As I intend to write more posts on the topics of Religion and all the issues surrounding Faith, I think it’s important to clearly differentiate and understand the terms theism and atheism.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online defines theism as
: belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world
This is a very clear definition of a very simple word. While many in America view the term theist as meaning one who believes in the Judeo-Christian mono-theistic God, the term applies to anyone who believes in any deity or deities.
Now let’s examine the word atheism. It is exactly the same word as theism except for the prefix “a” tacked onto the front. The prefix “a” originates from Greek and means “without” or in other words, it’s negates the following word. This usage has carried over into many words in modern English such as “apolitical” or “asexual.” So in the term atheism literally means “without a belief in a deity or god.” The term does not mean “a belief that god does not exist.” It is this incorrect definition that many seem to adhere to. Many belief atheism is a belief system in its own right. While many atheist communities have become quite organized, that does not alter the definition of the term in any way.
A clear understanding of these terms is crucial to continuing any discussion about believe, faith, and all the other aspects involved.