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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Nontheism is a term that covers a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of — or the rejection of — theism or any belief in a personal god or gods. It is in use in the fields of Christian apologetics and general liberal theology. "Nontheism" should not be confused with "irreligion".

Non-theism has various types. "Strong atheism" is the positive belief that a god does not exist. Someone who does not think about the existence of a deity may be termed "weakly atheistic", or more specifically implicitly atheist. Other, more qualified types of nontheism are often known as agnosticism, or more specifically explicit atheism. "Strong" or "positive" agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist. It is a more precise opinion than weak agnosticism, which is the belief that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is unknown but not necessarily unknowable. Philosopher Anthony Kenny distinguishes between agnostics, who find the claim "God exists" uncertain, and theological noncognitivists, who consider all God-talk to be meaningless.

Other, related, philosophical opinions about the existence of deity are ignosticism and skepticism. Because of variation of the term "god", it is understood that a person could be an atheist in terms of certain portrayals of gods, while remaining agnostic in terms of others.

Invented originally as a synonym for secularism (see below), it has become an umbrella term for summarizing various distinct and even mutually exclusive positions united by a naturalist approach, sometimes in the plural, nontheisms.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nontheism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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