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Conservative Atheist Community Center

Atheist Glossary & Terms

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Animism:  1. the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena. 2. the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.

Apologist: A person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc. Christian apologetics is a field of Christian theology that presents historical, reasoned, and evidential basis for Christianity, defending it against objections.

Atheist: A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

Agnostic: A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

Buddhism: A religion of eastern and central Asia growing out of the teaching of Siddhārtha Gautama that suffering is inherent in life and that one can be liberated from it by cultivating wisdom, virtue, and concentration.

Buddhist: An adherent of the religion based on the teachings of Buddha.

Carl Sagan: (born November 9, 1934; died December 20, 1996) An American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. 

Christianity: A monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who serves as the focal point for the religion. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Christopher Hitchens: (born April 13, 1949; died December 15, 2011) An author, columnist, essayist, orator, religious and literary critic, social critic, and journalist. 

Creationism: The belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution. 

Creationist: A person who believes that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account.

Credulity: readiness or willingness to believe especially on slight or uncertain evidence. 

Dan Barker: (born June 25, 1949) An American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 year before leaving Christianity and becoming an atheist.

Deism: The belief that God has created the universe but remains apart from it and permits his creation to administer itself through natural laws. Deism thus rejects the supernatural aspects of religion, such as belief in revelation in the Bible, and stresses the importance of ethical conduct.

Deist: A person who believes in deism.

Epistemology: The theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

Faith: The surrender of reason and logic to believe in something with little or no evidence that it exist.

Hinduism: A Religion, or a way of life, found most notably in India and Nepal. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal law," or the "eternal way," beyond human origins.

Hypothesis: A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

Islam: The religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Koran, the basic principle of which is absolute submission to a unique and personal god, Allah.

Judaism: The religion of the Israelites of the Bible and of the Jews of today, based on the teachings of the Torah. Judaism involves the belief in one God, whose Chosen People are the Jews.

Lawrence Krauss: (born May 27, 1954) An American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project.

Matt Dillahunty: (born March 31, 1969) An American public speaker and Internet personality, a fundamentalist Christian for over 20 years. and was the president of the Atheist Community of Austin from 2006 to 2013.

Metaphysics: a branch of philosophy investigating the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it. Metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions: 1 Ultimately, what is there? 2: What is it like?

Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to one another. Another branch is metaphysical cosmology: which seeks to understand the origin and meaning of the universe by thought alone.

There are two broad conceptions about what "world" is studied by metaphysics. The strong, classical view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist independently of any observer so that the subject is the most fundamental of all sciences. The weaker, more modern view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist inside the mind of an observer, so the subject becomes a form of introspection and conceptual analysis. Some philosophers, notably Kant, discuss both of these "worlds" and what can be inferred about each one.

Some philosophers and scientists, such as the logical positivists, reject the entire subject of metaphysics as meaningless, while others disagree and think that it is legitimate.

Michael Shermer(born September 8, 1954) An American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims.

Muslim: Muslims consider the Quran (Koran), their holy book, to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad. They also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad (Sunnah ) as recorded in traditional accounts (hadith). "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "one who submits (to God)".

Neil deGrasse Tyson: (born October 5, 1958) An American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator.

Richard Dawkins: (born March 26, 1941) An English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008. Dawkins is an atheist and is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design.  

Sam Harris: (born April 9, 1967) An American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist. He is the co-founder and chief executive of Project Reason, a non-profit organization that promotes science and secularism. 

Scientific Theory: A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. 

Non-Scientific Theory (what most people think of as theory): abstract thought: speculation; a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation; an unproved assumption: conjecture.

Secular: Not concerned with religion or religious matters. Secular is the opposite of sacred. Note: Secularization refers to the declining influence of religion and religious values within a given culture. Secular humanism means, loosely, a belief in human self-sufficiency.

Secularism: Secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.

Sikhism: a monotheistic religion, and the basic Sikh belief is represented in the phrase Ik Onkar meaning “One God.” 2. History: Sikhism was founded in the Punjab region in India in the 15th century by Guru Nanak Dev. Sikhism broke from Hinduism due, in part, to its rejection of the caste system.

Theism: A belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically :  belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world. 

Theist: A Person who believes in the doctrine of theism.

Thomas Paine: (born February 9, 1737; died June 8, 1809) An English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary.