Atheism... goes back to the Ancient Greek (a - a negative prefix, theos - god), evidencing the antiquity of the outlook of those who saw no presence of God (or gods) in their everyday lives, or who even denied the very existence of God (or gods). There are different types of atheism, but atheism in one form or another has existed in every civilization. [T]he concept "atheist" partially coincides with such notions as "skeptic, " "agnostic, " and "rationalist" and it borders with such notions as "anticlerical, " "God fighter" (theomachist), and "God abuser" (blasphemer). It is wrong to identify an atheist as one who denies God, though this is what opponents of atheism usually claim. If such people exist, it would probably be more correct to call them the "verbal" murderers of God, for the prefix a- means denying as elimination... I would like to stress that the prefix a- does not necessarily mean rejection. It can mean "absence of." For example, "apathy" means "absence of passion." Thus, the concept "atheist" does not necessarily mean nihilism.
Valerii A. Kuvakin