- the belief that there is no God, or denial that God or gods exist
Origin of atheismMiddle French athéisme ; from Classical Greek atheos, godless ; from a-, without + theos, god: see theo-
Origin of atheismFrench athéisme, from athée, atheist, from Greek atheos, godless : a-, without; see a–1 + theos, god; see dh&emacron;s- in Indo-European roots.
- a′the·is′tic, a′the·is′ti·cal
- (narrowly) Belief that no deities exist (sometimes including rejection of other religious beliefs).
- (broadly) Rejection of belief that any deities exist (with or without a belief that no deities exist).
- (very broadly) Absence of belief that any deities exist (including absence of the concept of deities).
- (loosely, uncommon) Absence of belief in a particular deity, pantheon, or religious doctrine (notwithstanding belief in other deities).
The term atheism may refer either to:
- (rejection of belief): an explicit rejection of belief, with or without a denial that any deities exist (explicit atheism),
- (absence of belief): an absence of belief in the existence of any deities (weak atheism or soft atheism),
- (affirmative belief): an explicit belief that no gods exist (strong atheism or hard atheism).
16th century French athéisme, from athée (“atheist”), a loan from Ancient Greek ἄθεος (átheos, “godless”), from ἀ- (a-, “without”) + θεός (theos, “deity, god”). First English attestation dates to 1587 (OED).