I'm not an atheist. How can you not believe in something that doesn't exist? That's way too convoluted for me.


 This quote by A. Whitney Brown really got me thinking about this again.


What is atheism? Do we really need a special word to describe our lack of belief in something? Why aren't all the people that don't believe in Santa Claus called by a special word? Should we come up with a new word to describe the people that don't believe in flying pigs?



The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god", which was applied with a negative connotation to those thought to reject the gods worshipped by the larger society.


If this is true, then we were labeled by our "enemies" but we still use it. What's up with that?


I can see the point of having the term 'antitheism' which is supposed to mean the active opposition to theism, but why do we need the term 'atheism'? Can't we just say something like 'God doesn't exist.' or 'I don't believe in god.'? It sounds cooler when you say 'I'm an atheist.'? I don't get it.


Isn't atheism just advertisement for god? Wouldn't it help more if we just forget about god and live our lives without thinking about it? I'm not saying that we shouldn't take a stand against any harm religion does, but not considering a god wouldn't make it go away faster?


I really need some strong (and founded) opinions on this, as I seem to become more and more confused about it.

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Umm.  This is what is confusing me about her rant.  


"Can't we just say something like 'God doesn't exist.' or 'I don't believe in god.'?"


By her logic it appears she would really be saying "Something that does not exist does not exist" or "I don't believe in something that does not exist."  So again , what is the point of stressing that if it does not exist?  That is the same thing as saying "I don't believe in Santa Claus" - In short, why would you even need to make the statement if something does not exist?  Well the practical reason is that most people believe in a God.  Atheism is a rejection of the majority claim.  I feel that in 200 years , if the vast majority of humans do NOT believe in God , it will be the norm so anyone who does believe in God will feel like an outcast and perhaps have a different word for it.  Then Atheism will die out as a word because it won't be needed any longer.   

Oops :)  


I thought all of the introduction was from the same person , A. Whitney.  I was very tired last night and didn't mean to call 'your' following questions and curiosity a 'rant'.  I just thought this Whitney person was posing a lot of questions to substantiate the original quote about Atheism being a 'how can you not believe in something that doesn't exist' stance.  


Sorry again , E. Nigma , I realize now your questions are totally separate from Whitney's quote.  


But to me it is extremely easy to 'not believe in something that does not exist'.  You simply don't believe in it.  It doesn't matter if it exists or not because there are things that DO exist that people do not believe in and things that don't exist that people DO believe in.  So why can't you not believe in something that does not exist just like you can believe in something that does exist?  


(Now I am ranting.  hehe)  

I don't know the context and the intentions of the author of that quote, but the way I see it, we make way more fuss about it than necessary. That's why I asked why don't we stop giving god so much attention, that only slows things down. Enough talk. It's time to take a stand and start living our lives crap-free. If all the people that call themselves atheists now would do that, the others would see that we are serious about it. Now they still think they can talk us into coming back. Again, I am not saying that we should not keep fighting religious people, but enough with the god already. They are the ones that actually harm everyone, not god. Something that doesn't exist can't harm anything.


It is extremely easy to not believe in something that does not exist. That's exactly the point. But you don't think or talk about how you don't believe in something else that doesn't exist as much as you talk about your lack of belief in god. Why can't we just ignore god, like we do with all the other things that don't exist and that we don't believe in? Because a lot of people believe in god? That's not a good reason. Debating doesn't really help (see Abdallah's topics on this website). It's time to crank it up a notch. We need to put an end to all this nonsense. We should be more aggressive towards religious people. I'm not talking about violence, but about acting more confident. 'Yeah, let's hear why you believe in god, and maybe I'll believe too, or you know, maybe you change your mind.' That's not enough anymore. They believe in god because they don't know any better, and they should be made aware of the fact that there is a better way. You know, I never heard of the theory of evolution until recently, before that I used to think (if I thought about it at all) as a fairytale. In school they didn't teach us that. They fed us religious crap that we were supposed to memorize and say it word by word in the next class. What has really changed? A lot of people on this website say that are atheists for a very long time. What has changed since you've first realized that you are in fact an atheist? I don't want to die in the same fucked up world I was born in. If some of you don't have a problem with that, well, I don't know what to say except... why bother then? They weren't so willing to debate during the crusades, why should we waste our time doing that? I'm not saying that we should do what they did, that's wrong, but we should do more than just talk about it. Actions make a difference, not words.


I really like this website, but I don't see the point of debating god anymore. I haven't participated in many (if any) discussions about it. That's why I preferred to start discussions about things that actually exist and matter or things I had doubts about and needed some informed opinions.

Why it would have ben a rant if it were here post entirely, and why isn't it a rant if it's written by me?

I'm sorry. I forgot to mention that 'I don't believe in god.' or any similar statements would be made only when necessary. Like when someone asks you if you go tomorrow to church or something like that. I don't think people say something like that out of the blue. Or at least they shouldn't.


Most people believe that if you don't pay attention when you cross the street you might get hit by a car, but we don't have a word for that or for those that don't believe that.



I feel that in 200 years , if the vast majority of humans do NOT believe in God , it will be the norm so anyone who does believe in God will feel like an outcast and perhaps have a different word for it.


They already have so many words for it. Did you really said that? Come on.


And my penis is offended that you think I'm a female.

Your penis should not be offended after you read my 2nd post , which is an apology - I already explained I thought the majority of the original discussion you posted was from Whitney - I was tired :) 


Most people believe that if you don't pay attention when you cross the street you might get hit by a car, but we don't have a word for that or for those that don't believe that.


People who do not believe it are called irrational : P 


'Theist' is a non derogatory term in this day and age.  In 200 years  , that word will most likely not be used any longer 'if and only if' the vast majority of us (vast meaning 80 to 90 %) believe there are No gods.  'Theist' will probably be replaced with something different to describe the belief of something that is in fact irrational and without evidence.  The word will probably be something negative, similar to 'delusional'.  With that change , the word 'Atheist' will no longer be necessary because it will most likely be a given that you don't believe in Gods.  


So yes , I really said that.  Come onnnnnn!  


Is it just me or do Atheists use the word 'Theists' much more often than those who do believe?  

People who do not believe it are called irrational.


Yes. And why aren't the people that believe in something that doesn't exist called irrational and the people that don't believe it just normal?


Irrational would be better, even now, to describe someone that believes or acts based on something that does not exist. In extreme cases 'crazy' would be appropriate and they should most likely be placed in asylums. That's the future I see for theists in a religious-free world because you would have a big mental problem if you would still have imaginary friends and live your life guided by them. Now that is regarded as normal because the majority does it, and people can't see that it's just another disease that can be cured.

The way I see it is the same reason why Monique Wittig insisted that feminists must first identify as their given gender or that Marx insisted that workers must identify as the proletariat. If we substitute gender or socio-economic class the points become immediately relevant. It has to do with the societal concept of alienation and the maintaining of social power within one group. So long as people do not identify as a dissenting voice the prevalent paradigm cannot change.

Thus it is our historical task. And only ours, to define what we call oppression in materialistic terms, to make it evident that [atheists] are a class, which is to say that “[atheists]” as well as the category “[theists]” are political and economic categories not eternal ones. Our fight aims to suppress [theists] as a class, not through genocidal, but political struggle. Once the class “[theists]” disappears, “[atheists]” as a class will disappear as well, as there are no slaves without masters... Marx, in The German Ideology, says precisely that individuals of the dominating class are also alienated although they are the direct producers of the ideas that alienate the classes oppressed by them. But since they draw visible advantages from their own alienation they can bear it, without too much suffering... The real necessity for everyone to exist as an individual, as well as a member of a class, is perhaps the first condition for the accomplishment of a revolution, without which there can be no real fight or transformation. But the opposite is also true; without class or class consciousness, there are no real subjects, only alienated individuals.

Wittig, Monique. “One Is Not Born a Woman.” The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist History. Linda Nicholson Ed. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Why aren't all the people that don't believe in Santa Claus called by a special word? Should we come up with a new word to describe the people that don't believe in flying pigs?

If people who believed in Santa Clause or flying pigs did so with as much vigour as the theists while maintaining positions of political power where they dictated policy based on those beliefs then yes it would be necessary to call ourselves by a special word. However, as they do not, these beliefs can hardly be compared to the concept of god which has infiltrated nearly all aspects of society.

Why should they be called theists then if you have so many words that perfectly describes their state? Irrational, crazy, etc....

I get it, they've been called theists for a long time, but why should that still be the term for thinking and acting irrational? People that act irrational and do crazy things most likely end up in the nuthouse. Why should we be tolerant with believers in god? Because they have the power? Then what are we waiting for? The second fake coming of Jesus?

What are you ranting about?


My point is that within our cultural context it is necessary to self-describe as atheists when society is dominated by theists. Only an assertion of class consciousness can aid in the overthrowing of this particular ruling paradigm. Think to the time when people avoided the term "atheist," was did that maintain or challenge the status quo as being generally religious or did it help bring people out of religion? Now think about now, a time when more people are accepting the term "atheist" as a self-descriptor, are we, as a society, becoming more or less religious?


When very few people are religious then the term "atheist" will become an outdated concept that we can leave by the side of the road so to speak but until then it is completely necessary.

Again, I say, what has the number of theists (one who believes in god) have to do with 'atheist' (the lack of belief in god)??? By calling yourself an atheist you don't say that you are against religion, or against the people that actually do harm to the world and to others in the name of religion. You simply state that you don't believe a god exists. That's all. And that's pointless, at least to use a particular word for it, when you can say "I don't believe a god exists."

I'm actually starting to see that people use the term wrong.


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