Negative and positive atheism
Negative atheism, also called weak atheism and soft atheism, is any type of atheism where a person does not believe in the existence of any deities but does not necessarily explicitly assert that there are none. Positive atheism, also called strong atheism and hard atheism, is the form of atheism that additionally asserts that no deities exist. Sometimes positive atheism goes by the term gnostic atheism to contrast with agnostic atheism, which is more correlated with weak atheism, and to stand opposite Gnostic theism on simple charts mapping different belief systems.
|on left||Implicit "negative" / "weak" / "soft" atheists who lack a belief in God without explicitly denying the concept, includes very young children, those who are unacquainted with the concept or are truly undecided.|
|on right||Explicit "negative" / "weak" / "soft" atheists who do not believe that God exists necessarily.|
|on right||Explicit "positive" / "strong" / "hard" atheists who firmly believe that God doesn't exist.|
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The terms "negative atheism" and "positive atheism" were used by Antony Flew in 1976 and have appeared in George H. Smith's and Michael Martin's writings since 1990.