Non-Theistic Religion

What is the difference between nontheism and atheism?

Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in the existence of god or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of God and differs from atheism.

I’m looking for thoughts and opinions on nontheistic religion.

Ty in advance! :slight_smile:

All I can do is offer my own personal definition on the difference between a theist and atheist. A theist believes in some form of god(s) while an atheist lacks belief in such.

You either believe there is a god, or you do not. There is no middle ground.

And a religion is built upon the assumption there is a god. From the Oxford:

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

Defining “nontheism” (IMO ) is splitting hairs. There are many who do not believe in a god, but because it makes the wife happy or could lead to death or loss of social standing or a job, they just nod their heads and pretend.


Ty for the response. I can totally relate and understand your point of view.

The definition of religion is a controversial and complicated subject in religious studies with scholars failing to agree on any one definition.

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Sounds the same to me. All atheists are non-theists. Atheism has been defined by theists, “If you do not believe in their god you are an Atheist.” A - without Theist - belief in a god or gods. It seems to me that a ‘non- without or missing ’ Thiest - belief in god or Gods’ is the same thing.

.Atheists can be both religious and non-religious. Regardless if you are ‘apathetic’ or not. Atheism is about “BELIEF.” You either believe a god can exist or you do not believe it. This is a ‘True Dichotomy.’

Where people get confused is that each prong of a Dichotomy must be addressed separately. So, if you come to me and say ‘God Exists.’ And then, I respond, ;I don’t believe you.’ I am not asserting God does not exist. I am only claiming that you have NOT demonstrated your position. The exact same is true if someone asserts, “God does not exist.” I am being completely consistant when I ask, ‘How do you know this?’ Again if the argument is not sustainable, I can reject the claim. By rejecting both claims, I am still an Atheist. “I do not believe in God or gods.” The fact that neither side of the dichotomy can be sufficiently evidenced to warrant belief only means that I should not believe it until such evidence is forthcoming.

I personally believe the position that ‘God does not exist.’ far outweighs the position that ‘God does exist.’ After all, 99% of the time, atheists and Christians are in complete agreement on the existence of gods. Atheists simply go one god further.

Apathetic or not… What is it you believe? Apathy towards a religion does not affect belief. You can not be apathetic towards something you do not hold as true or existant. Currently, I just don’t think about flyig purple unicorns; however, if someone came up to me and told me he was selling flying purple unicorns, I would form a belief. I would form a belief. I would certainly ask for evidence. Were I to reject his assertion, on what apathetic principle would I do that? Apathy is not a choice when it comes to ‘belief.’

Non-theistic religions include some Buddhist Sects, Taoist sects, Confucianism, Scientology does not have a creator god and is an atheistic religion, Unitarian Universalists are atheists, though these churches also include Christians, pagans, and others.

The only qualification for being labled ‘Atheist’ is non-belief in God or gods.

Just a general reminder to all reading this particular topic.

a person who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.

a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.


a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

not having or involving a belief in a god or gods.

What is the difference between nontheism and atheism?
Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in the existence of god or gods.

I was looking for something similar but I wanted to include nonthesim

NO, Agnosticism says nothing about belief. You have crossed the line. A gnostic – Without Knowledge. A -Theist Without belief.

An agnostic can believe in Gods. An Agnostic can be an Atheist. Most atheists are Agnostic Atheists. In fact, I will argue that everyone is Agnostic. Can you demonstrate any Knowledge at all about God or Gods? Anything at all that would qualify as knowledge outside of your personal beliefs. I seriously doubt that you can.

"God Exists’ is an unfalsifiable claim. Were there any knowledge at all to be had, this would not be the case.

"Not having a belief in god’ IS NOT an attribute of Agnosticism.

I view it as a maybe…agnostic that is

One is a theist, or an atheist. There is no middle ground.


non-theism sounds just like atheism., You have not shown how 'non- ’ meaning (NOT a theist) is different from a-theist (a -meaning without theism) All non-theists are without theism. Where are you seeing a difference? I have no problem at all calling myself an non-theist. It’s the same thing as a-theist.

Non-theist (not a theist)
A-thiest (Without theism)

How are they different?

I found this to be accurate and helpful.

It is a range of both religious and non religious as not all religion have a supernatural aspect involved. The term religion has been hijacked by theists imo.


Non-theist religion?.. Hmmm… :thinking:… Interesting… Well, at first glance it looks like a textbook oxymoron. However, after a bit of mentallectual contemplationin’, I came up with a possible example of such a thing. Try this… SPORTS.

Pretty sure we all know somebody who treats their favorite sports team like a god. They gather with other faithful followers for regular “religious” events. Complex rituals and “approved” clothing and accessories are often involved. They develop custom chants and sing special songs to praise and glorify their athletic franchise of choice. And, most importantly in religion, they contribute a large portion of their income to support their holy team. So, while there are obviously no god(s) involved, it is certainly not a far stretch to consider it a religion.


With the addition of: ritual, symbolism and some type of rules or guiding principles, moral philosophy could be considered a religion …imho

That is Atheism.

This does not address ‘Belief.’ If I tell you 'GOD EXISTS AND YOU ARE GOING TO BUIRN IN HELL IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE… You either believe what I have said or you do not believe it. Being apathetic is not a choice.

I have already explained Agnosticism is not exclusive. There are agnostic Christians and Agnostic Atheists. Your distinction is eronious. "Nontheism is a useless term.’

The term religion, has not been hijaced by theists. I already gave you Buddhism, Taoism, Scientology, and Confucianism. All RELIGIONS that have no gods. Atheistic religions.

Your distinctions are superfluous and you have a misunderstanding of Atheism, and Agnosticism. LOOK AT THE CHARD DAVID PROVIDED Agnostics are atheists and they are Religious as well. Agnosticism is NOT about belief. It is about what you KNOW. It has nothing to do with being Christian or Atheist.

Your distinctions make no sense.

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I look at nontheism as the possible evolution of religion. I’m of the opinion that religion does not need the supernatural. But in order for a religion to qualify as a religion, it does need some symbolism, a ritual of sorts and a set of rules and/or guiding principles.

Here I have an example of an official Non Theistic religion that currently exists (formally and legally) in the United States. This vid is about 13.5 minutes long and should be viewed in full to completely understand the point of it… in this particular case as there are other non theiostic/ atheistic religions that are new including: atheistic christianity, secular judaism, secular buddhism. Scientology does not make the cut it is something completely different.

Moral Philosophy and Non Theistic religion are of great interest to me… as a hobby

P.S I also find the other above examples of atheistic religious to be an evolution of their particular religions. They will take part in the ritual etc, they agree with some of the ‘rules’ but perhaps not all, and they dismiss the supernaturalism of the religion.

Non Theism such as Apatheism are just attitudes towards religion. It even states it in the link you posted. End of discussion.


Ty for taking part in the discussion.

I’m of the opinion that theistic religion will never evolve as long as it includes beliefs in supernatural deity or deities. I feel that non theistic religion is the only way a religion could ever possibly evolve to keep up with modern science which evolves daily… hourly.

I don’t know what world you live in, but Science and Religion do not and have never mixed. Religions such as Islam and Christianity have their own set of rules such as CREATIONISM that has nothing to do with Science.