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Atheism vs. Theism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 2, 2023
Atheism is the disbelief in gods or deities, whereas theism is the belief in one or more gods.

Key Differences

Atheism is characterized by the absence of belief in deities, which fundamentally contrasts with theism, where belief in at least one deity forms the core. Atheism does not entail a belief system, while theism typically involves doctrines and practices related to the deity or deities.
In atheism, there is no adherence to religious texts or rituals, distinguishing it from theism, which often bases its beliefs and practices on sacred texts. Atheists generally rely on scientific and empirical evidence, while theists may accept faith and revelation as sources of truth.
Atheism involves a skeptical approach to supernatural claims, contrasting with theism, which often embraces such claims about gods or a god. Atheism tends to focus on what can be known or proven, whereas theism may involve belief in the unprovable.
Ethical and moral frameworks in atheism are usually independent of religious doctrines, unlike in theism where morality is often intertwined with religious teachings. Atheists might derive their morals from secular philosophy, whereas theists may look to their deity or deities for moral guidance.
Atheism does not involve worship, prayer, or religious rituals, all of which are central to theism. This distinction marks a fundamental difference in lifestyle and worldview between atheists and theists.

Comparison Chart

Belief in Deities

Disbelief in all deities
Belief in one or more deities

Religious Texts

No adherence to religious scriptures
Often involves sacred texts

Source of Truth

Relies on empirical evidence and science
May accept faith and revelation

Moral Framework

Morals often derived from secular philosophy
Morals often linked to religious teachings

Religious Practices

Absence of worship or religious rituals
Involves worship, prayer, and rituals

Atheism and Theism Definitions


Atheism is non-belief in the existence of god or gods.
The seminar on atheism explored various secular philosophies.


Theism is the doctrine that accepts the existence of a god.
The debate highlighted the differences between his theism and her atheism.


Atheism is skepticism towards religious deities.
His atheism was more about seeking evidence than denying faith.


Theism is the belief in one or more gods.
Her theism shaped her perspective on life and morality.


Atheism is a philosophical position that rejects theism.
His atheism influenced his scientific inquiries.


Theism involves a faith-based belief in divine beings.
In his theism, he found comfort and guidance.


Atheism is the absence of belief in deities or divine beings.
In a debate, she defended her atheism with scientific reasoning.


Theism often includes a relationship with a divine entity.
Her theism was integral to her understanding of the universe.


Atheism is the lack of belief in any gods.
Jane's atheism led her to question religious teachings.


Theism typically encompasses religious practices and rituals.
His theism led him to participate in various religious ceremonies.


Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.


Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.


(narrowly) Belief that no deities exist (sometimes including rejection of other religious beliefs).


Belief in the existence of at least one deity.


(broadly) Rejection of belief that any deities exist (with or without a belief that no deities exist).


(narrowly) Belief in the existence of a personal creator god, goddess, gods and/or goddesses present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. The God may be known by or through revelation.


(very broadly) Absence of belief that any deities exist (including absence of the concept of deities).


A morbid condition resulting from excessive consumption of tea.


(historical) Absence of belief in a particular deity, pantheon, or religious doctrine (notwithstanding belief in other deities).


The belief or acknowledgment of the existence of a God, as opposed to atheism, pantheism, or polytheism.


The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.
Atheism is a ferocious system, that leaves nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us to awaken tenderness.
Atheism and pantheism are often wrongly confounded.


The morbid condition resulting from the excessive use of tea.




The doctrine or belief in the existence of a God or gods


The doctrine or belief that there is no God


A lack of belief in the existence of God or gods


Do atheists participate in religious rituals?

Generally, atheists do not engage in religious rituals.

What is theism?

Theism is the belief in one or more gods.

Can theists be part of an organized religion?

Yes, theists often participate in organized religions.

Do theists believe in an afterlife?

Many theists believe in some form of afterlife, but beliefs vary.

What is atheism?

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods or deities.

Is atheism a religion?

No, atheism itself is not a religion.

Do theists rely on faith?

Yes, theism often involves faith in the existence of deities.

Can atheists have moral values?

Yes, atheists can have strong moral frameworks independent of religion.

Are there different types of atheism?

Yes, atheism can range from passive non-belief to active denial of gods.

Can one be raised atheist?

Yes, individuals can be raised in non-religious households.

What happens when atheists face existential questions?

Atheists often turn to philosophy, science, or personal reflection.

Are there different types of theism?

Yes, theism includes monotheism, polytheism, and other variations.

Do atheists celebrate religious holidays?

Some might culturally, but generally not for religious reasons.

Can a theist doubt their beliefs?

Yes, theists can experience doubt and questioning.

Is theism based on personal experiences?

For some theists, personal experiences play a key role in their belief.

Do theists pray?

Many theists engage in prayer as part of their religious practice.

Can atheists convert to theism?

Yes, individuals can change their beliefs over time.

Do theists have a community?

Many theists find community in religious groups or congregations.

How do atheists explain the universe?

Atheists often look to science and natural explanations.

How do theists view science?

Views vary, but many theists see science as compatible with their beliefs.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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