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* abortion

* agnostic

* agnosticism

* Agnosticism and Christianity ; HUXLEY, Thomas Henry

* An Atheist with Gandhi ; GORA (RAO, G. Ramachandra)

* animism

* apocalypse

* apostasy

* arguments against atheism

* At Home in the Universe ; KAUFFMAN, Stuart

* atheism

* Atheism ; MARTIN, Michael

* Atheism ; JOSHI, S. T.

* Atheism, Morality and Meaning ; MARTIN, Michael

* atheist

* Atheist Bus Campaigns

* Atheist Manifesto ; ONFRAY, Michel

* Atheist Universe ; MILLS, David

* atheophobia

* atheophobia, internalized

* AVALOS, Hector

* abortion (n.)


Relevant Articles:

Quotations: Gore VIDAL

* agnostic (n. or adj.)

See agnosticism.

Here is a delightfully biting definition of agnostic, found on an internet chat site:

...agnostics are actually lazy atheists

* agnosticism (n.)

From its honourable origins in the 19th century (see Thomas Henry HUXLEY), agnosticism has today become almost synonymous with equivocation, even intellectual cowardice.

If interpreted as meaning lack of knowledge, the concept of agnosticism can apply to any domain of knowledge where there is uncertainty. One can be justifiably agnostic with respect to, say, a new scientific theory whose validity has not been fully proven. The concept is also sometimes used to imply neutrality based on lack of interaction; for example, computer programmers may say that a certain software module is "operating system agnostic", meaning that it has no knowledge of which operating system (OS) is running and thus functions independently of the choice of OS.

However, the word is normally used in a religious context, in particular to refer to theism or deism. In this context, agnosticism is the assertion that nothing is or is likely to be known of a god or of anything but material phenomena.

Agnosticism with respect to theism is often expressed by asserting that the existence and non-existence of god are equally probable, i.e. "symmetric agnosticism". This is a serious logical error, an example of the fallacy of the mean. By viewing belief in god(s) and disbelief in god(s) as "extremes", the symmetric agnostic falsely concludes that the best position is half-way between them. To observe that the non-existence of something cannot be proven does not justify the conclusion that that thing has a probability of 50% of existing. I cannot prove that Santa Claus does not exist, neither can anyone prove that the author of these lines is not God and King of the Universe, but that does not imply that these assertions have a 50% chance of being true.

Some who adopt a position of symmetric agnosticism do so as an indirect and self-serving attempt to justify their implicit theism. Swinburne (The Existence of God) takes hundreds of pages to convince himself that the probability of the existence of the Christian God is at least 50%. But the symmetric agnostic is lazy and simply assumes, from the get-go, a 50% probability of some god existing. Swinburne, at least, is honest.

On the other hand, others who call themselves agnostic are in fact atheists who have adopted a very conciliatory and obsequious attitude towards religion and lack the courage to call themselves atheists. See atheophobia.

A consistent and intellectually honest approach to agnosticism—i.e. scepticism with regard to theism, without a dogmatic attachment to symmetry—leads inevitably to negative atheism. See:

Relevant Book:

Agnosticism and Christianity -- HUXLEY, Thomas Henry

Relevant Articles:

Quotations: Thomas Henry HUXLEY

Agnosticism and Atheism

* Agnosticism and Christianity
and other essays
HUXLEY, Thomas Henry
Keywords: agnosticism Christianity
Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, USA
These are 19th century writings (Huxley lived from 1825 to 1895) originally published by the Rationalist Press Association in 1931.

* An Atheist with Gandhi
GORA (RAO, G. Ramachandra)
Keywords: atheism history
Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment
Originally published in 1951. For further information, consult Atheist Centre

"In positive terms atheism means self-confidence and free will. Atheism is not negative in meaning though it is negative in form. ... Atheism bears a positive significance in the practice of life. Belief in god implies subordination of man to the divine will. In Hindu thought man's life is subordinated to Karma or fate. In general, atheism is the manifestation of the feeling of freedom in man. Thus theism and atheism are opposite and they represent the opposite feelings, namely, dependence and independence respectively."

p. 32

"Acceptance of atheism at once pulls down caste and religious barriers between man and man. There is no longer a Hindu, A Muslim or a Christian. All or human beings. Further, the atheistic outlook puts man on his legs. There is neither divine will nor fate to control his actions."

p. 34

"I want ethics to rule and idealism to grow. That can be achieved only when belief in god and fate is done away with and consequently the theistic philosophy of life is changed. In positive terms, I want atheism, so that man shall cease to depend on god and stand firmly on his own legs. In such a man a healthy social outlook will grow, because atheism finds no justification for the economic and social inequalities between man and man."

p. 44-45

"... an attempt also might be made to discourage the use of labels of caste and creed which raise imaginary barriers between man and man. Not only should the practice of untouchability go, but the Harijan (Gandhi's term for so-called 'untouchables') should not be allowed to continue a Harijan; he should be united with the genereal stream of humanity. Similarly, the Hindu and Muslim differences might be solved by discarding the labels. Such an attempt will no longer keep the form of communal harmony, but it would lead to the growth of one humanity. ... The growth of one humanity requires the rejection of communal labels."

p. 53-54

* animism (n.)

* apocalypse (n.)

Christianity is, or at least was originally, an apocalyptic religion: i.e. the world was, according to the alleged teachings of Jesus, supposed to end within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries.

* apostasy (n.)

This word is generally used in a religious context, indicating leaving the religion in which one was raised or to which one previously converted.

See Apostasy, Baptism Removal and Excommunication.

In Islam, apostasy is generally considered a sin and often a crime, even a capital crime. An apostate may also be punished by annulation of marriage, removal of children and loss of succession rights.

News Report

Atheists choose 'de-baptism' to renounce childhood faith —  G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service, 2009-07-22

Relevant Links:

* arguments against atheism

The arguments against atheism are generally very weak and usually completely vacuous. But religious believers and atheophobes keep bringing them up. So here some of the frequently recurring arguments are listed, discussed and refuted. See also atheophobia.

Follow this link: Frequently Advanced Arguments Against Atheism

* At Home in the Universe
The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity
Keywords: evolution science
Oxford University Press

* atheism (n.)

See What is Atheism?

See also the entry Atheism, by Nick C. Sagos, in American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia, on Google Books.


Relevant Books:

An Atheist with Gandhi -- GORA (RAO, G. Ramachandra)

Atheism -- MARTIN, Michael

Atheism -- JOSHI, S. T.

Atheism, Morality and Meaning -- MARTIN, Michael

Atheist Manifesto -- ONFRAY, Michel

Atheist Universe -- MILLS, David

50 Reasons People Give For Believing In A God -- HARRISON, Guy P.

God is Not Great -- HITCHENS, Christopher

The Happy Heretic -- HAYES, Judith

Irreligion -- PAULOS, John Allen

Letter to a Christian Nation -- HARRIS, Sam

The Life and Times of Gora -- LINDLEY, Mark

Natural Atheism -- ELLER, David

The Portable Atheist -- HITCHENS, Christopher

Testament: Memoir of the Thoughts and Sentiments of Jean Meslier -- MESLIER, Jean, Curé d'Etrépigny

Western Atheism -- THROWER, James

Relevant Articles:

Quotations: Charles BRADLAUGH

Quotations: Arthur C. CLARKE

Quotations: Albert EINSTEIN

Blind Belief

Atheist Ethics in 500 Words

Agnosticism and Atheism

Atheophobia, A Prejudice Thousands of Years Old

Does Secularism Imply Religious Neutrality?

Is Humanism Much More Than Atheism?

Letter to the Editor, Free Inquiry, Vol. 31, No. 5

Theism As Hate Propaganda

The Trouble With Humanists

Yes, Atheophobia Does Indeed Exist

Quotations: Donatien-Alphonse-François de SADE

Quotations: Percy Bysshe SHELLEY

Quotations: Miscellaneous

Relevant Links:

* Atheism
A Philosophical Justification
MARTIN, Michael
Keywords: atheism philosophy
Temple University Press

* Atheism
A Reader
Keywords: atheism Christianity religion
Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, USA

* Atheism, Morality and Meaning
MARTIN, Michael
Keywords: atheism morality
Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, USA

* atheist (n. or adj.)

* Atheist Bus Campaigns


The following organizations have begun atheist bus campaigns in various cities

Other Countries

Media Reports

Other Publicity Campaigns

Billboard sponsored by the Pisa section of the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and AgnosticsI prefer to reason rather than to believe: because I am an atheist
Billboard sponsored by the Pisa section of the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics
"I prefer to reason rather than to believe: because I am an atheist"

Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti (UAAR)

* Atheist Manifesto
The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
ONFRAY, Michel
Keywords: atheism history philosophy
Arcade Publishing

* Atheist Universe
The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism
MILLS, David
Keywords: atheism religion
Ulysses Press

* atheophobia (n.)

What is Atheophobia?

It is a very common prejudice, widespread among both religious believers and non-believers. As this term is a neologism and the above definition is very literal, a more detailed description is in order:

To be even more precise, atheophobia may be defined as:

  1. the belief that atheists are morally inferior to religious believers;
  2. the belief that atheism leads necessarily to moral degradation;
  3. the notion that atheism, especially atheist activism, leads necessarily to extreme repression of religion, to the persecution of religious believers and even to totalitarianism;
  4. fear or shame of being identified as atheist.

Atheophobia is a very old, widespread and baseless prejudice. It varies from the banal -- such as the vague notion that attending religious services will somehow make one a better person -- to the extreme, i.e. hateful accusations of moral inferiority directed at atheists, which can be a form a hate propaganda.

It is only reasonable that atheophobia be subject to the same sort of social disapproval that is applied to racism (antisemitism, white supremacism, etc.), misogyny, homophobia, and similar prejudices. Unfortunately, the opposite is generally true: social norms very often reinforce atheophobia.

Atheophobia among Nonbelievers

This prejudice is widespread even among nonbelievers, where it takes one of the forms described by the third and fourth meanings given above. Atheophobia among those who are in fact atheists themselves can be described as internalized atheophobia. It becomes outright hypocrisy when it manifests itself as hostility towards open, unashamed atheists. Such antipathy is a smokescreen for a lack of courage in the face of religious social pressure.

Atheophobic Propaganda and Freedom of Expression

To recognize the prejudicial nature of atheophobia is not to say that it should necessarily be subject to legal sanction. Freedom of expression is an essential human right to which atheists are dearly attached. Nevertheless, if expression of hatred for religious groups is legally forbidden, then there can be no justification for allowing hateful atheophobic assertions either. I would suggest the importance of clearly distinguishing between the following two actions:

  1. attacking a group of persons for their beliefs or lack thereof (which may, in the extreme, be considered a case of hate propaganda), and
  2. criticizing the beliefs or nonbelief as such, regardless of who holds them. (Without such freedom of expression, open and fair debate becomes impossible.)

See also:

* atheophobia, internalized (n.)

This is atheophobia—i.e. fear of, or antipathy towards, atheists and atheism—which manifests itself among nonbelievers and (closeted) atheists themselves, i.e. among those who may have abandoned all religious belief but still cling, perhaps unconsciously, to old metabeliefs.

There is an obvious analogy between a religious believer who is convinced that, without their belief in God, they would become wildly immoral or amoral; and an atheophobic nonbeliever who associates unashamed atheism with extreme anti-religious policies and repression of freedom of conscience. The first should inspire mistrust, because they are saying that they would lose all morality if they were to lose their theistic belief. Similarly, we have to wonder just what is going on in the mind of the atheophobic nonbeliever: if they were to embrace fully their atheism, would they then become extremist, to the point of constituting a threat to others' freedom of conscience?

Both the atheophobic believer and the atheophobic nonbeliever are apparently admitting, implicitly, that they cannot be trusted! Frankly, I would put my trust in an up-front atheist who honestly and unashamedly declares his or her atheism.

(Article under construction...)

See atheophobia.

* AVALOS, Hector


Fighting Words