I have had this discussion on other threads and I wanted to get your opinions on what most fellow Atheists consider an "Atheist".

I have always considered an "Atheist" as someone who does not believe in even the possibility of a God/Gods, an afterlife, reincarnation of any kind, energies "living on" or being "transferred to other forms" after death, ghosts/souls, and/or superstitious beliefs.

I have not considered Buddhists atheists as they still believe in "energies" and the sorts; and believe that people who say that they believe in the "possibility" of an afterlife as agnostics or the sorts - I have been an atheist for example since I was 15-16 and maybe an agnostic for a couple of years before then.

For example, I am sure that Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the likes all fit into the aforementioned definition of an "Atheist". So, what do you think?

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You said you don't "discount" the possibility as in actual terms, not that you cannot "disprove" it. Again, I don't want to be combative on here so you said what you said and I said what I said. Let's just move on from that point.
so do you accept that i am an atheist?

Does it matter what I think?? IF you hold it truly plausible as an "unknown" if an afterlife exists then I personally don't think that is an atheist but again, who cares what I think? I just want to see what others think on this subject. IT does not mean I don't respect your opinion or think of you as a lesser of a person.

"athe·ist noun \'ā-thē-ist\ : one who believes that there is no deity"

"a·the·ist  /ey-thee-ist /
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

1565–75; < Greek áthe ( os ) godless + -ist"

English is a "common usage" language.

Publishers of dictionaries are in the business of publishing words and their meanings according to common usage.

Atheism=godlessness, "keep it simple, stupid".

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in any sort of consciousness after death, but I'm not going to bother adding more meaning to a word that should be cut and dry.

Does not believe in god(s) = atheist

I'm not one for arbitrary exclusivism.



We must remember that meanings of words typically vary across a spectrum of possible interpretations.  


For instance, "God" has several meanings according to Merriam-Webster.com:

1: capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship;specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
3: a person or thing of supreme value
4: a powerful ruler
It is also used as a term for a very handsome man and is used as a slang term up north, I have heard wu-tang clan use it in at least one of their songs back in the day, "What's up god" (compare: "What's up dog" or "What's up dude")
Many people especially here on an Atheist forum or in a religious atmosphere when using the word "God" typically intend it to mean some supreme being controlling the universe.  Hence numbers 1 and 2 in above definition.  However, we can just as accurately use the word god to mean numbers 4 or 5: "Money was his god".  
Most people when using the term God, mean supreme divine being controlling the universe even though there are proper and accepted usages of the word.  
Just throwing that into the mix :) 

thx :)
When everyone has personal definitions for words, communication becomes problematic.
Quite. maybe the thread header should be changed to "who decides who can call themselves an atheist?"

That certainly seems to be the issue. There's a lot of gray area when it comes to explaining viewpoints and perspectives when relating them to metaphysical implications and things like agnosticsm vs. atheism, etc. I identify myself as an atheist, meaning one without belief of any theological "god" or "creator." A-theist: not a theist.


With that said, my verdict is still out on consciousness and what happens when you die, which I feel is a different debate altogether.

On the same note, I feel that the word "atheist," especially when used by the uninformed, comes across with a certain distaste or misunderstanding as being negative. It has a negative connotation that is, quite unfortunately, misconstrued as something evil or inherently bad.


Richard Dawkins briefly discusses the issue here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6fYcUYXRv0

Back to my original point: I want to get the input from what other atheists think. Not to be combative or debate the point to death. I rather do that on another topic; not this one.

Thank you to everyone for their comments thus far.


Just a reminder to keep these discussions civil and respectful. There has been a lot of tension in some of the discussions in the community as of late and we wanted to remind everyone to take a breath and keep things positive.



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