Chapter

Who is an Atheist?

Stephen Bullivant

in The Salvation of Atheists and Catholic Dogmatic Theology

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652563
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740725 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652563.003.0002

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Who is an Atheist?

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This chapter considers a number of important, preliminary issues for the theology of atheism. Most importantly, it explains and defends the broad, value-neutral definition of ‘atheist’ adopted in this study: a person who is without a belief in God (or gods). Attention is also given to the classical – and crucial – distinction between mere believing (credere Deum) and genuine faith (credere in Deum), the importance of lived atheism, the controversial issue of ‘practical atheism’ (e.g. in Maritain and others), and to two key questions arising from previous theological studies of atheism: ‘Is atheism a religion?’ and ‘Can one really be an atheist?’

Keywords: atheist; definition; theology of atheism; practical atheism; Maritain; credere Deum

Chapter.  11800 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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