Atheism is simply the state of being without theism, without religion.
"Theism" is the practicing of religion in any form,
the acknowledging of a supernatural being you call "God". (Or "gods").
Those who call themselves "Agnostic" may be interested to know that
the same applies - "agnostic" means literally "without knowledge".
(Knowledge of God - within the Old Testament you will find references to
"Gnostics", which means literally "knowers").
Agnostics assert that the difference between agnosticism and atheism
is that while an atheist holds that we CAN demonstrate that there is no god,
an agnostic reserves judgment, that not enough evidence exists either way.
Essentially, calling oneself an "agnostic" is identical to being an atheist,
but with a nice plausible deniability clause just in case there is a God.

Being an atheist does not equate to being a "bad" person.
It does not mean that atheists are immoral, nor does it mean
living only for his or herself. In fact the vast majority of atheists are
upstanding, law abiding people of excellent character.
We have families, marry, raise children, care for our aging parents,
have jobs, contribute to society, and are people of good humor.
And often, atheists are people of considerable education.
For a religious person to automatically assume that all atheists are "bad"
is just as errant and prejudicial as racism or sexism.
It would be the same thing as me calling all Christians "bad".  I'm not!

Of course there are bad atheists.
There are bad people who identify themselves as atheists.
There are criminals, pedophiles, murderers and rapists who are atheists.
Sadly, some have risen to power and became true monsters.
Stalin, Pol-pot, Slobodan Miloševic (don't include Hitler, he was a Christian!)
all did their best to give atheism the worst possible reputation.
I would counter however, that Cortez didn't exactly champion the
typical Christian values to the South American peoples he slaughtered,
all in the pursuit of Aztec gold. Neither of course, did Hitler. (Link above!)
And while I'm on the subject of Adolf Hitler, consider that it was the
willingness of the German people to follow him, to rationalize their
horrific deeds against the Jews, Blacks and the indeed world,
that so clearly represents the threat of religion as a tool of hate.
Religion allows an individual to relinquish personal responsibility for their actions
to the will of their god, or the temptations of their demon/s.

Several examples of bad people from all faiths, or NO faith, abound in history.
Their population (per capita), however, is little different than that of other criminals who
identify themselves as "Christians" or "Jews" or "Muslims" or whatever.
How many people are coming forward claiming sexual abuse as children
by Catholic priests? The numbers are staggering.
If anything, based on the study of factual history, you are more likely
to find a criminal who either claims to be acting on behalf of "God",
his faith, or at least has a strong religious background, or blames "the Devil".
In fact, more people have been killed in the name of "God" than Satan,
by many orders of magnitude!
No Christian can deny that fact, though few are comfortable with it.

I don't really care where a human being gets his values from...
It is the values themselves, and the behavior they foster, that matters.
If they are positive, nurturing values which all good people share,
(family, kindness, brotherhood, compassion, tolerance of others, etc.)
then you're a good person, plain and simple.
I don't care if you attribute such qualities to being a Christian,
Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, whatever.
If you're a good person, you're a good person.
If you're a jerk, you're a jerk, regardless of religious affiliation, if any at all.
There is no shortage of either across the array of faiths on Earth.

It is so important that you understand this.
I have nothing against good morals.
Nothing against good people of ANY (or NO) faith.
Nothing against good people who want to practice their religion
and keep it to themselves.
Sadly, this almost NEVER describes Christian Conservatives.
Evangelicism is a factor of many religions, but Christianity in particular.
No one can escape from it in America today...
"God Bless America", a song WELDING religion and patriotism together,
is sung at so many sporting events, it has all but replaced our
National Anthem! "Moments of silence" are observed.
Our Pledge of Allegiance is STILL recited with "Under God" in it.
Our coins and paper money read "In God We Trust"!!!
(See also the images of U.S silver dollars far below, and surrounding text).
And on much smaller levels, when I sneeze, I'm told "God bless you!"
I realize this is habit, and it's just someone wishing me well, but WOW.
Our language is permeated with theistic overtones!

"Oh my God!" "What the hell". "God only knows". "Heaven forbid"!
"Thank God". "The Devil made me do it". "Holy Moses!"
This language is everywhere.  We usually don't give this much thought.
But Comedian / Philosopher George Carlin correctly observed:

"We think in language, so the quality of our thoughts and ideas can only be as good as the quality of our language."

- George Carlin

Once something is taught as "fact" or factual history without proof,
or indeed in spite of existing proof to the contrary... WATCH OUT!
This is what is happening in Christian America today.
First of all, this violates the U.S. Constitution.
Secondly, since when did Christianity become the "official" religion of the United States?? I thought we had freedom OF religion, which must by definition include freedom FROM religion!
"There can be no freedom of religion without the freedom to dissent".
Indeed, none of the first 5 Presidents of the United States were
orthodox Christians. Although some were deists, none were orthodox.
There was a very clear intent for the newborn USA to
NOT be identified as "a Christian Nation".
To read more on this, click here 

(Please note that all links on this page
will open in a new browser window.
This is ONLY done so that you
will not lose your place on my website here.)

If you don't think the separation of Church and State matters,
consider stem cell research. If you are opposed to stem cell research,
ask yourself why. Is it for religious reasons? Philosophical reasons?
Have you considered if your ideology (religion) influences (or dictates)
your philosophical views on this or other, perhaps all subjects?
Just wait until someone you love suffers a spinal cord injury.
Or just consider a man who played Superman, actor Christopher Reeve.
He became a genuine Superman after he was paralyzed from the neck down.
He could have benefited from a more aggressive study of stem cell research,
but that line of scientific study has been severely slowed by "moral" (religious)
objections made by Republicans and the Evangelical base who elect them.
(European scientists and researchers are now far ahead of American scientists
and researchers in this field, and it's unlikely we'll ever catch up).
Chris Reeve is dead now, so we'll never really know how much he could
have been helped by stem cell research.

The Christian right has all but taken over the United States government,
constantly on the attack, more aggressive than their opponents,
chipping away at our Constitution and imposing themselves on everyone.
It seems to have been this way, little by little since the Civil War.
War is great for religion!
War brings about so much death that our human mortality can't be ignored.
Religion after all, only functions on two basic fronts, hope and fear.
Hope of living on after physical death, and living in paradise.
Fear of NOT living on after death, and fear of divine punishment after death.

This is religion, remember? None of it can be proven, it is all taken on faith.
But here in the 21st Century, science has really begun to provide some of
the answers to the big questions men have been asking since our origins,
questions once explained by theology and faith, now explained by hard facts!
Many long held precepts of various religions can be proven to be incorrect,
and Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are NO exceptions.