The definition that I hear the most often is that atheism is a LACK of belief in gods, also sometimes characterized as agnostic atheism. This generally is the position taken in a discussion / debate where the existence of god is asserted. Such a positive assertion brings with it the burden of proof to substantiate it ... which usually doesn't work out so well for most believers. We simply deny their assertion, as a denial carries no burden with it.
The statement: "There are no gods" is held by many in the atheist community (including yours truly!), usually with the Null Hypothesis supporting it, but its problem is that it is exceptionally difficult to prove a negative. For myself, no, I don't think any gods exist, but I also understand the exigencies of making such a statement as a part of a conversation where that contention may come into question.
Meantime, GREETS, Darcy, and welcome to Atheist Nexus!
Loren, I like your response to Darcy.
Welcome to our group, Darcy. For me atheism is simply declining to believe in any deities. The only evidence needed to support this is the utter and complete lack of evidence or any reason whatsoever to believe in them. Religionists like to claim that "It takes more faith" to believe in the big bang or evolution than it does to believe in creationism, imho a completely fatuous argument. As Salman Rushdie recently reminded us, science proves things to us; it doesn't require us to believe anything.
Bertold, I like your response to Dary, too.
Darcy, I first call myself a humanist. But when pressed, I say when it comes to the disgusting god of Abraham and Isaac -- "Abe, you and Ike meet me at Sacrifice Rock. And bring the knife." -- I'm a total atheist. For such an unlikely combination of egoist and sadist to be in charge of everything doesn't fly. If you ask was there an intelligence behind the creation of the universe, I'm an agnostic. It seems most unlikely; there are better ways to explain it all; but I'm slightly less than 100% convinced there is no such. This may help you, or somebody, or it may just add confusion. But that's what works for me.
Jerry, your response to Darcy works for me too.
Welcome Darcy. You will find that many of us have different ways of putting things also about belief or non belief. I'm a former theist who studied for the ministry, and I do not have a LACK of belief in god or gods. I say this because many believers today try to convert me or "get me back on the right path." Save your time, please. What I LACK is the evidence of belief. In world history there has never been any evidence that would support gods or god belief. It's a fact. This is when believers tell you that you just have to have faith.
Let me explain "faith." This is when you think daily about your old car turning into a new Ferrari but deep down you know it is never going to happen. Even so, you try to believe it anyway.
Michael, yours is a good answer, too. I'm getting a feeling here that there exist many ways to express our experience or lack of experience of evident.
What I LACK is the evidence of belief.
Michael, on a scale of from cold to hot, you're warmer than the others so far.
I'm probably a soft atheist and base my lack of belief on particular types of gods being asserted. I don't believe in the Christian god because there is no present evidence that this particular god exists and disbelieve that the Old and New Testaments are factual. I am an atheists when people describe a god that there clearly is not any evidence for, gods that they claim to know in depth, how they think and what they(or it) wants from us.
Is there some type of god(s) out there somewhere that created us? Who knows. Even if there is, there is no convincing evidence that there is active intervention in this world, that it cares about us, that humanity is the center of the universe, or that the god is all knowing and all good. I could be convinced that there was some sort of creator that died long ago, that created a universe that could be seen as beautiful, elegant, yet hard and shitty at the same time. In other words: Imperfect. Hardly the kind of god that most theists endorse. That is speculative though and is not asserted to be true or false because it is too vague a concept.
I cannot assert myself to say with confidence: "No gods exists" because I don't really know that. If I and everyone around me saw one as clear as day, then I would probably accept that one exists.
OK, it is getting to be multiple answers to a profound question. I like your answer, too, James.
James, on that cold-to-hot scale, you are closing in on hot.
The adjective 'clearly' implies a need to convince.