A reader writes:

The problem with having no name for atheism is that it allows the atheists (people who choose to believe there is no god) to fudge the distinction between themselves and agnostics (people who assert that they do not know whether there is a god, and/or that it is impossible to know whether there is a god).  That would be beneficial P.R. for the atheists, because agnostics are quite a bit more popular than atheists.

What the atheists are avoiding is that their position, no less than that of theists, rests squarely on faith.  There is no way to reach by reason the proposition that there is or is not a god.  The only position compatible with reason is that we do not know.  That doesn't satisfy the atheists, though -- they must deny the existence of what they cannot know does not exist.

So, no, I don't agree with not calling atheists atheists.  Atheists should be called atheists, and agnostics should be called agnostics.  It is not the same thing.

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