I’ve realised I prefer not to call myself an atheist. It seems like strange word. A word for something you don’t believe in. I don’t believe in unicorns but there’s no word for that, or pretty much anything else I don’t believe in. 

Instead of calling myself an atheist I’d rather call myself a person of reason. 

Plus what hits harder when someone asks if you believe in god, replying "No, I'm an atheist." OR "No. I'm a man/woman of reason".

(Though I do realise 'atheist' is a little sexier and easier to google.)

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I wouldn't argue against that... but it doesn't change the fact that we atheists need to speak up more, to compensate for all the speaking faithers do, I don't trust our socio-politics... but isn't atheists NOT speaking up part of the reason for that?

T A A, your post has much to recommend it. To partake, we have to speak clearly, loudly, and frequently, and the faithers have been doing it louder and more frequently.

I give special attention to the term "our democracy" because so many say it so often. In my not very humble opinion, no cliche does more harm.

That's all well and good. Very compassionate of you! But bear in mind two things:

1. This is people continue to hate, fear, misunderstand the word 'atheist'.

2. Realize this: *You* are NOT responsible for *any* emotion that a believer's faith may inspire in that believer, be it fear, hate, pain, or confusion. Their religion is *their* religion, ergo *their* responsibility and "cross to bear".

yes kim i am not responsible for their emotions, but I would seriously get the immediate blame for eliciting these emotions.  I am just not up for that.  I have much more important things to deal with other than their condescending, arrogant need to "save me........ " 

I have no wish to be just as condescending, arrogant in my insistence that they are wrong, which is exactly the way a theist thinks when they know an atheist is amongst them.....

yes it is just a word, as are many other words which if you choose to use them you will have to deal with some pretty extreme responses.  

Skilled use of WORDS is true power.

touche Blaine i am appropriately skewered.....  I sure set myself up for that.

I just meant that folks connotations of words mean as much or even more than the dictionary denotation of the same words. 

that is exactly why misunderstandings occur and communications are not so clean; we all have individual meanings for words that may or may not jive with the dictionary meaning. Some personal meanings of words are broader and geographic.

some people think of religious means scrupulous, faithful and conscientious

others may feel religious means uneducated, close minded and gullible

i will let you choose your mean, i know mine......

You're getting into one of my favorite topics in Rhetoric...shades of meaning, the tone of a word--it's connotations.  Each is important for good communication. 

We don't have different definitions (denotations) for words, but it's quite obvious that words can have different connotations (look that up in a dictionary).

This is common sense, Blaine.

Blaine - age-old philosophical question: If a man walks into the forest, and speaks, and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?

If might help to know if any trees were injured...

I, too, am uncomfortable with the term "atheist" because I think it is too equivocating -"wishy-washy", if you will.   I think everything about any religion is so preposterous as to make it quite certain in my mind that there are not and cannot be gods and the like.  If I had to coin a term to describe myself, I suppose it would be "non-theist."  If, in discussion with a theist, I am in a contentious frame of mind, I generally refer to myself as an "anti-theist" in order to make clear my antipathy toward religion.

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