Atheism terminology

In terminology, atheism terminology refers to terms, types (see: atheism types), definitions, phrases, labels, etc., related to non-belief in the existence of god, gods, god theory, god hypotheses, and or god talk.

The following is a work-in-progress A-to-Z listing of relevant terms related to atheism:


1. Abioism The denial or disbelief of the existence of life (e.g. life does not exist; defunct theory of life); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
2.Accommodationist atheiste.g. Brian Greene (Ѻ)
3. Achristism The denial or disbelief of the existence of Jesus Christ; see: atheism types by denial and belief.
4.Aggressive atheist One who ridicules religious beliefs publicly via humor, e.g. Francois Rabelais; someone who is very “aggressive” with their atheism, e.g. Pat Condell (Ѻ)(Ѻ).
7.Agnostic atheist(Ѻ) (Ѻ); Jeff Tuhtan (2015) (Ѻ)
8.Agnostic labeled atheistSomeone who self-identifies as "agnostic" but is labeled by the public as atheist, e.g. Neil Tyson or Carl Sagan.
9.Agnostic soft atheistOne who is not 100% sure about a lot of things, in the universe, but is highly skeptical. (Ѻ)
11.Analytical atheist One who “doesn't claim that god does not exist, but that the usual concept when analyzed closely is incoherent, so that existence of an instance makes no sense” (Aaron Sloman, 2008)
12. Anti-evolution atheist One who believes (a) god does not exist (or "there is no god"), but also that (b) "humans did not come from monkeys" (e.g. it happens naturalistically, similar to a chicken coming from an egg), e.g. ex-Muslim atheist Angela (guest on Atheism Reviews); a term derivative for a seeming lack of educational basics (someone raised to adulthood in Iran who came to America).
13.Anti-theist Someone, e.g. Christopher Hitchens [DN:7] [5], who believes that religion poisons everything and should therefore not just be declined but actively opposed (Ѻ). [3]
14.Apatheist Someone of the mindset “who cares whether there’s a god or not?”, e.g. Bob Seidensticker, prior to getting into debate, years after college, with a young-earth creationist (Ѻ); some classify Denis Diderot as one classify an apatheist, i.e. one who is apathetic about theism/atheism distinction, based on his reply when being accused of being an atheist that he simply did not care whether god existed or not. (Ѻ)
15.Applied atheist (Ѻ)
16.Apophatic atheist [11]
17. Asoulism The denial or disbelief in the existence of the soul; see: atheism types by denial and belief.
18.AsoulistSomeone who denies the existence of the soul, e.g. Jean Meslier (1729), Julien la Mettrie (1745), Francois Broussais (c.1820), David Weisman (2010) (possibly), Kurt Bell (2011), Patrick Fergus (2014), and Libb Thims (2015); along with "skeptical agnostic asoulists", e.g. Napoleon Bonaparte (c.1815).
19.Athe-agnosticSome who is a 20/80 blend of atheism and agnosticism, e.g. Brad Pitt, quote: "I'm probably 20 percent atheist and 80 percent agnostic." (Ѻ)
20.AtheismThe denial or disbelief in the existence of god.
21.Atheism atrocities fallacyThe assertion that all major atrocities of the world, from mass killings to genocides, are the result of communities loosing belief in the existence of god.
22.Atheism genealogy A genealogy showing the roots of all main brands of atheism.
23.Atheism-label avoider
24.Atheism ReviewsA 2014-launched YouTube channel launched by Libb Thims aimed at reviewing atheism vs theism debates and dialogues, and other atheism-related topics.
2#.Atheism synonymsTerms that synonymous with "atheist", give or take.
21.Atheism timeline
22.Atheism types
23.Atheism types by denial and belief
25.Atheist apologist (Ѻ)
26.Atheist ex-christian
27.Atheist ex-hindu

Atheist-label hesitant nonbelieverA nonbeliever who is hesitant to call themselves an atheist; e.g. Michael Ruse.
29.Atheist misconception

Atheist Muslim Similar to ‘Jewish atheists’, which expressly reject Judaism while retaining its cultural elements (Ali Rizvi, 2013). (Ѻ)
30.Atheist rabbit hole
31.Atheist’s Bible
32. Atheist’s creed
33.Atheistic moralityA morality system that does not involved the premise of existence of god or related god terms or god talk.

Atheistic religion
34.Atheism genealogyA genealogy of the various intellectual roots and branches of the main types or brands of atheism; see: atheism types by denial and belief.

Atheology Atheology study of atheism (Bo Jinn, 2013); nearly synonymous “natural atheology”, the attempt to prove that God does not exist or that at any rate it is unreasonable or irrational to believe that he does (Alvin Plantinga, 1974).
35. Avowed atheist [DN:7] One who as "vowed" that they are an atheist, Jean d’Alembert (Ѻ); someone who has admitted and stated in public that they are an absolute atheist, e.g. Baron d’Holbach (1770) (see: atheism timeline) [9]; the densest avowed atheists are those who do so publicly, privately, verbally and in print and have it carved on their tombstone; and or submitted, or who submit that their work so atheistic that it be “translated into Latin and then buried in the ground, so to avoid censorship, corruption, and or destruction”, by the religiously ignorant, so to correctly await discovery of super enlightened minds of the future (e.g. John Stewart).
36.Axiological atheist[10]

38. Believer A person who believes in god (compare: unbeliever).
39.Bible vs physical science (conflicts)

Born-atheistSimson Najovits (2009)
40.Buchnerian atheism The brand of atheism of German physician-physicist Ludwig Buchner (1824-1899); see: atheism types by denial and belief.

42.Christian captain parable
43.Closet atheistOne who keeps their godless beliefs a secret, e.g. hidden in one's closet.
44.Constructive atheist[10]
45.Creationism scientists ranked by idiocy
46.Crypto-atheist Someone whose work, e.g. Thomas Hobbes and Leviathan (1651) (see: atheism timeline) is presents a type of coded atheism. [6]

47.Dawkins number
48.Dawkins scale
50.De-facto atheist [DN:6]
See: Dawkins scale [2]

Disproofs of the existence of god
51.Dogmatic atheist [11] e.g. British biochemist eobiont-coiner Norman Pirie (1907-1997). [12]

Epicurean atheism

52.Epistemological atheist[10]
53.Evangelical atheist e.g. Ludwig Buchner (label: "father of German atheistic evangelism")
54.Evolution vs creationism in education
55.Existential atheism
56.Explicit atheism Someone, e.g. Democritus, who “explicitly” states in their work, philosophy, or argument that they “reject” and deny the existence of god; or assumed and stated explicitly that such an entity does not exist. [7]
57.Explicit negative atheist[3]
58.Extreme atheism One who has a belief system or belief state “extremely” nullified, devoid, and on the far right hand side of the Dawkins scale, i.e. devoid of belief in the existence of god (and god concepts, e.g. soul, spirit, life, death, free will, etc.)—often someone who employs extreme materialism (e.g. Ludwig Buchner or Julien la Mettrie) and or extreme mechanist (e.g. Henry Carey) in Stark classification—which, in the 19th century terms, would refer to someone who only believes in the existence matter and energy in various states of vacuum, or in 20th century terms, would refer to someone who only believes in the existence of fermions and bosons and the interactions and bound states they produce; and or someone who writes with an extreme “frenzied anger” (e.g. Jean Meslier).

59.Faithist An atheist, sometimes referred to as an “accommodationist”, who seeks common ground with religious believers despite differences. [3]
60.Famous atheists
61.Feuerbachian atheism The brand of atheism of German anthropologist philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
62.Firebrand atheist The type of atheism which advocates people openly and proudly saying “I’m an atheist” rather than the weaker “I’m not religious” sideskirting response of the 20th century (Ѻ); and or a type of aggressive no-holds-barred atheism, according to which point one is: “tell the truth about religion, with the emphasis on the ‘telling’; done, albeit, supposedly, in such a way that it’s the person under attack knows that it’s the ‘religious beliefs’ that are being attacked NOT the person; it’s a straight forward no daisies pronouncement that “religion is a lie—all of it—that’s the truth. Respect is earned, and religion hasn’t earned any”; and point two is “don’t’ feign respect for the respectful, i.e. you don’t respect religion that don’t give it respect.” (David Silverman, c.2011) (Ѻ) (Ѻ)
63.First true atheist
64.Founding fathers fallacy
65.Four horsemen of atheism
66.Freudian atheism The brand of atheism of Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939); see: atheism types by denial and belief.

Functional atheist Lucretius, according to Colin Sanders (2013), was a "functional atheist", i.e. he admitted that gods, made of atoms, may exist, but morality is in the hand of humans and gods are not involve in human affairs. [13]


68.God is dead

God talk
69.God void issue
70. Godless A work, theory, or philosophy free from suppositions of the existence of god, god theory, or god talk.
71. Goetheanism A type of Spinoza "god is nature" or "god = nature" model, i.e. Spinoza’s god view, intermixed with Shakespearean atheism, and a belief that human morality can is the same as that which exists at the chemical level (i.e. chemical morality).

Goethean morality
72. Gibbsianism

73.Hard-core atheist (Ѻ)
74.Haught disbeliever

Henotheism Adherence to one particular god out of several, especially by a family, tribe, or other group; coined by Friedrich Schelling (Ѻ); used by Max Muller, as a counterpoint to polytheism, and Wallis Budge (1904), in respect to aspects of Egyptian religion.
75.History of atheism
76.Holbachian atheism The brand of atheism of French materialism philosopher Baron d’Holbach (1664-1729); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
77.Humanist atheist (Ѻ)

78.Implicit atheism
79.Implicit atheist One who doesn’t believe in any gods but hasn’t consciously rejected such belief; though not in all cases (see: implicit atheism). [7]
80.Implicit negative atheist[3]
81.Intellectually fulfilled atheist The type of atheism made logically tenable after Darwin; according to Richard Dawkins (1986). (Ѻ)
82.Intentionally abrasive atheist An atheist who specifically likes to create friction and abrasion when interacting with theists, e.g. charlidog2External link icon (c)(Ѻ)

83.Journey atheist[11]

Judgment-believing agnosticSomeone who holds to the agnostic position, because they believe that wrong acts are accounted for after death, something like karma (poll by Thims of 18-year-old Christian raised guy, whose mother makes him pray and go to church go help his drug use issues).

84.King Atheist The powerful atheism type of Patrick Fergus (DN=9.5); someone who rebels against their parent’s religion starting in youth (his family religion was Irish Catholic); someone who is against all religions and dogma as absurd, even to the point of being no-holds-bared sacrilegious, e.g. burning a pile of wooden crosses, religious god figurines (e.g. Diagoras chopping up a wooden statue of Hercules to boil his turnips, or burning a pile of your Jewish friend’ kippahs (skull caps) in a fire (Fergus), etc.; and who is constantly talking about atheism and daily working to convert all of his friends to atheism, e.g. often times staying up all night talking till the break of dawn trying to convince their friends of the illogicalness of religion.

85.Legendary atheist Someone who is a “legend” in atheist community and in the theistic community, e.g. Ludwig Feuerbach, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx (Ѻ) (Ѻ); see: top 100 atheists for more.

Liberal Christian Go to church, believed in god, but don’t believe the Bible is the inspired word of god; stage below agnostic (Bart Ehrman, 2014).

Materialist One who believes that all that exists is “matter and motion”, “force and matter” (Buchner, 1855), or “stuff and force” (Mach on the materialists) (Ѻ); an atheism implicit belief system; the apex thought of which encapsulated in Friedrich Lange’s 1865 The History of Materialism, a treatise which, together with Kant and Schopenhauer, worked to mold Nietzsche into a top 100 atheist; after 1860s, superseded and or intermixed with: “evolutionist” (Darwin, 1859), “energeticist” (Ostwald, c.1910); among other variants: “thermodynamicist”, chemical thermodynamicist, physicochemical materialist, etc.
86.Marginal atheist
87Marxian atheism The brand of atheism of German dialectical materialism philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
88.Meslierian atheism The brand of atheism of French priest-philosopher Jean Meslier (1664-1729); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
89.Militant atheist An atheist hostile to religion, e.g. Friedrich Nietzsche. (Ѻ)
90. Mortalism The denial of the existence of the afterlife; and denial of the soul-without-body after death; see: atheism types by denial and belief.
91. Movement atheism Those atheists who are “on board” with the atheism movement and ignore the various kinds of atheists who are uninterested in it or hostile to it; there are four kinds: secularist atheists, identity atheists, evangelical atheists, and constructive atheists. (Ѻ)

92.Negative atheistaka weak atheist or implicit atheist. [10]
94.New atheism
New atheist
An "atheist who is finally speaking up" (Dave Rubin, 2015), as defined amid erudite discussion (V:38:00-39:00) with Sarah Haider; Generally, originating from Sam HarrisThe End of Faith (2004), which he began writing the day “after” 9/11; predominantly referring to Harris-Dawkins-Hitchens stylized type of media frenzy, intermixed with hues of: Neil Tyson, Daniel Dennett, Lawrence Krauss, Victor Stenger, among others.
95. Newtonianism
96.Nihilistic atheist[10]
97.Nietzschean atheism The brand of atheism of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900); see: atheism types by denial and belief.

NOMAAcronym for: Non-Overlapping Magisteria (Ѻ); Stephen Gould’s 1997 ideas about how religion (subjects: of human purposes, meanings, and values) and science (natural, physical, zoological, etc.) are two different domains of inquiry that do not overlap, and the latter “might illuminate, but can never resolve” the former.

Noma creationist Someone who believes in a NOMA-conceptualized model of creationism, e.g. David Roemer. (Ѻ)
98. Nonbeliever

99.Objective morality
100.Open atheist Someone who is "open" and out about their atheism beliefs; e.g. Ryan Grannell.
101Ostwaldian atheism The brand of atheism of German physical chemist Wilhelm Ostwald (1853-1932); see: atheism types by denial and belief.

102.Philosophical unbelievere.g. Matthew Turner (1782) (see: atheism timeline) [6]
103.Physicochemical atheismAtheism derived directly from physical chemistry; e.g. Goetheanism, Ostwaldian atheism, Thimsian atheism.

Political atheism
104.Positive atheistaka strong atheist or explicit atheist [10]
105.Practical atheistSomeone, e.g. Marcus Aurelius, who speaks from an agnostic position, but is atheist in practice. [10] One who "behaves as if there were no god" (Hecht, 2004); John Calvin (1509-1564) (Ѻ), e.g., supposedly, had a man named Monet beheaded for being a “practical atheist”, for doing things such as having a book of pornographic pictures he called his “New Testament”. [15]

Practicing atheist Simson Najovits (2009)

Problem of evil
106.Pure agnostic [DN:4]Impartial agnostic. [2]




109.Redford deconversion model
110.Reductionary atheist[10]
111.Reluctant atheistAn atheist who is looking for good reasons to reject atheism and return to religious (e.g. Christian) heritage. (Ѻ)
112.Rumored atheist Someone rumored to be "atheist", e.g. Barack Obama, whose father was an admitted atheist before he was born, or Adolf Hitler (Ѻ) who is frequently misattributed as the as the chief atheist of the atheism atrocities fallacy.

113.Schopenhauerian atheism The brand of atheism of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
114.Scientific atheist The type of atheist who bases their beliefs and non-beliefs squarely on scientific fact; someone not so concerned with a specific doctrine, but is quicker to point out that the myths that most religions provide as a foundation have no logical, scientific proof to back them up, e.g. Ludwig Buchner, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin (Ѻ). [8]
115.Scientific evangelical atheiste.g. Lawrence Krauss (Ѻ)
116.Semi-atheist Someone, according to Geoffrey Blainey, like Benedict Spinoza, who believes that natural laws explain the workings of the universe. [4]
117.Secular atheist e.g. Thucydides (Ѻ)
118.Secularism An upgrade from “freethought”, but less derisive or more preferable to some than “atheism”; meaning indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religious considerations; coined by George Holyoake in 1851. [1]
119.Soft atheist

Speculative atheist One who "intellectually rejects faith"; John Calvin (1509-1564) (Ѻ), e.g., had Jacques Gruet (c.1500-1547) (Ѻ) beheaded and his “anti-Christian writings” burned per charge he was a "speculative atheist" [14]
120.Spiritual atheist One who sees themselves as spiritual, though, have no connection to a particular belief in god or, in some cases, even in the transcendent. (Elaine Ecklund, 2010) (Ѻ)
121.Staunch atheist A semi-recent British term,; seemingly synonymous with “strong atheist”.
122.Stewartian atheism The brand of atheism of Scottish/English moral philosopher John Stewart (1749-1822); see: atheism types by denial and belief.
123.Strong atheism Someone who is “strong” in their atheism beliefs, and is cited or described as such, e.g. Libb Thims (Bossens, 2013) (Ѻ); sometimes synonymous with: positive atheism or explicit atheism. (Ѻ)
124.Subjective morality

125. Thimsian atheism The brand of atheism of American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims; see: atheism types by denial and belief.
126.Top 100 atheists

127.Unapologetic atheist e.g. Stephen Fry (Ѻ)

Unbeliever A person who does not believe in god (compare: believer).
128.Under-the-radar atheist The type of atheist that Sam Harris (Ѻ) self-identifies as (note: closet "spiritual atheist" would seem more apt).
129.Utilitarianism A type of calculus of greatest happiness secular morality system; largely advanced by English moral philosopher John Mill (1806-1873).



131.Weak atheist [DN:5]Agnostic but leaning towards atheism. [2]
132.Weak theist [DN:3]Agnostic but leaning towards theism. [2] Someone very uncertain, but inclined to believe in god; e.g. Blaise Pascal, noted for Pascal's wager, DN:3.4 (estimate), is said to be between weak atheist and pure agnostic. [5]





135. Zeitgeist A 2006 viral film documentary by Peter Joseph, which asserts, via citation to Dorothy Murdock and Gerald Massey, in a round-about-way, without coming exactly to a concluding point, that Jesus Christ is a rewrite of the Horus myth (correctly: Jesus is rewrite of the Osiris myth, i.e. the father of Horus; whereas Horus, the “lawgiver”, became “Moses” the lawgiver”).

136.Zerotheist Someone, e.g. Paul Dirac (1927), who believes in the existence of fermions, bosons, and zero gods (no gods). (Ѻ)

(add discussion)

The following are related quotes:

“Different unbelievers have generated creeds that a sufficiently different enough to be seen as a cluster of positions—a ‘family’ of atheisms—which can be glimpsed in the huge range of words that have been used interchangeably with atheist over the last four centuries: bright, Cartesian, communist, determinist, Epicurean, existentialist, fatalist, freethinker, Hobbist, humanist, infidel, irreligious, libertine, monist, naturalist, Nietzschean, rationalist, sceptic, secularist, Spinozist and unbeliever, to name only the less abusive term.”
— Nick Spencer (2014), Atheists: the Origin of the Species (pg. xviii)

1. (a) Holyoake, George. (1871). The Principles of Secularism Illustrated. Book Store.
(b) Holyoake, George. (1896). The Origin and Nature of Secularism: Showing that where Freethought Commonly Ends Secularism Begins. Watts.
(c) Smith, George. (1991). Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies (pg. 172). Prometheus Books.
(d) Secularism – Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000.
2. Dawkins, Richard. (2006). The God Delusion (scale: spectrum of belief, pg. 73). Houghton Mifflin Harcout.
3. McGowan, Dale. (2013). Atheism for Dummies (implicit vs explicit, pgs. 20-22). John Wiley & Sons.
4. Blainey, Geoffrey. (2011). A Short History of Christianity (semi-atheist, pg. 388). Viking.
5. Cheney, Mark. (2012). “Are You a Believer? Take the Dawkins test.” Big Think, Apr 8.
6. Berman, David. (2013). A History of Atheism in Britain: From Hobbes to Russell (pg. 110). Routledge.
7. (a) Implicit and explicit atheism – Wikipedia.
(b) McGowan, Dale. (2013). Atheism for Dummies (implicit vs explicit, pgs. 20-22). John Wiley & Sons.
8. What Type of Atheist are You? (2015) –
9. History of atheism –
10. Palmer, Michael. (2013). Atheism for Beginners: a Coursebook for Schools and Colleges (pg. 1). Lutterworth Press.
11. Anon. (2010). “3 Types of Atheism”, Sound and Silence, WordPress, Apr 30.
12. (a) Smith, David F. (2004). “Norman Wingate [Bill] Pirie (1907-1997)” (Ѻ), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
(b) List of atheists in science and technology – Wikipedia.
13. Sanders, Colin. (2013). “Lucretius” (V) (txt) (11:16-min), HistoryScientist, YouTube, Aug 16.
14. Hecht, Jennifer M. (2003). Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas (pg. 277). HarperOne.
15. (a) Allen, Don C. (1964). Doubt’s Boundless Sea: Skepticism and Faith in the Renaissance (pg. 7). Arno, 1979.
(b) Hecht, Jennifer M. (2003). Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas (pg. 277). HarperOne.

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