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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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?

I hate it when people type "your" when they should type "you're".

 

I hate that too, but I don't think it's actually the same thing with using a word the wrong way, or using a word that has no actual use.

Oh, and yes I do have theist family members and friends. My mother drives me nuts, but I'm going to cut her out of my life. I'm not against her. I love her and futilely wish she'd come to her senses. I come into contact with people all the time that have stupid beliefs. I just avoid the topic. I realize that networking is important, and making connections of all types. I'm shooting myself in the foot to think I can make it through life without engaging theists. Because they're not just theists; they're also doctors, nurses, sales associates, etc.

 

Anyway... just think of atheist as a conjugate of "not theist". Like "isn't" is a conjugate of "is not"; it just lacks the apostrophe. It's okay to speak in negatives.

All my family memebers are theist. I haven't spoken with my father in a year and 18 days. Even though religion wasn't the reason why I stopped speaking with him, it sure is one of the reasons I don't want to start speaking with him again. With the other members of my family I rarely speak, and never about religion. I haven't really discussed religion offline, but I have only a few months of knowing what I would say and actually think it's true about it. I really can't be that tolerant anymore, and I'm sure it's going to affect my life from now on. The fact that someone actually still believes that there is an invisible man living in the sky, who watches everything we do keeps popping into my head, and stops me from taking that person serious.

 

Doctors, and others, are paid to do their jobs. You do pay. It's not like you're tolerating their beliefs because they treat you for free.

All I can say is be patient with people. You weren't always without delusion and it takes different things to change people's perspectives. What knocked me off the "straight & narrow" wasn't exactly rational. Well, I was being rational, but the thing that did it was a suggestion that I had been subscribing to an incorrect translation of the book of Revelations all my life. I didn't want to hang on to the wrong information, so I started researching. It wasn't long until I discovered it was all BS.

 

The thing is, it took research to uncover the fact I was deluded. I didn't know sooo much! I was actually pretty pissed I'd been lied to for so long. These people have been lied to; the lie is fortified with so many more convoluted lies it's almost impossible to navigate your way out! We're LUCKY we figured it out!

 

I can't look down on those who believe fairy tales because I once believed as well. I care about these people and hope they'll be as passionate as I was about finding the truth. Some people have different priorities though, like family. Family is more important to my cousin than finding out whether or not there's a god. She doesn't want to be at odds with those she loves. I don't think that's terribly irrational. There's a lot to lose when one loses their faith.

 

I tolerate all these people who believe because we occupy the same planet. I don't want to be at odds with those I cohabitate with all the time. I'm not just "tolerating" doctors (etc) because I'm paying them for a service. As long as they're not pushing their beliefs on me, I couldn't care less. I have a problem with religion that pushes itself on people. I'm anti-religion for that reason. Otherwise, I've grown weary of trying to change people's minds. Human beings are just stupid animals and they're going to do whatever stupid sh*t they want. I'm not going to live my life resenting people for not living up to a certain ideal.

I too have a problem with religious people that push their belief on others. I don't think anybody would have a problem with religion if all the religious people would become religious people by choice and not pushed by others, and, at the same time, not pushing others. There is nothing wrong with being delusional by choice, and without affecting the others or the world you live on.

What about your cousin? Does she have any children? Does she teaches everything she's been taught too? How do you feel about that? That is pushing one's beliefs on others too, and, for me, it's at least as bad as any other form of child abuse.

Can you really be patient while a lot of people still suffer because of this? You don't want to hurt them, but what about the ones they hurt?

I can be patient with people on an individual basis, yes. My family's beliefs aren't directly hurting anyone; they have good (yet sadly misguided) intentions. Does this mean I'm okay with religion in general? Not at all. But there's not much I can do, other than contribute to sites like this one and try to spread REASON as much as I'm able.

 

For me, it's more productive to have a less aggressive approach. If I calmly express my opinion, people tend to listen. When they feel heard, they're more willing to hear. Is this always the case? Nope. But force, impatience, curtness, rudeness, anger... those things won't help our cause.

I can't be patient with people that are hurting others. With those that don't hurt anybody I don't even care what religion they belong to or what god they believe exists. Isn't that why we actually have a problem with religion, because it hurts people? I wouldn't even care about religion, except maybe in form of fiction - I kind of like it, if it wouldn't hurt anybody. And when I say hurt I don't mean just some dudes flying a plane into a building for religious reasons or something like that, I mean hurt in every way possible.
Maybe we should be called "REALISTS".  If religion had of never been thought of or invented (fat chance, because man is so insecure he has always created gods in his image to soothe his ego, or should I say insecurities), there would have been no need for the word "atheism".  I believe in a "natural" world, whereas religionists believe in a "supernatural" world.  For every concept, there must be an opposite; even if the concept is a product of our super-creative mind.

I can understand why people would make up a god, and why there were more than one god made up. I can understand even the need for a religion. God was necessary in times where you could not explain certain things. There were many gods because there were many cultures. The need for religion is the need for sharing, for being in contact with other people from the same culture, with the same made up god. Religion is actually a fan club for a god. You have fan clubs for sports teams, for musicians, and for many other things. A fan club for god is understandable, for those times. I can understand all that, but we have made great progress in many fields, and we have managed to explain a lot of things that previous generations weren't able to explain. And then they started to create sacred texts and all that crap. From there it all went downhill. That's where the need for control and manipulation came in, and ruined this little world we have for a lot of future generations.

 

Theists believe in a supernatural world, while they shit on their actual one.

 

For craziness the opposite is sanity, normality. Is that so hard? Why all the fancy words? Do they make us look smarter or something? I don't know why we need a word for being normal, other than 'normal'. I don't believe that flying pigs exist: I'm normal; I don't believe that Santa exists: I'm normal; I don't believe that humans can fly without any assistance from machines: I'm normal; I don't believe murderers should not spend time in prison for what they've done: I'm normal; I don't believe that unicorns exist: I'm normal; I don't believe that people can walk on water: I'm normal; I don't believe that any god exists: I'm (an) atheist. Wait! What? Why? Did I miss something? What's the difference? None. I believe that flying pigs exist, or I believe that Santa exists, or I believe that humans can fly without any assistance from machines, or I believe that murderers should not be punished for what they've done, or I believe that unicorns exist, or I believe that people can walk on water: I'm crazy, or irrational, or delusional (and you can find a lot of other words that would describe it as good as the ones I mentioned). I believe that a god exists: I'm (a) theist, I'm religious, I'm.... Again, what's the fucking difference between all those things I mentioned and religion? None. But we act like there is a big one, which really doesn't help our cause, which is to bring normality (back) into the world.

 

I guess my question is more like 'Why do we still need the word 'atheism'?' as in 'Why haven't we done something about all this crap already?'.

 

There is no need for the word 'atheism' if you call the others what they actually are, and not what they think they are. I'm amazed that nobody sees that we think of them as what they think of themselves and as what they want us to think of them: religious people, people of faith, devout, pious, etc. All that is crap with no god to support them and their assertions. Why do we keep playing their game? We still wait for something big to happen that will give us the power. If we don't do something about it we can wait forever, and nothing will change. They wanted power, they did something about it. That is the only thing "good" about them: perseverance. We just wait for others to do what we are supposed to do while bitching about it.

 

I remembered a quote from Two and a half men:: "You can put a tuxedo on a goat, but it's still a goat."

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