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Atheism - Strong and Weak
Carlos and Juanita are marooned on a desert island. They have a baby girl, whom they name Isabella. They both agreed that it was wrong to impose their own religious beliefs on their daughter, so they raised her without any references to any deities.
When Isabella wondered about the beauty (and cause) of a rainbow, Carlos and Juanita explained that it was caused by the refraction of light through water droplets. They didn't say that it was a promise from God that there would be no more floods. Whenever they knew the answer to Isabella's questions, they gave an honest answer. Whenever they didn't know, they always said that they didn't know. They never shrugged and said "god did it".
When Isabella came of age on her 16th birthday, her parents sat her down and explained what they knew about the world's religions, answering any questions that Isabella had. Whatever beliefs Isabella then held, her parents were happy that the choice was made by her as an adult, rather than imposed by them.
After contemplating what she had been told, Isabella told her parents that she believed that deities did not exist.
Isabella was born a weak atheist and remained a weak atheist for 16 years. She then became a strong atheist. The differences between the two states might be subtle (or non-existent) to some, but the differences very much exist.
1. A lack of belief in god(s)
2. Belief in the lack of god(s)
They are not the same. They deserve separate consideration; they deserve separate definitions. 1 = weak atheism (our natural state). 2 = strong atheism (a chosen state).
It should also be noted that weak atheism is not the same as agnosticism. If you are agnostic about a deity, you make no claims as to knowing anything about the details (or desires) of that deity and are non-commital about that deity's existence. You can't do that if you don't possess knowledge of a deity.
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Religion ยป Atheism - Strong and Weak
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