First Known Atheism
The first atheism, or not believing in theism or a divine deity. was prominent in early Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions not due to their disbelief in deities but their disbelief in one God, monotheism, who graced man with mercy, forgiveness and an eternal life. Even in early Christianity, devout Christians were declared atheists simply because they did not follow the pagan deities of the government, but instead believed in their one God and followed teachings of Christ as their Messiah. Socrates was considered atheistic but not for today’s reason. Socrates also refused to follow the government’s dictated deities. It was not until the 16th and 18th centuries in the Western world that atheism became known as not believing in any deity and disavowing monotheistic beliefs and tenets.

Implicit vs Explicit Atheism
Today atheism has two separate meanings, although the primary disclaimer of any God is true of both Implicit and Explicit Atheism.

Implicit Atheism refers to the lack of belief in God simply because the individual never was presented with any of the beliefs or reasons for prayer or articles of faith. This lack of belief is in our toddler children who do not disbelieve, but do not believe, either, because they have never yet been exposed to beliefs and explanations of the existence of God. It has also been found in rare tribes in primitive jungle locations where there was no belief in any deity whatsoever, not any disbelief either, no rituals or ceremonies, and when a deceased member died, they were buried with no grieving attention later. They have never been exposed to beliefs in deities or the Western world’s monotheism so they have Implicit Atheism, like our small toddlers. No belief in God but not a disbelief in God.

Explicit Atheism is the disbelief of any God or other deity when the person has learned and understands the tenets and principles of a faith in God as creator and guardian of mankind’s souls; however, Explicit Atheists disdain and refuse to believe, follow nor even respect the belief. Theirs is an elementary stance that we cannot worship an unseen and judgmental God and especially tout that there are fallacies throughout all monotheistic beliefs in an intelligent design. “If God designed us, then who designed God?” is their most common deriding question and Explicit Atheism’s only benchmark.

Positive atheism (also known as strong atheism and hard atheism) asserts that no deities whatsoever exist. Most believe who subscribe to positive atheism will say gods do not exist. Negative atheism (also known as weak atheism and soft atheism) is defined as a person who does not believe in any deities but they have a lack of positive believe, meaning they do not believe strongly in either existence or nonexistence of a god.

In modern times, theism has been defined for the most part to mean a belief in a god who gives personal revelations to humans, and a belief in a personal god who takes an active interest in the world. Now in this case a positive atheist will assert that he does not believe that there is any god or gods and he is also the type of person who disbelieves in a personal being who is completely good and who created heaven and earth. On the other hand, the negative atheist would simply be the person without a belief in a personal god. Another way the differences between positive and negative atheism can be looked at is from the point of view of implicit and explicit atheism. The terms were coined by George H. Smith. Smith defined implicit atheism as “the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it”. He defined explicit atheism as “the absence of theistic belief due to a conscious rejection of it”. To put in more simple terms explicit atheists have rejected the idea that any belief in a deity existed when they considered it. Implicit atheists have either not given much thought to the ideas of deities, or though they do not believe in any deities, they have not rejected the possibility of belief.

The definitions of atheism can also be considered from a scientific point of view. A positive atheists would assert since humans live in a scientific world where the existence of things exist solely by their observability, a deity cannot exists since it cannot be observed. A negative atheist would assert since we have no proof of god, we cannot be sure one exists.

Since the 18th century, as atheism has continuously gained in importance, more and more quotes on the subject have appeared. Profound statements have come from politicians and scientists, the more aesthetic references were made by writers and musicians and the ones declared by comedians and actors were simply keen or even bold.

This quote is from Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of our nation, “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle suggested a more practical point of view, “If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.” Richard Dawkins, a British scientist and atheist proclaims “Why do more than 40 percent of Americans think that the Universe began after the domestication of the dog?”

Writers seem to either dramatize the matter or intensify it. This quote from author Mark Twain is beautifully poetic: “Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought.” Writer Ernest Hemingway simply declares “All thinking men are atheists” and Journalist Christopher Hitchens remarks ”Jesus is Santa Claus for Adults.”

Hollywood’s finest also express their thoughts on the matter of atheism. Brad Pitt remarked “I’m probably 20 percent atheist and 80 percent agnostic. I don’t think anyone really knows. You’ll either find out or not when you get there, until then there’s no point thinking about it.” British actress Keira Knightley announced sharply “If only I wasn’t an atheist, I could get away with anything. You’d just ask for forgiveness and then you’d be forgiven. It sounds much better than having to live with guilt.” The creator of the intellectual nebbish, Woody Allen, explains “To you, I’m an atheist. To God, I’m the loyal opposition.”

The remarks of the comedians on religion are snappish and blunt: “Agnostics are just atheists without balls” writes Stephen Colbert in his book “I am America”. The satirist George Carlin proclaims “Atheism is a non-prophet organization” and “I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.”

And finally the impressive words from the musicians of Jethro Tull: “In the beginning Man created God; and in the image of Man created he him.”

Atheism is something that is becoming more common these days. In a world in which many people need to find something to believe in, atheism is becoming popular. There is increasing pressure in today’s world for people to declare what they believe in. People must put a label on their beliefs. Atheism is one such label that people can choose. But what is atheism, and what do atheists do and believe in?

What is Atheism?
In simple terms, atheism is the belief that God does not exist. In particular, atheism is the belief that there is no such thing as any God, as described by any religion. In addition, atheism is the belief that there is no heaven or afterlife of any kind. People who practice atheism typically don’t believe in any of the things associated with traditional religion. They usually don’t observe rituals of a religious nature, or religious holidays. Cultural traditions can often dictate that people who practice atheism would also observe some religious holidays such as Christmas. However, traditionally, a part of atheism is not observing religious holidays. Atheists will usually form their own moral code based on what they think is right themselves. They will not pay attention to morality as decided and dictated by religious organizations and religious texts.

What is an Atheist?
An atheist is someone who believes in and practices the lifestyle relating to atheism as discussed above. Many atheists will have come to their opinion about the non-existence of a deity based on their analysis of the available information about all of the different Gods and deities that people believe in. Usually, an atheist will come to the conclusion that it is impossible for a God of any description to exist. Following the lack of proof in the existence of a deity, atheists usually come to the belief that no such being exists. Atheists are people who usually have faith in science rather than religion. They often believe in the scientific theory of “the big bang” to explain how the earth came into being, along with the believing in evolution to explain how humans came to be what they are today.

What Kind of People are Atheists?
There is a certain preconceived opinion that exists about atheists. Many people assume that atheists are also Satanists, Communists, anarchists, and Humanists. However, it cannot be assumed that all atheists are any or all of these things also. It is important to remember that people vary so much that some atheists many be some of these things, but that not all atheists are the same. It is also assumed that atheists are people who are lacking in a moral code or accountability for their actions. However, as discussed above, most atheists will have developed their own moral code based on their upbringing and their own thought processes about what is right and wrong. Atheists still make up a small minority of the world’s population. However, the number of atheists are rising, particularly in countries where English is the predominant language spoken.

In conclusion, atheism is a belief that cannot be described as a religion because its belief is the very opposite of that of most religions. Atheism is all about the belief that no God or deity of any kind exists.