RCSaunders wrote: ↑Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:59 pm
What do you mean by, "atheist?"
The people who both declare themselves such, and are lauded as such: Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Hume, Freud, Nietzsche...all the ones that are ordinarily mentioned immediately when one speaks of "famous Atheists," or of "Atheist thought." That's who I mean.
Who would you cite as an example of Atheism?
Do you regard anyone who does not believe in a single deity an atheist,
No. There are polytheists, animists, spiritists, pantheists...the field is much more various than that. Atheists actually comprise an extremely small minority of the world's population, both historically and now. To be an Atheist, one has to believe there are no gods or God at all, of any description, and probably that there are no supernatural entities of any kind, as well. For if one did purport to believe in the supernatural, then the idea of God would surely be back on the table, and one would merely be agnostic again.
In other words, is theism belief in just any kind of supernatural existent, or only a specifically described deity?
Technically, in Comparative Religions parlance, for example, "Theism" describes any belief that includes a God or gods...and they tend do speak that way, even though those two are different concepts. The differentiation is usually made by the prefix, such as "poly-" or "mono-".
But I'm speaking of Judeo-Christian monotheism in particular...I just don't always bother to put the "mono-" prefix on, since these other belief systems are not conceptually part of the same package, and are actually differentiated from Judaism and Christianity by the fact of their referring to different entities than the real God.