'Strong' And 'Weak'
To Describe
A Personal View
Craig Walker

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Craig Wilkins"
Subject: Re: The Atheist's Certainty
Date: October 22, 2001 8:15 PM

We go along with the trends that were very popular in Europe in the nineteenth century when atheism and freethought were first allowed to speak, when many thinkers were doing a lot of thinking on the subject. (I don't know that I blame them, it was the first time you could discuss this subject and still live!) During the twentieth century, there was a bit of a split, and that split continues today, although the angle we advocate seems to be gaining a little ground in the past few years.

I merely recommend that we popularize the "weak" definition when using it to describe atheism as a whole. At no time have I pretended to influence how individuals express their atheism. My advocacy of using the "weak" definition applies only to describing the overall big picture of atheism as a whole. In other words, I suggest that we tell theists that atheism is, at minimum, the absence of a theistic belief: many atheists go so far as to assert that no gods exist, and other atheists are barely aware that it's even a question. The vast majority of us don't pay attention to either religion or atheism.

True, I'll take a few potshots at the "strong" position now and again, but I see its place and I am a "strong" atheist (in at least one sense). But there's nothing even remotely resembling a consensus. If there were, we wouldn't have to spend so much energy discussing the definition and trying to explain it in so much detail (or even arguing as to why one is preferable in a certain situation over another).

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.