22 October 2014

Who Is An Atheist?

. . . Let's go and ask search engine giant Google this question, and it'll promptly reply: an atheist is "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods".

The Greek word αθεοι (atheoi), as it appears in the Epistle to the Ephesians
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
. . . Merriam Webster online dictionary also suggests similar definition— "a person who believes that God does not exist" or "one who believes that there is no deity".

So does the Oxford dictionary: "A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods"

But Swami Vivekananda gave a new definition of "atheism" and "atheist". In this article, we'll discuss Swami Vivekananda's definition(s) of "an atheist".

Who is an atheist?
Swami Vivekananda defined—[Source]
He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is the atheist who does not believe in himself.
Essay in a nutshell
One who does not believe in himself or herself, is an atheist.
Here is a similar comment—[Source]
The people say, "Do you believe in God? Do you believe in a future life? Do you believe in this doctrine or that dogma?" But here the base is wanting: this belief in oneself. Ay, the man who cannot believe in himself, how can they expect him to believe in anything else? I am not sure of my own existence. One moment I think that I am existing and nothing can destroy me; the next moment I am quaking in fear of death.
He clearly told—[Source]
You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.


. . . that's how, we find that Swami Vivekananda's definition of an atheist is more practical and concrete. Generally it is said, one who does not believe in an "unseen or unknown" God or gods is an atheist. But, Swami Vivekananda asked to believe in oneself first.

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This page was last updated on: 22 October 2014, 1:16 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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