It's that time again, kiddies. Time to ask the atheist! What is "Ask the Atheist" some of you might be asking? Okay, none of you are asking, but I'm telling you anyway since I'm a pedantic ass. It's basically a thread wherein you can ask questions of me, The Atheist. I have granted myself that title because, well, nobody else would do it for me. The thread is so-named because it is named in honor of a segment on a radio show I used to listen to regularly.
But first, some ground rules:
1) Other atheists are welcome and invited to participate.
2) Don't try to turn this in to a game of "stump the heathen" or spend 2-3 pages copying and pasting misspelled drivel you found on some creationist site, it's just annoying and it has led to people being put on the moderated status
3) Know your terms. Mako has, in the past, posted a diagram explaining what the difference is between an atheist and an agnostic. I've explained this several times as well. Please don't make us get out the chart. I'll explain the definitions in a bit, and please be careful to keep them in mind when you post. If your post indicates that you have your own definition of "agnostic" that does not conform with the ACTUAL definition, then I'm not going to reply to your post beyond referring you to "the rules". Doesn't matter what else you have to say, if you don't conform to the actual definitions, your post will be mentally filed in the recycle bin. Language and consistent word use is important.
4) Don't use the word "evolutionist". It's not a real word, and it doesn't describe any actual person on Earth. Ditto with "Darwinist". It's made up to try to artificially put science and religion on the same playing field. Any mention of the words "evolutionist" or "Darwinist" will be summarily ignored, and I request that my fellow atheists do the same.
Okay, now that the rules are out of the way, here's some definitions:
Theism - the belief in a deity
Atheism - lack of, or without belief in a deity
Gnostic - a claim of specific knowledge in regards to the existence of a deity
Agnostic - lack of, or without a specific claim of knowledge in regards to the existence of a deity
Knowledge is based on empirical observation.
Belief is specifically NOT based on empirical observation.
Ergo, if you aren't sure if there's a god, that would fall under the spectrum of gnostic vs agnostic. If you aren't sure if you BELIEVE in a god, that falls under the spectrum of theist vs atheist. If you aren't sure you like being fixed with the label of "atheist", that just means you've bought in to the emotional baggage so many people have tried to strap on to the word.
Basically, EVERYONE is an agnostic, because it's been several thousand years since god supposedly revealed himself to anyone, and that would be the only way to have a specific claim of knowledge. Knowing isn't the same as believing really, really hard. The guy in the mental hospital who thinks he's Eleanor Roosevelt believes really, really hard. But at no point has he ever, EVER any direct observational evidence that he is, in fact, the First Lady circa World War 2. So what it comes down to is this: do you BELIEVE there is a god? Yes? Then you're a theist. Are you not sure? Have you never really thought too much about it? Do you not give a rat's ass? Then congrats, you're an atheist.
Edit: THE CHART! Click the link. Read the chart. Know the chart. Love the chart. Without the chart, you are nothing. Without you, the chart is nothing.
So now, on to the questions.
PS: I should mention, given that the definition for "atheist" is so broad, that means there's a LOT of people who fall under that category. Seriously, a metric assload, maybe more. So don't think that it's possible to categorize and identify what "all atheists think" or "what all atheists believe" or anything. It's really not possible. Nihilists and secular humanists (as an example) would both fall under the category of "atheist", but both are radically different in their beliefs.