Or maybe you should...what do you think?  We all have most likely experienced the discrimination, sideways glances, and hushed tones of those around us when we tell them "I am an Atheist."  Even people we respect, look up to, and love may treat us differently after they realize that we openly claim this title.


I'm not suggesting that we should bend our portrayal of personal beliefs, or [god forbid] lie about them.  I am simply questioning the act of defining ourselves by a title that is the negation of a view we do not adhere to.


Perhaps one could argue that we call ourselves atheist in acknowledgment of our difference from the norm, being theist.  I bring this argument up because it only exemplifies my point: By labeling ourselves in a manner which acknowledges the norm, are we not empowering that norm we do not identify with?


You don't like Star Trek.  Fine.  

You're not a Trekkie.  Also fine.

You're an Atrekkie?  ...Not so much.



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Its interesting what you say.  On this site I hear all levels of anger, frustration and people coming to terms with how people react to them and their views.  But having said that, I think its incumbent on us to stop allowing others to make us feel a certain anger or shame. 


We should own the term and feel a sense of pride in our ability to see and accept fully what I consider how life really is.  Our ability to accept life as it is here, not waiting for something imaginary and knowing all that living a full and fruitful life.  Laughing at the theists who dare to say here is no purpose to life without this foolhardy view of life after death.


I am proud of my position and view.  I am proud I can work to be good without ever looking to some deal with some God.  People looking sideways mean nothing to me.  I just go forward.  So the term atheist is besides the point.  It is about the life I live and what I give to others and what I learn.  I don't need the acknowledgement of the term.  

I guess in the end, I don't care one way other another about the term.

I agree!  Well said.  I would still have to say, however, that the term sort of bothers me.  Its not about what people think of the term, its about the roots of the term itself I suppose...

A rose, by any other name would smell just as sweet!
well put

I agree with both points.  A rose has its own self acknowledging title independent of dafadils.  But yes, the positive content of the position innevitably outweighs the title.


Not so much an issue for me. I've been an atheist for over 33 years. I've always answered the question with "I am an atheist." Now I may follow up with my philosophical outlook which is a science based humanistic one, kinda sorta, but I just smile a little and let the "a" word sink in. I own my decision about the existence of gods.

Being expressive about being an atheist is something you do in a theist defined environment. I have been raised in a post-theist environment (especially in the region where I live - there is a history to that, but maybe for some other time) and it is very rare - weird even - to hear someone referring to him or herself as being an atheist.

It is just the default position. Even if many people regard the entire matter as just of no interest to them they nevertheless are explicit atheists. When asked they would reject the notion of any God and agree about religion being a very negative thing and a corrupting influence on world affairs. It is just that they are fortunate enough that it does not affect their personal lives anymore, they can afford to ignore it now.

By the way, there are some aspects of Trekkiedom that look really troubling to me.

You folks in the Netherlands have the edge on those of us living in the U.S. when it comes to religion. Here is it not at all unlikely that when you start a new job, school or whatever someone will walk up to you and ask you what church you go to. Jesus get credit when the only one of three hundred to survive a major accident spouts about how the son of god must have saved him/her for some reason. And here, it is not uncommon to believe that gods give a rats rear about who wins a sporting event.

Enjoy it there Albert. You live in an American atheists wet dream.  

Yes I am acutely aware of my good fortune. And every time I read some of the testimonies here I realize it even more and this increases my respect for the many American atheists having to endure abusive social pressure, constant religious heckling, discrimination, sometimes ostracizing and often emotional blackmail of close relatives on top of that, to the point I saw where parents disown their children, and then still stay true to themselves. Greater still though is my respect for atheists in muslim countries, who have to live under the oppression of religious utter, utter madness and daily keep up the performance while often really in fear for their very lives.

It is completely absurd that this exists in 2011 and even seems to get worse, while it should have been a distant memory around 800 AD or so, tops.

This link might be of interest. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2250104590805018608#

The term seems silly I agree and some have suggested an alternate term of "brights" which I personally don't care for but what else would you use as a description that remotely explains the opinion of the atheist?

i don't have any problem with calling myself an athiest. it just descibes my relationship to what i see as reality.


a theist (god-ist) is a person whose reality includes some kind of god or gods (or some similar divine something-or-other.)


an a-theist (godless-ist) is a person whose reality does not include some kind of god etc


although, i like the term above, "post-theist." that might even be better because i live in a reality in which religion of any kind really isn't a question or issue of any interest whatsoever. i would dearly love to live in a post-theist society, or even better on a post-theist planet.

I have to say, post-theism sounds so much better than atheism.  I think it might be because, while still counter-defining, it simultaneously considers theism to be something of the past, something we've moved on from.


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