Atheism has been around for as long as man has worshipped deities. The term ‘Atheism’ originated in Ancient Greece over 500 years before Christ was allegedly born.
It’s derived from the word ‘Atheos’ which means ‘Without Gods’ (ᾰ̓́θεος – Godless).
As opposed to ‘Atheism’, ‘Theism’ is derived from the word ‘Theos’ (θεός – The belief in one God who is the creator and the ruler of the universe’)
As we can see, there’s a clear distinction between the two words. One literally says a person is ‘Godless, without God’, and the other is claiming a ‘Belief in a God’.
Now we move onto modern definitions, and there are several.
• The first definition of ‘Atheism’ is ‘A lack of belief, or disbelief in the existence of God/s, or deities’.
This is an example of Negative/Weak/Soft Atheism, where there’s disbelief but the person does not assert that there’s no God/s.
• The second definition of ‘Atheism’ is ‘Not believing in the existence of God/s, or deities’.
This is an example of Positive/Strong/Hard Atheism, where they do not believe in God/s, but additionally does assert that there are no God/s.
• The third definition of ‘Atheism’ is simply the rejection of ‘Theism’.
• The fourth definition of ‘Atheism’ is ‘Apatheism’ which is a person living their life as though there are no God/s, and using nature as an explanation for everything, but without questioning the nature of God/s. This is a term that some scientists claim to live by.
• The fifth definition for ‘Atheism’ is ‘Epistemological Atheism’ which is essentially ‘Agnosticism‘ in which the argument is that nothing can be known about the existence of God/s.
• The sixth definition of ‘Atheism’ is ‘Religious Atheism’ which involves an atheist religion without a God, like Buddhism, Taoism, or the Church of Satan.
• The seventh definition of ‘Atheism’ is ‘Axiological Atheism’ which is a rejection of God in which humanity as an absolute, and is a source of moral standards. ‘Humanism’ is an example of this.
So, to conclude, there are seven versions of modern day atheism that are accepted, and these will often overlap, but the easiest way to explain ‘Atheism’ without someone claiming it’s a belief, a faith, or religion is to just say that you are GODLESS.