- Alternately, a different kind of moral argument can be made if someone wants to work that into the article. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:19, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Moral arguments of this kind are bunk by definition, since moral questions have no bearing on whether supernatural entities actually exist. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:25, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

"Added sentence about atheists who wish they could believe..."[edit]

It's like you were eavesdropping on me. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 16:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Removed comment[edit]

***I respect the right of another to rectify this error, as I'm aware that this is delicate, but to be unbiased, should be included*** Religion does NOT require any belief in supernatural deities. It requires a doctrine, the sacred (often the belief itself), rituals and traditions, and most importantly, a shared belief system. In that sense, Atheism IS viewed as a religion. Similarly, there are plenty of Atheist religions that consider themselves religions - Scientology, Buddahism, Jain, Taoism, and Pagan religions to give a few examples. Any mainstream Cultural Studies or Sociology textbook will provide as a source for this, so pick any you like. — Unsigned, by: ‎ / talk / contribs

I could go with "non-theistic religions" but not your term. Also, atheists do not share a belief system in much the same way that non-IV drug users would not share needles. Just because someone would agree with me that there isn't a god or gods does not mean that we've arrived at that point of agreement with the same things in mind. If you, BoN, are a theist, then do you share your atheistic "beliefs" with me in the gods you do not believe in? C®ackeЯ 17:55, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Language games... definitions... hidden inferences... people should be aware of my standard response to this sort of thing by now. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 23:19, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I think it's paraphrased, ADK, as "Whine, whine, WINE!" ;-) --Green mowse.pngGodotL'important c'est d'aimer 23:50, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Wine! Where? Scarlet A.pngtheist 11:21, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

According to this dictionary religion includes "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. ". That's not exactly what our contributor wrote but it's close and the contributor should get respect. Proxima Centauri (talk) 07:26, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Did someone say dictionary definition? Scarlet A.pngpathetic 23:43, 12 August 2012 (UTC)


I think that a part that deals with criticism of Atheism should be added to this article, it will say something about it's quality, for my opinion. (talk) 10:44, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

What criticisms would you like to add? What do you men by "it will say something about it's quality"? What "it" is being referred to? The article or atheism?--Weirdstuff (talk) 10:48, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
(EC again KILL WEIRDSTUFF) We could do that. The line that "atheists are only atheists because they hated their fathers" gets trotted out sometimes, as does "how could a bunch of people on one planet know how the entire universe works?" Enough for a section there, I think. SophieWilder 10:50, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Really? Criticise atheism? There is nothing to criticise. You can criticise individuals or groups of atheists, but given how adherents of one religion are non-believers in all other religions there is nothing unique in atheism other than going one god further. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 11:06, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Pardon me for suggesting that atheism might not be beyond criticism. SophieWilder 11:15, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Atheism is a cloudless sky. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 12:20, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
The article is already extremely long, an article about criticism of atheism could be a good idea. I suggest no more than a short summary here. Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:56, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

In the interest of accuracy[edit]

The first paragraph endds with a questionable sentence. "Most atheists also do not believe in anything supernatural or paranormal." I would prefer a citation here to a study, since as much as i would like it to be true, i don't think it is. The confusion here is stemming from passive atheists who simply don't believe in god because meh, and active ones who typically reach the conclusion that it's right and proper not to believe for logical or scientific reasons (ignoring the validity of those reasons at the moment.). So, in essence, while i'd LIKE this statement to be true, i dont think it is. And arguing it's self-demonstrating wont cut it either. Without a link to a study, i suggest this be cut, or clarified upon.

EDIT: It could keep with the spirit of the sentence by switching most to many, as this is more true but also skirts around an issue the rational community does need to face up to at one point or another... May post if i find others.

Second Fault - 3rd/4th paragraph in Atheism Throughout History, toward the end of the paragraph calls nick clegg the current co-prime minister. He is the deputy prime minister, not co-prime minister. He cooperatively leads a coallition government, but to call him co-prime minister would be to afford him powers he does not have. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Other Suggestions - A link to an article on Antitheism could be placed in the "Hate god" lines found in Fundamentalist Views Of Atheism — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

I checked the study referenced under 38. The conclusion drawn from it in the Demographics section: "A recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine suggests that irreligious physicians are more likely to care for the underserved compared to religious ones (35% vs 31%)." I would assume comes from this, as quoted from the study: "The proportion who reported practice among the underserved (31%) did not differ significantly from that found among those with no religious affiliation, however (35%, P = .48). " It specifically says "did not differ significantly". Furthermore, the overall conclusion for the study conveys that religiousness does not appear to have a noticeable effect on caring for the underserved. Thus saying that "irreligious physicians are more likely to care for the underserved" is ... a bold and unwarranted conclusion on the grounds of the study and IMO reduces the credibility of the Demographics section. I would suggest a change towards what the conclusion of the study is actually trying to convey (religiousness does not appear to have a noticeable effect on caring for the underserved). Nullahnung (talk) 09:22, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Well, since nobody else appears to care, I'll try and perform the edit I suggested above myself. Nullahnung (talk) 05:31, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Not sure where to put this[edit]

Didn't want to do a Proxima and shove it in any old where: Report shows Atheists persecuted worldwide SophieWilder 10:08, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

The Atheophobia article perhaps? Humorless fascistsociopath 13:43, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Good idea. SophieWilder 14:30, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Bush Sr's atheism quote[edit]

The accuracy of this statement is questionable. It was supposedly said at a press conference and literally one journalist thought to write it down and report it, and even then he didn't publish the quote until almost a year later. It reminds me of those fake Einstein quotes: put something in someone's mouth that you wish they said, and because it's almost impossible to prove someone didn't say something, it'll survive forever. It's shoddy at best and downright dishonest at worst. Cow...Hammertime! 16:14, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Hmm.... I'm not so sure. What he has definitely said is
I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person. I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is.
Which implies that he never said it but definitely thinks it. Maybe we should replace the original with this properly sourced quote (well, Washington Times, at least) Innocent Bystander (talk) 16:42, 8 February 2013 (UTC)


I have just returned the definition to:

  • Atheism is the absence of belief in the existence of gods.

If there is debate about this fundamental question then it would be better resolved here before the article is changed.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 15:33, 10 February 2013 (UTC)


"Five atheists who ruin it for everyone else" [9] "Many notable atheists believe in some powerfully stupid stuff, thereby eroding the credibility of all atheists ..." Pashley (talk) 18:01, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

proxima centauri could wreck anything she or he came near. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:47, 1 July 2013 (UTC)