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.

 

Thoughts?

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Sam Harris had a bit to say about that at the last atheist convention.  I'll post a link if I can find it.  He basically said that if you lose the word, you lose the connotation and it becomes as benign as a non-astrologer, non-anything.   But I think the movement is not going to simply let that happen.

I don't like the word atheist at all. It is a word which has become filled with extremely negative associations. I dislike it when people change words for rediculous politically correct reasons; yet here I am thinking it might be a good idea to do so in the case of the word "atheist". 

 

I would rather tell someone I am a seeker than an atheist. I can then explain that a seeker is someone who seeks the truth; that I am in the process of considering all religions and belief systems.  

 

I think people would have less of a negative reaction, even though I may be a little disingenuous when I say I am in the process of considering all religions, because actually, the honest truth would be, I am in the process of considering all religions rediculous. Okay, to be even more honest, I am not in any process - I am way past that. Oh well, it was just a thought.

 

 

being a seeker is awesome, it means that you have an open mind. i consider myself to be a seeker for sure, the thing is, in my seeking i, like you, have come to realize that religion makes no sense in a rational manner. so, really, like you lol i am now beyond the whole issue.

 

but as for not liking the word "atheist," i have to say that i LOVE being an atheist. i'm proud of being an atheist because i put in a lot of hard work becoming one! it's like the point that bill maher made in religulous, there are lots of atheists out there and they need to come forward. the religious right has become militant and loud, and in response there are people like sam harris and richard dawkins who are willing to stand up and say, "yeah, i'm an atheist, so what!" I don't think there's any way around getting negative associations with whatever you call yourself if you stand in opposition (on either side.) I think atheists just need to be straightforward and not worry about what people think and just say, "yeah, I'm an atheist, so what!"

Mr. Shatner called. He confirmed that Star Trek the TV series and movies exists. Thusly, anyone claiming to be an atrekkie is an idiot. :)

Ha. Word.

ideally, we don't need the word atheist anymore than we need the word a-leprechaunist. But it looks like it's here to stay unless another word is invented.

 

 

Instead of simply uttering "I am an atheist", I prefer sharp insights like "I don't accept the logic of Christianity" or " I do not hold a belief in the supernatural" or " I try to stick to beliefs with evidence" - that sort of thing.

 

My favorite thing to say, if i am specifically asked is: "I do not believe in a celestial dictator."

I have to chime in and say that it is only very recently, the last 5 years or so, that I have started verbally saying out loud, "I am an Athiest".  For me I am not a seeker, I have decided beyond a shadow of a doubt what I believe. But having grown up in the bible belt, it NEVER would have occurred to me to openly respond until recently.  If yI had said it out loud, I knew that along with that came a certain "I am less than you" confirmation.

 

But the first time I said it out loud was when I was going above and beyond in a volunteer situation and a fellow parent said to me, "You are SUCH a good Christian!"  and at that moment, I really just felt so angry that I was done being quiet.  Because silence is acceptance and I felt like it was up to me to do my tiny little part to pave the way for future non-believers to feel ok, to start gaining a little bit of acceptance.

So I have actually made a point to say it out loud whenever the opportunity arises, because where I am from, that is what Christians do, they feel like they are amazing and special for what they believe, and you know what?  I FEEL SPECIAL and amazing for how I believe. (correction:  I THINK :)

 

When someone says to me, "Bless you!"  I say, "awww, I know that comes from a place of caring but I don't believe in God or blessing, but thank you for the thought."  I don't care where I am or who it is, I respond.

When my SUPER religious neighbors pull out the invite card to church, like they have TWICE now on the street in front of my kids, I say out loud, "Neighbor, we do NOT believe in God and we never will.  I will never go to church with you.  I like you and enjoy your company but you trying to get my to believe in God is like me trying to get you to believe he is pretend.  Can you imagine that, neighbor?"  And they are like, "uh, no."

 

I have become empowered and angry about having to pretend how I think by being quiet and tip-toeing around my beliefs in conversations.

 

When I think of the progress that homosexuals have made, it has been a hard road, but one that never would have been paved if someone wasn't willing to really speak up always about who they were.  No apologies.  And while we have a LONG WAYS to go, progress has been made.

I dream of the day when people can believe whatever they want without shame or condemnation.  We have a long ways to go, but I feel personally like it starts with me.

 

"When someone says to me, "Bless you!"  I say, "awww, I know that comes from a place of caring but I don't believe in God or blessing, but thank you for the thought."

 

Is that really necessary? If someone said, "best wishes" or "good health" would you say, "I don't believe that your incantations affect my health or destiny"? We are living in a society based upon god. There are, of course, thousands of conventions and social norms which emanate from this. Do we have to, would it even be possible to, weed out every reference to what amounts to the virtual entirety of human society? I believe we need to evolve society. Words evolve. It would be a whole lot easier to assume a non-theistic meaning for "bless you" and just say, "thanks".

What is easier for you may not be what is easiest for others.  It is not easiest for me to say "thanks" because, as I mentioned in my post, I personally feel like I have a responsibility to respond in a way that reflects what I believe.  Because of my personal journey, and a lifetime of not speaking up in ANY way, it is often an amazing opportunity to share with someone that not everyone thinks like they do, as they often assume.  And often a "bless you" is in response to me being nice or giving someone something, and I want them to know I am not doing it because "I am a good Christian", as per my post, but because I am a good person.  It's a personal thing.  OF course there is no way to weed out every reference, but we can start small because that is how evolution will take place.

Fuck!

 

It would have been unthinkable to use that word so openly only a generation ago. Being an "atheist" has always meant that you are an enemy to the established philosophy. Declaring yourself to be the enemy (in their eyes) of society as it has always been defined is still almost as jarring as openly saying "fuck" was a generation ago. Regular usage mollifies this stance. Nowadays saying "fuck" means nothing more than you don't have much a vocabulary. As Richard Dawkins says, we need to "come out" and even out others. That means declaring yourself an "atheist". Slowly the word will become less jarring and more normal. The more normal atheism and atheists become, the more people will consider investigating the basis of their life systems and start moving toward living in reality.

I'm not 'an atheist.' 

I'm simply atheist.

 

Lack of belief in the supernatural is only one variable of that which makes up my personality. 

It is not the only defining feature.

Hell, it isn't even the most prominant. 

But it is a fundamental part of who I am. 

I can acknowledge that without tribalistic perimeters that comes along with labeling ourselves as 'this' or 'that.'

 

 

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