If you don't believe in God — or if you contradict other beliefs of a religion — you are a heathen.

There are plenty of nonbelievers, but a heathen is something more — someone who is actively offensive to a religion. The term is tied to the Gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; someone who rejects the various gods of Hinduism, for example, is not likely to be called a heathen. Heathens are sometimes called infidels and pagans. These days, the term is often used humorously. An atheist might jokingly refer to herself as a heathen.

Definitions of heathen

n a person who does not acknowledge your god

gentile, infidel, pagan
a heathen; a person who is not a Christian (especially a Muslim)
idol worshiper, idolater, idoliser, idolizer
a person who worships idols
a woman idolater
Type of:
nonreligious person
a person who does not manifest devotion to a deity

adj not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam

ethnic, heathenish, pagan
hostile or indifferent to religion

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