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Topics related to agnosticism, antitheism, apatheism, atheism, ignosticism, irreligion, nontheism, or post-theism are appropriate for this portion of our guide.

Of these, it seems that agnosticism and atheism are the positions most familiar to the general public. However, it's probably fair to say that most antitheists consider themselves atheists and can be both.

While these terms are not synonymous, personal viewpoints may fall within two or more of these.

Examining these terms alphabetically rather than by similarity, agnosticism refers to the perspective that the existence of a deity is unknown or unknowable, and may incorporate the view that the human mind is incapable of providing rational grounds to justify either the belief or disbelief in a deity.

Agnosticism can be stated in various ways. A broader definition would label agnostic those who neither believe nor reject the possibility of the existence of a deity. By this definition, individuals who haven't decided might be considered agnostic, and this is a common definition of the word.

Sometimes hyphenated as anti-theism, antitheism is a reference to the philosophical position that theism should be opposed as dangerous, destructive, or encouraging of harmful behavior. Commonly, it refers to the direct opposition to the belief in any deity.

Individuals who hold to an agnostic or atheist worldview do not necessarily hate the idea of belief in a god or of religion in general. Nevertheless, atheism and antitheism so often occur together in the same person that it's easy to consider that they are the same thing. Atheism is simply the absence of a belief in gods, while antitheism directly opposes theism. Many atheists are also antitheists, but all and not always. In Christian circles, antitheism is often called evangelical atheism.

Individuals who are indifferent to the existence of alleged deities are atheists because they don't believe in the existence of any gods. If they don't believe in god but are angered over the fact that others do, they might also be termed antitheists.

The attitude of apathy toward the existence or non-existence of deities is more of an attitude than a belief system. A recently coined word for this position is apatheism. An apatheist is an individual who isn't interested in either accepting or rejecting any claims that gods exist. Rather than dismissing the existence of a god, the apatheist considers it irrelevant in every way that matters.

Atheism is an absence of belief in the existence of a deity or deities and a rejection of the belief that deities exist. In its narrowest sense, atheism is the position that there are no deities. It contrasts theism, the belief that at least one deity exists.

Definitions of atheism vary in the degree of consideration an individual must put to the idea of deities to be considered an atheist. When defined as the absence of belief that any deities exist, this would include newborns and other people who have never been exposed to theistic ideas. This broader definition of atheism is called implicit atheism, the absence of theistic beliefs without consciously rejecting them. Those who grow up in a religious household or have otherwise examined but dismissed the concept of a deity or deities could be called explicit atheists.

Also known as igtheism, ignosticism refers to the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because the word "god" has no coherent or unambiguous definition. Ignosticism is similar to agnosticism and atheism and would probably be used only in philosophical discussions.

Irreligion is the neglect or active rejection of religion. However, it may also refer to a simple absence of religion. In a broad sense, irreligion would encompass such philosophies as agnosticism, atheism, antitheism, and secular humanism. Still, social scientists define irreligion as a purely naturalist worldview that excludes a belief in anything supernatural.

Sometimes hyphenated as non-theism, nontheism refers to a range of both religious and non-religious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in the existence of a deity or deities. Commonly defined as apathy or silence towards the subject of gods, it differs from atheism in that the latter is an active disbelief in gods. It has been used as an umbrella term for summarizing positions such as agnosticism, ignosticism, and apatheism.

A variant of nontheism, post-theism is the belief that the belief in a deity or deities belongs to a previous stage of human development. The term may be applied to the beliefs of those involved in liberal Christianity. Friedrich Nietzsche's pronouncement that "God is dead" would be a post-theistic position. Post-theists hold that while there was once a need for religious beliefs, humanity has since progressed beyond the point where such beliefs are helpful or reasonable.



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