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Atheism, also known as irreligion, is the lack of belief in God or gods. A person who does not believe in God is called an atheist. Agnosticism is a related belief, that the existence of God is unproven or cannot be proven, but which also doesn't say for certain that there is no God.
The opposite of atheism is theism, the belief that there is one or more gods.
Reasons for atheism[edit | edit source]
There are many reasons for why a person might be atheist. Just like some people are raised in a certain religion (for example, if your parents are Catholic then it is likely you are as well), some people are the children of atheists and were never "taught" any religion when they grew up. Other people become atheists later in life. Common reasons include because they don't think there is enough evidence for God, or because of some philosophical reason for why the existence of God is unlikely or impossible.
One example of an argument against the existence of God is the "problem of evil". Many religions say that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and that he wants to do good for people. Some atheists argue that this makes God impossible, because there is evil in the world and an all-powerful God who cares about human wellbeing would stop that evil. They say that either God is able but unwilling to stop evil (which means he doesn't care about human wellbeing), or willing but unable (which means he isn't all-powerful), or God doesn't exist. Some religious people have tried to explain this, for example by arguing that some evil is necessary for people to be able to enjoy the good things in the world.