virus: weak vs strong atheism

Eric Boyd (
Thu, 04 Dec 1997 18:42:06 -0500


"rpc man" <> wrote:
> What is the difference between a lack of belief in god
> and belief there is no god?

This is a good question -- I've often wondered if the difference is really
as important as I think -- it's such a subtle ploy.

A lack of belief is really the default position -- as somebody just said,
children who have never heard of God are in this position. It is the "weak
atheist" position, and basically is a balancing act -- almost agnostic at

On the other hand, a belief that there is no God is a position of knowledge
-- you are actually making an assertion that "there is no God" when you
state your position. This is STRONG atheism. It gets you into the realm of
"proof", since in theory people could ask you to prove that God does not
exist, and you would have to. (extraordinary claim that God exists not
withstanding). Some people do maintain this position because logical
arguments for the non-existence of God CAN be constructed for all current
God's. The final straw to make the position tenable is to say that any God
which has not chosen to give us information about It's existence must be a
pretty strange God -- in fact, it must be an illogical God! (assuming It
created us, what possible reason could it have for NOT revealing itself?)
While this last is certainly not a deductive proof (like the others), it,
combined with the ability restrictions of the previous arguments makes it
quite unlikely that ANY God exists.

I think you see why some people prefer the first alternative -- the second
is MUCH to complicated for my liking...