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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Words are invented by us to use them. Deal with it!


Or invent new words. Like asantists ( non-believer in santa-claus )

Atheist is the nigger of the world.


I don't have a problem with the word 'atheism' I have a problem with the fact that not everybody knows its correct meaning, and those that do should do something about it. Without 'theists' the word 'atheist' won't be necessary. So, let's get rid of them. It would be better to call them crazy, delusional, irrational, than to call them theists, christians, muslims, etc.


I don't want to invent new words for not believing in every single non existing thing. The fact that we have a special word for not believing in one particular thing that doesn't exists and the fact that we let that particular not existing thing stay in the way of our progress, shows how advanced we really are. If we can't solve this one, maybe we don't deserve to be religious-free. If we're that impotent then we have nothing to bitch about but ourselves.

Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?


Atheism has, through a long history of usage, come to mean what we are, and I'm fine with that.


In a world where there is no religion, we would be called . . . people.


(And when you read that sentence, you have to read "In a world . . ." very dramatically, such as, "In a world where everything went wrong, Captain Atheist came to save us." It's a movie thing.)

We, as atheists, don't believe that a god exists, it has nothing to do with religion. So, in a world without a god we are people. That's it. Everybody else who believes in something that doesn't exist is irrational, delusional and/or crazy. Why not use those terms? If you ask me, we are too tolerant, and it will be the thing that kills us.
This is why I define 'my atheism' as an active believe that the theists are wrong.  Perhaps you are correct and I should actually call myself an anti-theist, or a counter-theist.
Well, I like to use terms by their right meanings. I said, more than once, on this topic that 'atheism' only means one's lack belief in the existance of gods, it doesn't mean more than that, and it surely doesn't mean that you are against religion and religious people. I guess that misconception has its origins in the times when saying that you don't believe any god exists was a more rebellious act... but it's still a misconception and a misuse of the term 'atheist'. And if you use the correct meaning of the word, it is actually pointless to label yourself as an atheist.
The difference between Santa and God is that most people already don't believe in God. If "religious affiliation" was not a question because the majority don't have one, I'm sure no one would be Atheist by name. There probably IS a word for the minority of adults that may believe in Santa, because it's a minority. And most Atheists I know ARE antitheist, but the word is more offensive. They tend to call themselves secular humanists.

It's not important what somebody decided. There are more common people than philosophers.


What? World domination? I just want things to be normal.


I just want to start calling people what they actually are: religious people - crazy, irrational and/or delusional; atheists - well, without theism, there is no need for this word (a.k.a. the normal state a person can be in). By avoiding to call them crazy, and instead use a fancy word like theism, you're just a part, even if a little one, of the problem. It's time for normality (not atheism) to take control of the power.

You can call people whatever you want... but not everyone is going to agree with you. As much as theists irritate me, I'm not going to call them "crazy". Maybe they've rationalized their beliefs; maybe they're delusional... but that doesn't mean they are mentally ill. I've known very, very intelligent, well-reasoned Christians. Yes, I do believe they're misinformed, but I don't believe they are [all] crazy. And I'm not going to call them those names because that isn't productive in the least. If you call them crazy to their face, they're not going to suddenly have a light bulb moment and admit, "Hey you're right! I really am crazy! There is no God!!!" They're going to be defensive and probably shut out any good reasons you might've been able to stick in their brain had you not attacked them personally. No offense, but I don't think it's a mature approach to call them names like you've listed.


Besides, "crazy" doesn't sum up who they are any more than the word "atheist" sums up who you are. "Atheist" is only ONE descriptor of the many facets of who you are, what you believe and don't believe, etc. If you don't like to be labeled, you shouldn't be so eager to stick labels on others. We're all different and have different stories. I don't mind being called "atheist" because I know that's not the sum of who I am. I'm also an artist, but that aspect of me is not the whole of who I am, nor is a musician ONLY a musician. In specific conversations, it's appropriate to allow myself to be called "atheist". If I were talking about economics, the fact that I'm an artist would be fairly irrelevant... even though it's true of me all the time.


We have many, many titles and labels that give people a better idea of who we are as a whole. Like I said, "atheist" is only one descriptor. I don't see the point in fighting so hard against adjectives that are, like it or not, correct. No one is going to be able to get rid of words they don't like. So relax and use whatever adjectives YOU prefer and don't worry about what other words people utilize. This is the USA after all, and we're allowed free-speech.

You can't compare 'musician' or 'artist', or anything, with 'atheist'. 'Atheist' is a useless descriptor. You didn't get the whole point and the reason of this discussion. I am more irritated that we still need a particular term that describes us as not believing in something that doesn't exist. The logic is really simple. If you don't use particular terms to describe a person not believing in all the non-existent things, then you shouldn't do it at all. I get it, religious people are a lot, they have the power, bla bla bla... But that doesn't explain the need for 'atheism' at all, because 'atheism' is the lack of belief in a god, or the rejection of the existance of a god, or anything similar to that. Religion is religion, god is god. These are two different things. Why don't you call yourself 'antitheist' which is active opposition to theism (the belief in a god).


Theists and theism exists, you can be against them. God doesn't exist, you ignore it like you do with many other things that don't exist. I don't have any problem with something that doesn't exist. It would be moronic if I did. I have a problem with theism and theists, things that actually exist, and that have a bad effect on the world. It makes no sense to wear a label as a non-believer in a particular thing that doesn't exist.


Sure, 'crazy' may be harsh and not accurate for every religious people. That's my mistake, but there are so many words that can describe their state, I don't think I have to mention all of them. They are all delusional. That I can say for sure. To not be delusional it would mean that they have proven that their god exists.


Do you have many theist acquaintances or theist friends? I don't, and I don't think that I can be tolerant of their delusion anymore. Being one of them (even if just a little) was easier. But when I finally see that it's all nonsense, I can't just let it be. It's not like someone is a fan of some band I don't like and we can overlook that one, and still be friends, or that someone is a supporter of a rival team of my favourite football (soccer for Americans) team, and we can still have a decent conversation, without cracking our heads open. It's not like that at all. We're talking about religion, something that influences their everyday life, and how they deal with everyday problems, and with other people, and how they raise their children, and how they see the world. That I can't overlook. Not anymore.


And I kind of like the word 'atheist', it sounds nice, but it's useless. Really useless.


And, uh, I'm not from USA, but I still think I can say whatever I want, and I would do it even if I couldn't. If people would use the correct terms, and most of all if they knew the correct definition for those terms, there would be no problem.

I respect your opinion but simply disagree that the word is useless. I do, however, think it's useless to fight against the word's existence. What "should be" is irrelevant. The word exists, no need to get angry at it.

And yes, there are other words to describe negatives... such as the word atypical. In other words, that personality type is not typical. Why not just say they're a workaholic? Why not just say they're ambitious or driven or... ? Because there is a word to describe what they are not. There is a word for not normal; it's abnormal. The very fact we have the word "NOT" or the phrase "is not" helps us to single out one characteristic as opposed to listing everything a noun IS.


Sure, it's easier (in programming, for sure) to say what something is, or what it will do, rather than use negatives. But sometimes it is useful to describe what something is not, and "atheist" really is not the only word that does that.


And I'm not anti-theist. I may be anti-religion, but that's not the same.


Of course you can say whatever you want. Sorry if the USA comment rubbed you the wrong way, but... it's a site run from there, so... yeah. Here's the frustrating reality: no one is going to speak correctly or in the most efficient way. Stop fretting over it. Very few people use correct grammar or spelling, or use metaphors correctly, or have perfect sentence structure. I hate it when people type "your" when they should type "you're". A LOT of problems would be solved if people spoke correctly, but they're not going to. And I still see nothing wrong with the word "atheist".

You know, people say that the word 'atheist' is needed because 'theism' exists. I can't yet comprehend how can they confuse god with religion. 'Atheism' doesn't mean that you don't believe religion has any use, or does something for people that nothing else would. 'Atheism' just means that you don't believe any god exists. And the fact that people still haven't proven the existence of any god, makes atheism the logical and rational and normal and sane choice that anyone should make. It has nothing to do with religion. So, yes, if you don't make that choice, you're pretty much delusional, because you have a false belief and/or opinion. After someone proves that a god exists, then you can call the ones that still don't believe 'atheists'. You have 'good - evil', 'right - wrong', 'right - left', 'up - down', 'blank - atheist'. It makes no sanse to use a word that describes the lack of belief in something that doesn't exist. Pancakes, cars, bombs, religious people, etc.: this things exist, you can do whatever you want with them. But with nothing, you can't do anything. It really isn't practical to have a useless word that describes a person not believing in something that hasn't been proven to actually exist. You prove that something exists, bam, you know that you can believe that things exist, or believe that it doesn't exist. I can believe that the whole building I live in doesn't exist, even while I'm in it; or that the bed I'm lying on right now doesn't exist; or that the curtains I have don't exist; or that the table that is really close to me and that I don't even have to turn my head to see doesn't exist. What does that make me? If I'm delusional in those cases, I'm delusional if I believe something that hasn't been proven to exist exists.


I didn't mind the USA comment, I just wanted to specify that I'm not actually from USA, and that right now nothing can make me not say the things I want to say. It had nothing to do with you. :)


For me, theism is the belief in the existance of a god; religion is a set of beliefs, values and practices based on the teachings of that god, whether he send his own son or came hismelf (I'm still confused about that part), or spoke in dreams, or any other crap. You can't have religion without theism, because you can't have those beliefs and values without them being taught to you by that god, so when I say 'antitheism' I also say 'antireligion', I'm not just saying that I'm against the belief in the existance of a god, I am against those made up beliefs, values and practices too. What about you?


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