Somebody asked me in a forum somewhere:
If there is no scientific proof for the non-existence of God, then surely atheism is a belief?
There is absence of belief on the existence of aliens but we don’t ask for evidence for the non-existence of aliens, do we? I’ve never known anyone to seriously ask for non evidence of aliens – that would just be nuts, right?! There is absence of belief on the existence of God and we don’t ask for evidence, because there can’t be any evidence, for the non-existence of God. It is logically impossible – can’t prove a negative.
The meaning of theism is defined as ‘the belief in god or gods’.
The ‘a’, which is the prefix, means ‘without’ in the same way the ‘a’ is used when describing “without morals” for ‘amoral’. So atheism literally means without belief in theism. In other words, it is the absence of belief in theism.
Atheism is not a faith position or a belief system. Atheism, in its basic meaning, is not a belief – it is the lack of belief. Further, there are only atheists because there are theists. Without theists, the term atheism would be unnecessary.
Atheism, as with theism, are descriptive terms. In other words, they specify the presence or the absence of belief with regards to God, gods or the super-natural.
For someone who has never been introduced to the concept of God/gods/theism, they are by default without belief, ergo default atheists only from the theists’ point of view (the atheist, though he/she doesn’t know it, is indifferent, or without opinion on the matter). It is only when presented with theism does their status on the position need to be declared. Further, atheism is an adjective, but is often used as a pejorative. Some theists say that atheism takes more faith than theism, but here they have misunderstood what atheism actually means in its proper sense and hence this is a pejorative use of the word by them.