What is the definition of atheism?

Dictionaries contain a variety of definitions for Atheism. Prescribed by religious cultures has many Atheists finding them unsatisfactory. Most people who classify themselves as scientific Atheists consider the following definition to be a good working model:

Atheism is the acceptance that there is no credible scientific or factually reliable evidence for the existence of a god, gods or the supernatural.

Is atheism just another religion?

No. Religions appeal to a supernatural realm controlled in most cases by a god or gods. Support for a religious idea can be in written form or orally passed down through the ages, supposedly proclaiming the wishes of a supreme being.

Atheists have no written revelations, no god or gods and do not accept the existence of a supernatural realm or a creative super-being as no evidence demands that they do. Atheism is therefore a rational evaluation of nature, whilst religions result from imaginative guessing.

If you do not believe in “God”, then from where does your morality come?

All rules of conduct are human made. They are the result of requirements necessary for cooperation in maintaining social order. The higher animals, including humans have evolved empathetic and compassionate traits beneficial to survival. Our intellect continually refines these, as circumstance requires.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What religious rule do you know about that has not or is not capable of having originated from humans?
  2. If you found sufficient evidence, conclusively proving that a god did not exist, would you develop into an immoral person?

Do you believe in life after death?

Of the billions of creatures, human and otherwise, that have existed and died, none has returned to report an afterlife. There is no evidence whatsoever that life continues after death. Because we can imagine such a comforting concept, does not make it true. Any wish for extended or eternal life should make us doubly wary of those using such an idea to advantage.

Do you believe in a supreme being?

It is not a matter whether an atheist 'believes' in a supreme being or not, it is more to the point that atheists accept there is no evidence for such an entity. That the thought of the existence of a supreme being can enter the minds of humans is absolutely no proof that a supreme being exists anymore than does the thought of fairies make them real.

Does the thought of death and thus the state of non-existence frighten atheists?

Religions play on death and escaping from it as a consistent theme. Promoting this on a continuing basis produces an unhealthy attitude to mortality. On the other hand, atheists soon accept that death is a reality of life and therefore spend little time pondering it.

Most atheists find that death is a regrettable but natural part of living and have no choice but to accept the reality. No-one wishes to experience the final parting of family and friends but wishing for a better outcome of everlasting life will not make it so no matter how intense is that desire.

Don’t atheists have to prove that a god does not exist?

Those proposing that fairies, bunyips or gods exist must produce supportive evidence. It must be acceptable to all peoples and not only to the adherents of a particular ‘faith’. Over the last six thousand years, there have been 20,000 religions.[1]  They have all claimed, equally fervently, that theirs is the ‘true’ one, rejecting the other 19,999 as false. Atheists reject, as fabricated, 20,000.

It is the highest form of unreasonableness to expect atheists to prove the negative of wild unsupported assumptions. Atheists demand evidence but none has been forthcoming over the history of humanity.

1. A Guide to the Gods’, by Marjorie Leach.

Do atheists hate religious people?

The hurt that religions do results from the adherent's blind acceptance of fanciful stories and traditions. Most atheists are vehemently opposed to all religions. It is an exercise in futility as well as being a notion steeped in ignorance, to blame the victim of any hoax.

Atheism promotes that young people should not be indoctrinated into a particular theistic system. Children have no intellectual defence against such authorative adult methods. Instead, education about all religions, the harm they create and their unevidenced status, is the only ethically correct course of action. Theistic induction is a form of mental child abuse.

Atheists would support people freely choosing religion as the result of broad information, as this would render it a minority affair. The proviso being, that its practise should only happen between consenting adults and not used to influence politics. Its present form is a consequence of a narrow based indoctrination procedure and/or taken for granted cultural correctness.

I’m an atheist overseas considering immigrating to Australia – what can I do?

Unfortunately atheists are subject to degrees of vilification, discrimination and persecution in far too many places throughout the world.

As a volunteer-run and member-representative body, the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) is unable to provide the resources or expertise to directly assist you in this matter - much as we would like to.

We would direct you to your local Australian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission, to help with your inquiry. A complete list of these is available at Australian Government - Our embassies and consulates overseas.

More details of visas and requirements are available Australian Government - In-country Special Humanitarian visa and Australian Government - Immigration and Visas.

All of these options will need to be taken up with official Australian Government sources (Embassies/Consulates/High Commissions). Please be wary of private bodies offering to "fast-track", guarantee or progress a visa application for a fee - they may not be genuine.

A school is acting weird with religious groups – what can I do?

When it comes to proselytising in schools outside of religious education classes, there are a number of contacts and support groups.

For public primary and secondary schools, your local Parents and Citizens' (P&C) Association should be one of your first contacts; they are often the most familiar with the school and can help get in touch with education ministers and Principals on the behalf of concerned groups.

In addition, contact the Education Department - there are a number of links available at Getting involved - useful links for parents. Remember that other religions can be secular allies when it comes to fairness in schools.

There are groups who are dedicated to helping secularism in Australia, with a particular focus on advocacy for schools:

In addition, if you feel bullied or threatened, you should also consider contacting:

And internationally, there is:

When and where is the next Global Atheist Convention or AFA Event

Events like our 2010/2012 Global Atheist Conventions take a lot of planning (12-18 months in advance), considerable financial risk (to the committee members of our non-profit incorporated association), and a substantial amount of time and effort by unpaid volunteers.

We had hoped to hold one in the first quarter of 2017, but that is now looking less likely to happen. If we can’t manage one in 2017, then we may look at doing so in 2018.

Lately, we’ve been concentrating on organising smaller events, like Richard Dawkins in late 2014, and The Unholy Trinity Downunder and Robin Ince in early 2015.

Financial members of the AFA are informed of early-bird/discount tickets to events we organise, and sometimes to events put on by like-minded organisations, such Think Inc.’s recent James Randi and Sam Harris Tours.

Any future plans for tours or events are at the discretion of the AFA and are also dependent on time, effort, finances, scheduling requirements, community support and audience appeal of same.

What is the difference between atheism and agnosticism?

While the common perception of an agnostic is a “fence sitter”, who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a god, the term really means that a person doesn’t claim to know whether a god exists, or not. One can be both an atheist AND an agnostic. The following site explains that in more detail:

Atheist vs. Agnostic - What's the Difference?

This diagram may also help:


Another view is that given by Richard Dawkins' Spectrum of theistic probability

Can you suggest a good non-religious/anti-theist counsellor to help me with trauma from my religious upbringing, treatment or experiences?

We think it's commendable and courageous that you're prepared to take the important step of seeking help, and wish you the very best of luck with this.

The AFA does not have the requisite mental health expertise to properly compile and maintain such a list, and treatment options are best evaluated in conjunction with medical professionals having direct knowledge of your personal circumstances and needs - we recommend that your usual GP be your first port of call if at all possible. This has the additional benefit of direct referral to a chosen specialist.

The following are lists of counsellors maintained by external organisations with an interest in this area, and may therefore be worth perusing:

Can you help me with starting an atheist group at my University?

The Freethought Student Alliance, a coalition of Australian atheist, skeptic, humanist & secular campus groups, would be in the best position to help with that. They regularly receive grants from the Atheist Foundation of Australia to help them with their work.

Some other sites worth looking at would be:

Look on Facebook in particular for existing atheist, secular and skeptic student groups, as many of them are happy to let other groups join to network and share ideas. You may also like to check out Young Australian Skeptics and their podcast for some more inspiration.

How do I officially leave the Catholic Church in Australia?

The AFA website has a couple of articles regarding this, keeping in mind that excommunication technically means being excluded from the sacraments and services of the church, rather than being removed from the church:

A Google search comes up with this article:

How to quit the Catholic Church

Can you help with editing/writing/researching material on a particular atheist issue for me?

The AFA does not have the resources for an editing or proof-reading service, or a research team, available for public consultation.

However, we do have a lively and vibrant discussion forum where you may find help and feedback on matters such as letter-writing, debates, opinion columns, videos, blog posts and so on.

You may like to try some of the free online services such as:

Local libraries and those of colleges and universities may have additional links and suggestions to help you with the construction and research of your work.

Google is your friend when it comes to finding if anyone has addressed similar issues.

Do you know of any publishers interested in publishing atheist oriented literature?

As with most publishing houses, there's usually a large backlog of texts and books and manuscripts that are sent in and many of these publishing houses suggest getting agent representation or checking on their sites for when they do call-outs for manuscripts on certain topics (Penguin Books is one such publishing house that has a guide as to how to best submit on what and when).

In terms of resources in general, there's a few publishers that exist (and this is by no means an exhaustive or recommended list):

  • Scribe Books - an Australian group
  • Prometheus Books
  • Atheist Republic
  • Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • The Oak Hill Free Press
  • Oxford University Press (and any other university press that may publish similar works)
  • There is also self-publishing groups like Lulu.com

You can also look through books that are on a similar topic / theme to yours in bookstores and contact their publishers. In addition, Catherine Deveny published a writing guide book in 2016 that may be worth consulting; there are many other authors with tips and ideas that you could consult.