Are there gradations of atheism?

Yes I think so.  I personally find the label “atheist” to be annoyingly black and white.  Some people make a distinction between “believe God doesn’t exist” vs. “don’t believe God exists,” and while I think that hints at the gradations, to me it is not a particularly useful way of expressing the nuances.

For me there are essentially two important scales:  the likelihood you associate with God’s existence (ranging from 0% to 100%), and the literalness of how you define God, at one end being similar to what we imagine those in ancient times believed (an entity who existed in time and space, and had a human-like appearance and human-like thoughts and emotions), and at the other is the ultra-liberal, ultra vague “God is love” or “God is the feeling of awe you get when you look at the world” or even “God is a comforting personification of nature.”

Each person’s views might be represented as a two-dimensional curve on a graph, with one axis being “percentage chance of existing” and the other being “literalness of definition.” The hardest of hard-core atheist would have a flat curve where it is all at 0%, for all definitions of God.

I’m sure there are other scales as well (for instance, how much you’ve really considered the whole question of God existence).

For me, I think the more important property that I identify with — and one that could effectively collapse things into a single scale rather than two or more — is that I have “a naturalistic worldview, free of supernatural or mystical elements.” (*)  Lack of belief in God is just one side-effect of being on the far end of that scale.

* that wording is from the description of the “Brights” — and while I agree with their viewpoints, I think they have an obnoxious name so I would never refer to myself as a “bright.”

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