What I mean is that I've seen atheists being asked what would it take for them to worship God. Ultimately their answers amount to, "nothing will make me worship God - even if God exists - because I don't want to!"

I've also seen another group. They will start to worship/believe the moment proof of God's existence is provided.

My question is not about what proof is, just that a proof is convincing enough. Is there any difference in terminology about these two groups? Are they both called atheist? If so what differentiates them?

  • 3
    What would it take for you to worship at least some of the other gods?
    – Rodrigo
    Mar 16, 2017 at 16:21
  • I don't have enough to give an answer, but it's worth noting that "atheist" is a very wide reaching term that covers an astonishing range of people. For example, the word has been gaining popularity as a label for those who do not commit to the existence of a deity, or argue that the existence cannot be proven. Also, a key distinction is whether they would worship the Abrahamic God, or any deity that does exist. Many specifically dislike the Abrahamic God and find him unacceptable, but might be open to other deities if they were proven to exist.
    – Cort Ammon
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:05
  • @CortAmmon that's funny...not open to Abrahamic God and open to others. How are they that different? Not that God is of a type, but what differentiates Abrahamic Gods from others?
    – Honey
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:43
  • 3
    @Honey the problem of evil is a major issue for many people. One might work around the problem by believing in a non-omnipotent or non-omniscient god, but then that would be a significant difference from the Abrahamic God. Also, you can look up dualistic religions such as Zoroastrianism or Manichaeism. Mar 16, 2017 at 17:54
  • 3
    @Honey I give the Abrahamic God as an example because I believe it is the most popular God to refuse to worship on these grounds (and because your wording suggests that particular example may be close to home). Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are also, by far, the most popular religions right now, so they naturally will have the most objectors just by statistics alone. They all make very specific and unwavering statements about God, and those claims are written down in their holy text. This makes it easy to point at a few lines and say "this is what I dislike."
    – Cort Ammon
    Mar 16, 2017 at 18:14

7 Answers 7


By definition alone the person who is unaware, unsure, and willing to accept that there is a God then that is called Agnostic --- not any form of atheism.

The term atheism speficially refers to a person who willingly REJECTS or DENIES God's existence. Emotional people can use slang definitions to redefine any word they want. Let's make triangle mean 5 sideded figures while we are at it. Clearly this is not a Standard Definition. Atheists specifically deny or reject Willingly. New born babies ARE NOT atheist by default. Dogs and cats are not atheists.

The person who accepts God is standing directly in front of him STILL decides to not worship God is IRRATIONAL. This is the only definite term although there are other terms to use on top of irrational tag for this individual. The term atheist may not apply to the part of not knowing God exists once knowledge is confirmed. so basically we have just a person doing things because there is nothing to say he can't do so or think so. Ignorant may be also another term to add to the irrational tag already. I was thinking more of the line of a deliberate jerk. I would like to go the route of placing this inside the agnostic class as a variation to make things easier. This or there has to be an additional term made up to cover the ground.

  • I find it helpful to look at "atheism" very literally, that it is a response to the question of "belief." Agnosticism answers a completely different question of "knowledge" (gnosticism - knowledge). Anyone with the capacity for belief (babies would not count) would fall into either "atheist" (does not believe) or "theist" (does believe). Mar 23, 2018 at 17:51
  • The literal definition is primitive. Perhaps that definition was intended for children to understand. The dictionary is NOT an authority or definition master. The dictionary was made to be a GUIDE for active thinking and not to be quoted or taken literally. There is no topic that is in The dictionary that would make one an expert by reading the definition Alone. You are given a sense of what the word expresses not everything under the sun about the word.
    – Logikal
    Mar 23, 2018 at 17:58
  • Interesting. You're saying once it's established that God exists...then as our sustainer he's worthy of worship. I like that. Those who refuse after such proofs are likely to be irrational people
    – Honey
    Apr 25, 2018 at 14:15

The second group you are talking about is easy to categorize:

"...another group. They will start to worship/believe the moment proof of God's existence is provided."

A strong agnostic believes that we can never know whether God exists or not.

A weak agnostic believes that proof of God's existence is possible, we just haven't gotten there yet. This term would cover the second group you are talking about

The first group you describe is kind of hard to categorize:

"nothing will make me worship God - even if God exists - because I don't want to!"

First you have to distinguish belief from worship, they are not the same thing. A traditional Christian believes in Satan but doesn't worship him. So you would have to distinguish two groups, (a) those that don't worship because they don't believe, and (b) those that don't worship even though God exists, because they don't want to.

  • (a) An atheist believes there is no god or gods.They believe God is a fiction on the same level as Thor, Gandalf or Voldemort, so what's the point of worshipping him?

  • (b) People who believe God exists, but don't want to worship him. There are some schools of Satanism, known as Theistic Satanism or Reverse Christianity. They believe that God exists, but they prefer to worship Satan rather than God. Closely related are the terms Misotheism, hatred of God (or gods), and Dystheism, the belief that God (gods) is not good, but can be wholly or partially evil.

Beyond these, there are other categories as well, but it would take too long to go through all of them.

To summarize, what you are looking for is not really two categories, but multiple categories, including: Atheists, Strong Agnostics, Weak Agnostics, Theistic Satanists, Misotheists, Dystheists, Ignostics, Nontheists, etc....

  • FWIW I'm not talking about worshiping Satan. Only that they're not interested. It's like them saying, I don't give a shit who's the president of US, or wherever, I never want to submit myself to president or anything...here specifically God
    – Honey
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:55
  • " we can never know whether God exists or not." <-- how is this related? The assumption of my question was it's already proved...Zeroing only on whether they want to submit or not
    – Honey
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:59
  • I get the impression that sometimes "antitheist", especially when said by theists, is used to refer to people who reject god despite knowing (subconsciously?) it exists. However, in other contexts it means people who are opposed to the social acceptance of theism, i.e. they want to theistic beliefs (not believers!) to go extinct
    – Dave
    Mar 16, 2017 at 18:00
  • @Dave I'm not talking about subconsciously...how it's proved isn't important. I've seen atheist who clearly say: :even if God appear in my face. I would never worship/submit to him...I don't give a damn!"
    – Honey
    Mar 16, 2017 at 18:01
  • @Dave I don't know about antitheism. My understanding is that antitheism is a subset of atheism, which states that (1) God doesn't exist and (2) Belief in God is harmful. I don't know of any antitheists who believe that (1) God exists and (2) Belief in God is harmful. Also that belief would be covered by Misotheism.. Mar 16, 2017 at 18:02

It sounds to me like both types of person you are talking about are atheists, just when both are posed the question, "Would you worship God if he exists?" they answer it differently.

I am unaware of a term that describes a stance in answer to this question. But I could probably infer the following:

  • Atheists who "would not worship God, even if he exists," have made a determination on the character and morality of the god in question.

  • Atheists who "would/or would consider worshiping God if he existed," seem to be unsure of the character of God or unsure of what the worship might entail.


An agnostic, ignostic or theological non-cognitivist position is refuted if provided meaningful definition of deity and empirical verification (read: knowledge) of an ontologically positive claim regarding deity and a proponent would then then, given the standard model of rationality, have grounds to defend a gnostic position.

Belief does not depend upon empirical verification, however, and what constitutes a convincing argument (i.e. proof) is relative to the non-believer's background and network of beliefs.

  • 1
    Thanks for the edit. Though I don't see how you answered the question
    – Honey
    Mar 16, 2017 at 14:51

Agnostic is the word for those who wait for proofs. Atheists are the ones who believe in alternative theories that don't involve a creator.

My question for you would be, how can you consider any proof of God offered to you when your premise is he doesn't exist? Shouldn't you first accept the premise that he does then start to examine whether those proofs are valid or not? Like creationist scientists adopted the evolutionist theory first to prove it false? You have to think that it's real first then follow the proofs and debunk it.

  • "Agnostic is the word for those who wait for proofs" is not generally true. A pure/strong Agnostic, like myself, believes that there is no such proof. Our lack of faith is not in the existence of a God, but rather in the ability of humanity to Grasp What God Is. There is a subset of people who label themselves Agnostic and are "waiting for proof". These are termed "weak" Agnostics (see @AlexanderSKing's answer). I find the term uninteresting in that case. Believing that proof might exist means believing that God might exist, which I would argue is not Agnostic but rather "undecided".
    – CryptoFool
    Feb 7, 2021 at 19:04

I think they can both be called atheist IF they admit they don't believe in any god form , otherwise they'd probably be agnostic.

If they're actually both atheist , there's no difference in the term because it's about them NOT BELIEVING IN GOD. It's not about how they'd react if god existed. They're is actually a difference is their possible reactions to a proof of god's existence , but there's no difference in their beliefs.

  • my question is about them based on their reaction...not about what they'd are before.
    – Honey
    Mar 16, 2017 at 15:30
  • And I answered that. If they're atheist there is no difference , maybe you can say strong or weak atheist but that's all. If they're not then they're probably agnostics but there again there's no big difference in the terms
    – Rolexel
    Mar 17, 2017 at 7:46
  • @Rolexel, , Because someone is a non theist does not make one an atheist. You seem to indicate if you are not one set you must be in the other set. This is not so. Atheism is a willing choice not to follow. It is not a default because one does not believe. If that were so you chair would also be an atheist, your house, your bed, etc. All non living things would be atheist so I take the domain only to be humans unless you want to default all animals without a belief in God. Humans have choice for the most part. Extreme autistic children don't understand what a God is just like a cat doesn't.
    – Logikal
    Mar 22, 2018 at 23:17
  • @Logikal I think you should re-read my answer, and specially focus on this part : " I think they can both be called atheist IF they admit they don't believe in any god form"
    – Rolexel
    Mar 23, 2018 at 7:48
  • @Rolexel, the problem is your definition. The part about they dont believe is the perpetual error. The will has to be involved in either accepting or rejecting God. Simply NOT BELEIVING does not make one an ATHEIST. Children get ideas like this from a bad dictionary definition. The dictionary doesn't help for active thinking. You must make the distinction the person rejects God. That is what an atheist is. A chair is not atheist, a dog is not atheist, a new born is not an atheist, etc.
    – Logikal
    Mar 23, 2018 at 13:02

Regarding Labelling People:

Though the question is about terminology, I assume that is not the real intention...... I assume you want to convince your friend to worship God....Assigning a terminology or making anyone belong to a group or labelling people based on something they believe or don't believe would only create more and more divisions in the society and those divisions would result in people not liking each other .....we should rather try to convince people that we are all same irrespective of what they are..... IMHO, atheism, science, evolution, rationality have that uniting power.

Regarding worship of GOD:

Even if God exists, why should one worship God ? If God exists, God will definitely not want to be worshipped by anyone - wanting that will make it a master & slave relationship - only dictators and monarchs would demand such worship.

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