Is atheism a belief system?

It is the only epistemologically sound reaction to such a claim.

Hitchens’s razor is an epistemological razor (a general rule for rejecting certain knowledge claims) that states “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence .” The razor was created by and named after author and journalist Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011).

The person making the claim carries the entire epistemological burden of proof, and this includes accurately defining any deity they claim exists outside of their own imagination.


Indeed, even a cursory survey of the literature shows there’s far more than an “absence of belief” going on,

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It’s indicative of the sloppy reasoning inherent in some atheists, when I see how many atheists here mistakenly believe there’s just a single definition of the term.

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So what, atheism isn’t a belief, and it has no doctrine or dogma. So an atheist is free to believe whatever they want, this doesn’t change what atheism means.

You’re not the first theist who has tried this lie, it is going nowhere, and your motive is abundantly clear, you have failed to demonstrate anything beyond unevidenced anonymous hearsay, and irrational assumptions, so you attack atheism to deflect from your failure. Why bother seeking out atheists if all you want to do is deny what they plainly tell you?


Not one atheist has said that, I do wonder if it really is dishonesty on your part, or just a poor grasp of language, and how dictionaries are complied? The primary definition is clear, you are denying this in favour of one that suits your agenda, to what end though? As if an atheist doesn’t themselves know what they do and do not think or believe? Now that’s sloppy reasoning.


Citing Hitchens is a somewhat desperate step. Hitchens “razor” is feigned erudition, no philosopher pays lip service to the phrase.

If he’d been the slightest bit thorough he’d not have overlooked the fact that almost claims about God existing are accompanied by evidence. Rejecting that evidence is what he did.

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So its agreed then, there are several materially distinct definitions of atheism? Does anyone here have the testicular rectitude to just answer with a “yes”?

My dear chap, restrain yourself please. This is a definition of atheism from a 1936 encyclopedia I have in my library:

"One who asserts ‘There is no God’ ".

Such an assertion very much incorporates beliefs, so I hope you’ll retract this baseless accusation of lying.

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If you go to a pride march, and keep telling everyone you’re gay, then it’s your fault that you meant happy, and not theirs that they’ve misunderstood you. Words evolve over time, and while etymology is no doubt fascinating, in all discourse one should attempt to be as clear as possible, and so use the most commonly understood definition, or make it clear you’re deviating from it.

The primary dictionary definition of atheism is a lack or absence of belief in a deity, and every single atheist here has made it abundantly clear that this accurately defines their atheism.

Coming here and telling atheists what atheism means, when you’re a) not using the commonly understood definition, and b) repeatedly ignoring how the atheists here have all told you unequivocally they define their atheism, using that commonly understood primary dictionary definition, is either very sloppy reasoning, or very dishonest. So do you have the integrity to acknowledge that the redundant and secondary definitions you’re trying to pretend are of some significance, do not apply here?

like your Spartacus straw man, no one cares, because it has zero relevance to what they’ve told you. You’re not a very good listener I’m afraid.


Congratulations, I don’t care, I have a kindle so I own a library as well, I can also read a dictionary? In Rome early Christians were called atheist, from now on I shall insist you’re an atheist, indeed I shall imply all Christians are, now is that sound and honest reasoning?

Do behave “my dear chap”. See I can be patronising as well.

Not unless you have the integrity to admit it is a) an outdated definition that has been superseded in common use, and b) that it does not apply to any atheist here, as they have had the courtesy to explain to innumerable times.


I didn’t “tell atheists what atheism means” I quoted one of the several definitions, in this case I quoted Funk and Wagnall’s 1936 edition, volume I.

I would have, but I have no idea materially distinct means in this context.

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It means not logically equivalent as opposed to just being lexically different.

I was not expecting that I - a theist - would know more about atheism than some atheists here, this is something I suggest some of you acquaint yourself with:

Atheists vs Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

I quote:

our entry is on its meaning in the philosophical literature. Traditionally speaking, the definition in our entry—that ‘atheism’ means the denial of the existence of God—is correct in the philosophical literature .

That is what distinct means. What does materially distinct mean in this context?

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Perhaps I should have said semantically distinct, that’s a better phrasing.

This isn’t a pride march though. It’s the Debate Room section of the forum in a site dedicated to atheism.

yes you have, here…

and here…

and here…

Actually the razor predates Hitchens, and has been an epistemological razor used by philosophers for centuries. The absurdity of your latest hubristic absolute, involving the sum total of all philosophers speaks for itself. Argumentum ad populum fallacy.

Yet all you’ve managed is irrational arguments for a first cause riddled with known logical fallacies, and erroneous and hubristic claims for the anonymous hearsay in the gospels.

Yes he did set a higher bar for credulity than anecdotal claims and anonymous hearsay from archaic superstition, but then he rightly would not have found that compelling evidence, and I can see why.

is it the commonly used and understood definition? Do any of the atheists conform to that definition?

Now pay attention as I now you’re on something of a crusade:

That definition would rule out all the atheists here from being atheists, whereas the current dictionary definition would include those who made such a denial. Now is it rational or even expedient to have a definition of atheism that excludes large numbers of people who do not believe any deity exists?

FYI, I knew, as I’m sure most people did of that reference, I’ve seen it before, from the same clowns who made the same nonsensical argument you’re presenting, many many times. It doesn’t apply to the atheists here as they have stated plainly, and since it isn’t the definition in common usage, it likely doesn’t apply to most atheists.

Atheism and atheist are not the same thing, atheists fall into different categories, but they all share one common trait, they lack belief in any deity or deities, just as atheism defines it.


I am just discussing the subject, expressing my views, how I see things, I am disagreeing with some here on some areas, if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you desist from participating in these discussions.

Oh I think not champ. Also atheism isn’t a belief, so it would be idiotic to imagine a lack of belief can be challenged, as the burden of proof lies with the belief. Now did you want to ignore your lie that you haven’t told any atheists what atheism means?

Here’s your duplicitous claim then:


Twice, though that was at least implied rather than implicitly stated.

A third time, laughably referencing an 87 year old philosophy encyclopaedia, as if that better reflect current usage than a dictionary.

You also failed to address anything in my posts, which suggest it is you who doesn’t want to be challenged, otherwise why clip a single sentence and use it for such an obvious troll? I’ll post here as and when I am minded to thank you.

Here’s the rest that you ignored anyway, several question in there, you don’t have to answer if it’s too challenging for you. :wink: