Night Owl Mk. II

Return to "Religion" essay

Back to Philosophy page

Please feel free to E-mail me with your own comments on this issue or on anything else included in my Philosophy of Life section. Debate is good!

Please report any problems with this page to the Webmaster!


Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) I'm trying to figure out a way to explain to someone that the statements; "I believe there is no god" and "I do not believe in god" do not mean the same thing. The former has one holding a position that would require some sort of proof, evidence or reasoning to support it.... The latter simply is the absence of a belief or philosophical position and requires no proof or evidence. For instance we could say that a baby does not believe in god, but we could not say that the baby believes there is no god. Simply because the baby is not capable of conceptualizing "god", "exist", "believe"... etc. Is there a web site that you know of that may be of some help? Thanks for any help...
(MB) Your dilemma is essentially one of semantics, but that provides the key to its solution. "I believe there is no god" does not refer to any specific version of Supreme Being. On the other hand, "I do not believe in god" expresses disbelief in one identifiable deity. Which deity that might be would have to be inferred from the context of the conversation in which that statement of disbelief was expressed.
    The person who states "I believe there is no god" is expressing a reasoned opinion of disbelief as a conclusion based upon facts and logic. The baby in your example couldn't even make such a statement since it doesn't even know what the concept of "god" is. This would also apply to a mature person who, for whatever reason, had never been introduced to the concept of "god". You can't say you don't believe in something if the concept of that something has never even crossed your mind.
    My favorite web site for this sort of philosophical discussion is Internet Infidels ( This site has an extensive library of modern and historical documents on theistic and atheistic philosophy that are well worth perusing.

Created with Allaire HomeSite 4.0 .......... Last Update: 27 Sep 98

Earthlink Network Home Page