The Seeker...

Alan McKendree amck at
Tue Jun 8 20:55:36 CDT 2004

Arising from my slumbers.  As Adam said to Eve, "Stand back!  I don't 
know how big this thing's gonna get!":

> Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 16:52:53 +0000
> From: "Tom Fency" <tomfency at>
> Atheist means someone who denies the existence of god. He says: I don't
> believe. Period.

Your first sentence is not equivalent to your second, and only the 
second is the meaning of "atheist".  "Atheist" is a negating prefix, 
"a-", in front of "theist" -- one who believes in some deity however 
defined.  So an atheist is someone who does not possess a belief in any 
deity.  A newborn baby is an atheist...a implicit atheist, certainly, 
but still an atheist in that it does not possess a belief in a deity.  
Those who make a positive statement that there is no (g,G)od form a 
subset of atheists, and for those who make such a statement rationally 
rather than irrationally, it requires a definition of what "(g,G)od" 
means.  If, e.g., "god" were defined to mean "all the trees, rocks, and 
rivers" it would obviously be absurd to deny its existence.

After working through much of Robert J Ingersoll and other early and 
late "freethinkers", the absolute best and most readable book on this 
I've ever found is "Atheism: The Case Against God" by George H. Smith, 
which I recommend to anyone interested in the question.

Moving on...
"the average Texan...carries not just a gun but a SHOTGUN."  --Pete 
Townshend, 1967

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