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There are two in-use definitions of the word 'atheist':

1.) A person who lacks belief in a god or gods. People who use this definition categorize atheists as either negative (or implicit or weak) atheists or positive (or explicit or strong) atheists. Negative atheists, while they don't believe in a god, do not positively assert that no gods exist. Positive atheists, however, do.

2.) A person who believes that no god or gods exist.

Those who consider themselves atheists (who are usually positive atheists) tend to define 'atheist' using the former definition, and those who believe in a god or gods tend to define 'atheist' using the latter. In both cases, this seems to be a demagogic practice intended to classify either as many or as few people as atheists as possible. Negative atheists are usually referred to as agnostics.

While neither definition of atheism entails any personality traits of atheists or of those who do believe in a god or gods (sometimes referred to as 'theists'), both atheists and theists tend to believe that certain traits apply to all atheists/theists. Common myths about atheists include: all atheists are arrogant, immoral, rebellious, and/or intolerant; all atheists really believe in (the Christian) God and are simply in denial; all atheists are depressed and believe life is meaningless. Common myths about theists include: all theists are naive and/or intolerant; all theists don't really believe in their god(s) and just pretend to because they're afraid that if people realised that no god exists, there will be complete chaos; all theists are weak and look to their god(s) for comfort. It hardly needs to be said that while these myths apply to a select few individuals in each group, the claim that they apply to every atheist or every theist is false.

Negative atheists justify their lack of belief in god(s) by pointing out that no evidence exists for the existence of god(s), and justify their lack of disbelief by pointing out that no evidence exists for the nonexistence thereof. Positive atheists often assert that while no evidence for god(s) exists, it should be by default assumed that they do not, until evidence is found. Some also try to use logic to prove that God does not exist, but this is often attached by theists and weak atheists as being mere wordplay. Some theists and weak atheists also assert that logic is superficial and meaningless (which is an easily refutable claim), and that only one's inner feelings can lead them to truth. Some positive atheists (and deists), however, are led to their stance through their feelings. Some feel that because the world is filled with evil and malice, and all-loving, benevolent god cannot exist. Those who are led to their stance through this feeling, however, cannot justify their disbelief in a malevolent god in the same way. Some reject the idea of the Christian God because the Bible states that non-Christians are condemned to Hell, and reject the idea as being too disturbing. While the same argument can also be made against the gods of various other religions, including Islam and Zoroastrianism, it cannot be made against every god (in Judaism, for example, Hell does not exist).
"Do you believe in God?"
"No, I don't."
"Then you're an atheist?"
"I suppose. I don't believe God doesn't exist, so I could probably be called an agnostic instead. Some atheists may consider me a 'negative atheist', though."
"Don't you think atheists.. er, would I call them 'positive atheists'? Don't you think they're intolerant?"
"Yes, you'd call them 'positive atheists', and no, I wouldn't say they're all intolerant. While some may come off as arrogant, they're just unable to understand how you can believe in God; you probably come off as arrogant to them, also, because you're unable to understand how they can disbelieve in God. People on both sides really need to make an effort to be more tolerant, and to discuss their stance on religion without using childish, immature insults."
by Anonymous March 01, 2005
4825 1054
A person who believes that there is no god. A person who rejects the validity of religion as a concept and generally has more faith in science and logic.
No, I don't go to church; I'm an atheist.
by YourMom August 05, 2004
3143 999
One who believes in no god/divine creator/supreme deity. There are many different types of atheists:

1. An atheist who attacks others because they have a religion.

2. An atheist who accepts the fact that everyone has different beliefs. Describes me.

3. An atheist who can be either one of the above, yet is also a selfish ass hole who celebrates Christmas just so he can get shit. Also describes me :)
Religious guy: It's 'atheist', dumbshit

Me: You believe in Jesus? That's cool. I prefer not to.
Religious chick: I love you! You're so nice!

Me in July: I'm an atheist!
by Redwhitencrue25 July 21, 2005
1820 709
Let's end the stereotypes about atheists now.

I'm an atheist. Does this mean I love science? Not necessarily. I simply did not feel anything whatsoever going to church when I was little, and therefore, stopped believing. It was when I got older that the "Is realigion really plausible?" thoughts popped into my head.

Does it mean that I have faith in the government? Au contraire--I think the government and politicians and all that junk are mostly corrupt and stupid.

Do I hate other people for believing in God? Nope. In fact, I love diversity. The world would be boring as hell if we were all atheists.

Have I ever gone out of my way to convince a theist that what I believe is right? That's wrong too. I can't tell you for sure whether I'm right or wrong--it's not like a have proof or anything--so I don't bother with arguing over it. Unfortunately, a lot of theists don't pay me the same respect. :(

Am I evil? A theist may think so, but I don't. I love giving to charities, I participate in my school's choir, I love my family, and I don't smoke, drink excessively, or take sex lightly, I've never betrayed anyone, I get good grades, and I'm really nice to others.

I also have faith--not in a God, but in myself and those around me. I believe in living my life as happily as I can, since it is the only life I think I have to live. I don't constantly look to God to pull me through tough times; I pull myself through and make myself stronger.
"It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so" ~Ernestine Rose

"Atheism is a non-prophet organization" ~George Carlin
by Miss Logic May 05, 2006
2149 1175
A person who believes in the absence of any supreme being or anything regarding the supernatural...There are 2 kinds

Good Atheist: A person who has read and studied thoroughly the concepts of science and religion. He/She has come to the conclusion that there is no supreme being and therefore does not believe in any god or gods. In spite of this however they are open to the concept and enjoy having mature, intellectual debates on the issue without being critical or condescending.

Bad Athiest: A self-involved, egotistical jackass who does not believe in a supreme being not because what they have read or studied but usually because they hate religion or religious people. They usually go out of there way to make religious people feel bad and accuse them of being close-minded while they, themselves, will not listen to any other arguments but there own. They are impossible to try to reason with because they are usually self-centered, condescending,unscientific, and downright immature. Their arguments are usually full of anti-religious cliches and therefore easy to break apart.
Religious Person: I believe in God
Good Atheist: Really? that's interesting. I don't personally but I'd love to sit down with you and discuss the issue sometime

Religious Person: I belive in God
Bad Atheist: WHAT!!!?!? You belive in God?....hahahahaha I don't believe in God I have absolute faith in science because it's completley accurate and irrefutable
by thetruthwillsetyoufree June 11, 2008
1271 428
1. A person who does not believe in a deity or God.

(In extreme cases, it is also a person who criticizes others for believing "fairy tales" from the Bible. These people are not atheists, as they would have you think, but elitists, and should be given a severe beating.)
An Atheist does not go to Hell, because in his mind, there is no Hell.
by Dark Chaos July 29, 2004
2264 1453
An atheist is a person who does not believe in any sort of deity. Though this does not neccessarily precipitate smugness, it can often lead to it. Atheists however are impossible to stereotype just as any person of any other faith is impossible to stereotype due to the wide nature of this group.
"Do you go to Church?"
"No I am an atheist."
by Guy February 01, 2005
1169 627