Atheism is the belief that there is no God. It is not a mere lack of belief in God, nor is it a belief in ignorance of God, but specifically that there is no God. The belief that we cannot know or understand God or anything of a supra-material order (the previously mentioned belief in ignorance) is today generally termed "agnosticism." Both positions are condemned by the Orthodox Church for being a belief in error for denial (explicitly in the case of atheists and some agnostics, implicitly in the case of other agnostics) of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.
It is curious that the word "atheism" is chosen for this belief, as it is actually more appropriately applicable to "agnosticism." The "a-" prefix meaning "lack of," and "-theism" indicating belief in a higher power, an atheist is etymologically one without belief in a higher power, not someone who specifically denies the existence of such (as the "atheists" of today do by definition). The more appropriate term for the denial of the supernatural would be "antitheism," "anti-" meaning "against," indicating opposition to belief in a higher power.
- Orthodox Christianity and Militant Atheism in the Twentieth Century from Timothy Ware's The Orthodox Church (2nd ed), Penguin Books, London 1993, pp 145-9 and 162.
- Atheism and Orthodoxy in Modern Russia delivered by Fr. Hilarion Alfeyev at the Orthodox Peace Fellowship retreat in Vézelay, France, 5-7 May 2001
- The Challenge of Atheism by Fr. Stephen Freeman
- Christian Atheism by Fr. Stephen Freeman
- History of the Orthodox Church: The Modern Church: Confrontation with Atheistic Regimes by Aristeides Papadakis, Ph.D.