Portal:Atheism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Atheism Portal


Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

The etymological root for the word atheism originated before the 5th century BCE from the ancient Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)". In antiquity. it had multiple uses as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society, those who were forsaken by the gods, or those who had no commitment to belief in the gods. The term denoted a social category created by orthodox religionists into which those who did not share their religious beliefs were placed. The actual term atheism emerged first in the 16th century. With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. The first individuals to identify themselves using the word atheist lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment. The French Revolution, noted for its "unprecedented atheism," witnessed the first major political movement in history to advocate for the supremacy of human reason.

Arguments for atheism range from philosophical to social and historical approaches. Rationales for not believing in deities include arguments that there is a lack of empirical evidence, the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, the rejection of concepts that cannot be falsified, and the argument from nonbelief. Nonbelievers contend that atheism is a more parsimonious position than theism and that everyone is born without beliefs in deities; therefore, they argue that the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of gods but on the theist to provide a rationale for theism. Although some atheists have adopted secular philosophies (e.g. secular humanism), there is no one ideology or code of conduct to which all atheists adhere.

Since conceptions of atheism vary, accurate estimations of current numbers of atheists are difficult. According to global Win-Gallup International studies, 13% of respondents were "convinced atheists" in 2012, 11% were "convinced atheists" in 2015, and in 2017, 9% were "convinced atheists". However, other researchers have advised caution with WIN/Gallup figures since other surveys which have used the same wording for decades and have a bigger sample size have consistently reached lower figures. An older survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 2004 recorded atheists as comprising 8% of the world's population. Other older estimates have indicated that atheists comprise 2% of the world's population, while the irreligious add a further 12%. According to these polls, Europe and East Asia are the regions with the highest rates of atheism. In 2015, 61% of people in China reported that they were atheists. The figures for a 2010 Eurobarometer survey in the European Union (EU) reported that 20% of the EU population claimed not to believe in "any sort of spirit, God or life force".

More about Atheism...
Show new selections

Selected article

The pansy, symbol of freethought.
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition, or any other dogma. The cognitive application of freethought is known as freethinking, and practitioners of freethought are known as freethinkers. Freethought holds that individuals should neither accept nor reject ideas proposed as truth without recourse to knowledge and reason. Thus, freethinkers strive to build their beliefs on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of the factual/logical fallacies and intellectually-limiting effects of authority, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, sectarianism, tradition, urban legend, and all other dogmatic or otherwise fallacious principles. When applied to religion, the philosophy of freethought holds that, given presently-known facts, established scientific theories, and logical principles, there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena.

Selected picture

"The Descent of the Modernists", by E. J. Pace
Credit: E. J. Pace

"The Descent of the Modernists", by E. J. Pace, first appearing in his book Christian Cartoons, published in 1922. The cartoon refers to a schism that originated in the 1920s and '30s within the Presbyterian Church but soon spread, affecting every denomination of Christianity in the United States. Two broad factions within Protestantism emerged; Fundamentalists who held to traditional Christian Orthodoxy, and Modernists who to varying degrees argued that "antiquated" beliefs should be modified for the times. This Fundamentalist cartoon portrays Modernism as a gradual descent from Christianity to atheism.

In this month

Julia Sweeney

Selected biography

Engels 1856.jpg

Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820, Barmen, Prussia – August 5, 1895, London, England) a 19th-century German social scientist and philosopher, developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). Engels also edited the second and third volumes of Das Kapital after Marx's death.


Did you know...

Ferrante Pallavicino

Categories

WikiProjects

Selected quote

Charles Bradlaugh
I maintain that the opprobrium cast upon the word Atheism is a lie. I believe Atheists as a body to be men deserving respect... I do not care what kind of character religious men may put round the word Atheist, I would fight until men respect it.

Topics

Featured content

Featured article star.png


Featured articles

Good articles

Featured pictures


Things you can do

Things you can do

Related portals

Socrates blue version2.png P religion world.svg Nuvola apps kalzium.png EndlessKnot03d.png
Philosophy Religion Science Spirituality

Associated Wikimedia

Atheism on  Wikinews  Atheism on  Wikiquote  Atheism on  Wikibooks  Atheism on  Wikisource  Atheism on  Wiktionary  Atheism on  Wikiversity  Atheism on Wikimedia Commons
News Quotations Manuals & Texts Texts Definitions Learning resources Images & Media
Wikinews-logo.svg
Wikiquote-logo.svg
Wikibooks-logo.svg
Wikisource-logo.svg
Wiktionary-logo-en.svg
Wikiversity-logo.svg
Commons-logo.svg