Definitions of atheism also vary in the degree of consideration a person must put to the idea of gods to be considered an atheist.
(Sizes in the diagram are not meant to indicate relative sizes within a population.) contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is a philosophic position in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection.
Atheism has been regarded as compatible with agnosticism, A variety of categories have been used to distinguish the different forms of atheism.
Some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity and god.
With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope.
The first individuals to identify themselves using the word atheist lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment.
Many atheists hold that atheism is a more parsimonious worldview than theism and therefore that the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of God but on the theist to provide a rationale for theism.Several comprehensive global polls on the subject have been conducted by Gallup International: their 2015 poll featured over 64,000 respondents and indicated that 11% were "convinced atheists" whereas an earlier 2012 poll found that 13% of respondents were "convinced atheists." on the left), according to authors such as George H.The plurality of wildly different conceptions of God and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheism's applicability.The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the pagan deities.Gradually, this view fell into disfavor as theism came to be understood as encompassing belief in any divinity.With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a deity, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.