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The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine , Volume 18, Number 3. Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow each other up in his name. Arabs blow themselves up in his name.
The term “atheist” describes a person who does not believe that God or a divine being exists. Worldwide there may be as many as a billion atheists, although social stigma, political pressure, and intolerance make accurate polling difficult. For the most part, atheists have presumed that the most reasonable conclusions are the ones that have the best evidential support. And they have argued that the evidence in favor of God’s existence is too weak, or the arguments in favor of concluding there is no God are more compelling.
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities . [ 1 ] [ 2 ] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] Atheism is contrasted with theism , [ 8 ] [ 9 ] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists . [ 9 ] [ 10 ] The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος ( atheos ), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshipped by the larger society. With the spread of freethought , skeptical inquiry , and subsequent increase in criticism of religion , application of the term narrowed in scope.