Atheism


Atheism
Atheism is the belief that there is no deity (or god). "A-" is a Greek prefix meaning "without" and "theos" means "god", so when put together with the suffix "-ism" ("belief"), it means "without belief in gods". The opposite of atheism is theism.
Two kinds of atheism.
Some people describe two kinds of atheism - "weak atheism" and "strong atheism".
Atheism in society.
In many places, it is (or was) a crime to be an atheist. In Europe during the Middle Ages, atheists could be killed by burning. Many countries still have laws against atheism. Atheism is becoming more common. In some countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States, there are laws that protect atheists' rights not to have a religion. This means that atheists have the same rights under the law as everyone else. "Freedom of religion" in international law and treaties includes the freedom to not have a religion.


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