Words Used to Describe and Label Religious Doubt
Part of the Atheism For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Atheism and other kinds of religious doubt are chock-a-block with labels and terms. Some are more important than others; some are neutral or positive; others are used (even by atheists) as putdowns. The following list includes all of the major labels — good, bad, and ugly.
Atheist: Doesn’t believe a god or gods exist.
Agnostic: Not sure whether a god or gods exist.
Freethinker: Holds opinions based on independent reasoning without the undue influence of authority, doctrine, or tradition.
Skeptic: Withholds judgment pending actual evidence.
Humanist: Focuses on this natural world and this life. Sometimes used as a synonym for secular humanist. No, doesn’t worship humans.
Secular humanist: A humanist who specifically adds, I don’t believe in God. Still doesn’t worship humans.
Secularist: Used to mean someone who wanted to keep church and government separate. Now refers to a person who lives without religion.
Antitheist: Believes religion poisons everything and prays (hopes) for a future without it.
Apatheist: Doesn’t care whether there’s a God or not. Is annoyed that you asked.
Accommodationist: An atheist who seeks common ground with the religious. Much hugging.
Deist: Does not believe in God. Believes in God.
Pantheist: Believes the universe and God are one and the same, but not exactly.