A person without a belief
in a God
. This term is used to better distinguish between weak atheism
and strong atheism
. This seems to be a better term than "atheist
" for capturing the more general concept of "one who is without a belief in God
," for several reasons:
(1) Almost everyone who employs the term "nontheist" already uses it in the given way.
(2) As indicated in dictionaries, most native speakers of English use the term "atheist" for the more definite concept of "one who denies that God exists." It is desirable to abide by common usage and it is foolish, and probably futile, to try to reform people's usage of terms.
(3) It would be more natural to call infants and fetuses "nontheists" than to call them "atheists."
(4) It is desirable to have a system in which the familiar three classes, theists, atheists, and agnostics, are mutually exclusive, and that would not be possible if the term "atheist" were instead used for the more general concept.