I am not ashamed of being an atheist. I'm ok w/being rational. But I had a discussion with my sister in law today regarding having been Roman Catholic. We both come from Catholic families -- she is SBNR (spiritual but not religious, a point of view that I find to be namby-pamby), and I am an atheist. I caught myself candy-coating my point of view. I said that I was extremely agnostic. And as I was saying it, I was thinking, "WTF? Atheist!". Now, to a degree, I didn't want to offend her. And to a degree, I didn't want to get into a discussion, muchless an argument, about it. But I do feel cowardly. 
Any body else been here? 

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Precisely why, doone. I don't need to know every person's view on religion and I don't think that every person needs to know mine. Most relationships would strain under the weight of full disclosure. If it is not relevant to the relationship, then it really doesn't matter.
Agreed. I have a dear friend who was "born-again" about three years ago and we almost destroyed our friendship a few months back after getting into a week-long, heated discussion regarding what he believes about the creation of the universe, science, thought, the soul, etc. Yes, he is a creationist...and a literal "created in six days" creationist at that. I chose to base my future friendship based on his personality, kindness, and good deeds and not on his religious beliefs. It simply wasn't worth loosing a good friend.
Ditto for co workers who believe in any religion - it is not my business to un convert them.

Agreed. Sometimes I think that there is far too much of an emphasis on making religious people abandon their beliefs. Unless a religious person is causing harm or infringing upon others' rights because of their beliefs, I am really not concerned with their ideology beyond mild amusement at some of the more interesting doctrines. (Who doesn't giggle at Xenu and the Galactic Confederation?) I guess this could possibly make me an accommodationist, but I really just think of it as "live and let live" so long as no one is being harmed.
In retrospect, I think that this is really what it came down to -- didn't want to get into it w/her. I like her, and am glad she and my brother are together. Thanks for saying that I wasn't being dishonest -- that is what really bothered me about it. I thought that I was. I'm just someone who likes to keep the peace as long as I'm not shying away from reality.
People often forget that it is entirely possible to be both atheist and agnostic as atheist deals with belief/faith and agnostic deals with knowledge. In fact most atheists are agnostic to a degree. You are correct in saying that the original poster wasn't necessarily being dishonest.
I would think that all atheist are truly agnostic because, as you said being agnostic has to do with knowledge....and none of us KNOW for a 100% fact that God exists or not. It is not scientifically verifiable, measurable or confirmable. If an atheist states they are not agnostic and that they KNOW that God doesn't exist, I want to see the scientific proof. I, myself am an agnostic atheist, and have no qualms about admitting that I simply don't know.
I missed your post and posted a similar response. I like the way you think! ;-)
People often forget that it is entirely possible to be both atheist and agnostic as atheist deals with belief/faith and agnostic deals with knowledge. In fact most atheists are agnostic to a degree. You are correct in saying that the original poster wasn't necessarily being dishonest.

All atheists I know of are agnostics. I don't know of anyone that claims to absolutely know that there is no god or gods. As I have argued many times before, an agnostic atheist is a redundant term for all practical purposes. Interchange them at will, really. If people are really needing to know, they'll follow up with questions.
There are plenty of atheists who are not agnostic, I have personally met quite a few of them. You are correct in saying however that most atheists are agnostic to some degree and stating that you are an agnostic atheist is rather redundant.

For me personally the degree of agnosticism I have changes with the definition of god that is presented to me and for some definitions of god I have heard it's just so much easier to say no that sort of god definitely does not exist.
There are plenty of atheists who are not agnostic

There are? To clarify, being agnostic does not mean that one is so unsure that they can not say anything on the subject with any level of certainty. It merely means that we don't know. That is an intellectual honest position on any claim that requires one to prove a negative. If you know gnostic atheists, they are, in essence, claiming to have proven a negative.
Surprisingly enough there are atheists who aren't agnostic... frankly I think the atheists who claim there definitely isn't god are just as insane as those who claim there definitely is a god. And talking to anyone from one of the two groups is unsurprising similar.

And when I said 'plenty of atheists... ' I didn't mean to make it sound as if there are scores of them out there.... bad choice of words on my part.
I think that we can honestly claim gnosis in regards to a specific definition of a god. For example, I think that it is logically sound to be a gnostic atheist in regards to the existence of a god who created the world in six days only six thousand years ago because we have indubitable evidence which directly contradicts this assertion.

However, I think that the gnostic atheist position is fundamentally flawed if adopted in regards to a general theistic belief; I suppose it depends upon the context in which the atheism is being mentioned. Generalized atheism in regards to the existence of any possible supernatural, transcendent, spiritual being is necessarily agnostic. Although some people may claim generalized gnostic atheism, I contend that this claim is illogical because, as has already been mentioned, it is intellectually unsound to claim to have proven a negative.


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