What is atheism 3


1 attempt at definition

In order to be able to discuss the topic of atheism, a definition of the term must first be made. The pantheistic concept of God, in which the solitude of the universe takes on the creative role, possibly counts in the eyes of a theologian who wants to see God as a “personality” with character and irritability, as too passive and technical and thus atheistic.

1.1 Strong and weak atheism

A distinction must be made between a "strong" and a "weak" form of atheism:

The "strong" atheist believes that there are no gods (positive atheism).
The "weak" atheist does not believe that there are gods (negative atheism).

In addition, there is also a form of practical atheism that recognizes the theoretical possibility that such entities exist, but is not based on it in practical life (see also Ignosticism).

The forms of weak and practical atheism are difficult to distinguish from agnosticism. Agnosticism (from a-gnoein, not knowing) emphasizes having no knowledge of any gods. In view of the lack of knowledge, agnostics reject both a belief in gods and a blanket belief in the non-existence of higher beings.

In the past, atheists were often only characterized by their negative attitude towards established religions and their teachings, such as the view that the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible and the Koran were purely human work and not inspired by a god, or the view that Jesus Christ was not resurrected or even never lived. Since atheism was a death-worthy crime at many times (even our current penal code contains the blasphemy paragraph), atheists often pretended (consciously or unconsciously) to be deists or pantheists or recognized the existence of God pro forma, but discussed against specific theological questions or the practical consequences of the supposedly divinely inspired teachings.

1.2 Atheism in various forms

Today atheism presents itself in a variety of orientations: For example, the free thinker movement, humanism and existentialism are closely linked to atheism. Modern socialism and communism are often atheistic, and anarchism is very often too; It should be noted, however, that there is a school of thought within Christian theology which, with reference to the Jewish-Biblical criticism of rule (1. Book of Samuel, Chapter 12, Book of Judges, Chapter 9) depicts anarchism as an ideal religious form of living together. Further orientations of atheism are materialism, nihilism and scientific naturalism.

1.3 Immanuel Kant

According to a popular opinion, Immanuel Kant showed in his work Critique of Pure Reason that there is no proof of the existence of a god. In fact, Kant only showed that the arguments for the existence of a god that had been customary up to that point had no evidential value in the strict sense. Kant later tried to close this gap by presenting what he believed to be valid proof of the existence of a god in the Critique of Practical Reason. He found little approval in this. The arguments against the previous proofs of God influenced the development of philosophy and even logic.

1.4 Analytical philosophy

In the analytical philosophy developed in the 20th century, questions about the existence or non-existence of gods as well as metaphysical questions were initially viewed as nonsensical, untreatable or even irrelevant. The contemporary analytical philosophy, meanwhile, deals extensively with metaphysical and, especially, religious-philosophical topics. The proponents of positive atheism, in contrast to the proponents of only negative atheism, not only do not believe that one or more gods exist, but also that no god exists, which rational conviction is based on a series of atheological arguments, each in lead to the conclusion that gods do not exist. If, for example, it can be shown that the properties ascribed to the God of the three monotheistic world religions are semantically absurd or logically contradictory, then that God cannot exist, since the logically impossible cannot be real. The decisive point is that although one can infer from a mere logical impossibility to unreality in a modal-logically valid way (e.g. if it is impossible that it rains, then it doesn't rain either.), But not from mere logical possibility to reality ( For example, if it is possible that it will rain, this does not necessarily mean that it will rain.). The often read assertion that one cannot in principle prove the non-existence of gods is in any case wrong. However, if the theists succeed in presenting an absolutely consistent and congruent characterization of the divine being, then at least the purely a priori arguments of the atheologists cannot lead to success. However, one can still try to refute the existence of a god by showing contradictions between empirical statements about the world and the properties assigned to the respective god. Such an argument is e.g. the theodicy problem, in which an attempt is made to refute a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good based on the empirical finding that there is evil in the world.

2 Religious Atheism

An atheistic point of view in itself is not yet a religion of its own, but only the definition of a single, albeit far-reaching, question.

Furthermore, the term religion is very complex. In this way, religious aspects can also be viewed with professing atheists. For example, the Stalin cult in the Soviet Union, or the youth consecration, which is intended as a substitute ritual, but gives rise to cult activities of its own.

Taoism, viewed in the West as both a philosophy and a religion, negates the existence of a deity.

2.1 Buddhist philosophy

In Buddhism, the existence of gods is not denied in principle, but properties such as omnipotence and creative power are not ascribed to them.

Due to its special history, Buddhism in the West often focuses on the philosophical character, while in its countries of origin it has the typical manifestations of a folk religion.

3 Practical Atheism

In the industrialized countries of the West (around the turn of the millennium) many people nominally and also organizationally belong to the churches, but neither believe in the central beliefs of Christianity (if known at all), nor do they orient their lives accordingly - they are therefore atheists in their life practice . This development, which in contrast to theoretical philosophical atheism could be summarized under the name of practical atheism, is supported by intellectual tendencies in the priesthood to "modernize" teaching (i.e. to adapt it to the zeitgeist).

A total ban on religion was declared in Albania in 1967 and the country described itself as the first "atheist state".


  • "The real God that Christianity worships is there itself." (Ludwig Feuerbach)

  • “There is nothing to support the idea of ​​a personal god. I am an atheist. There were great evolutionary biologists who believed in God. But I never understood how one can have two completely separate subjects in the brain, and science lies in one and religion in the other. "(Ernst Mayr)

  • "God is dead, but as human beings are, there will perhaps still be caves for millennia in which one shows one's shadow, and we, we also have to defeat one's shadow." (Friedrich Nietzsche)

  • "Man created God in his own image." (Ludwig Feuerbach)

  • "Coincidence is perhaps God's pseudonym if he does not want to sign himself" (Anatole France)

  • “The origin, yes, the very essence of religion is the desire. If man had no wishes, he would also have no gods. What a person wants to be, but is not, he makes his god. "(Ludwig Feuerbach)

  • "God must be dead." (Michail Bakunin)

This article is based on the article Atheism from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and is available under the GNU Free Documentation License. A list of the authors is available on Wikipedia.

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