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.
Should we come up with a new word to describe the people that don't believe in flying pigs?
Well, but only if enough people believe in it to do harm, first. So yeah, in that sense, the anti-group is actually defined by the enemy.
Imho, most of people's confusion over "what atheists believe in" comes from theists, atheists, and agnostics alike, when they start pontificating beyond the plain, simple fact that atheism is primarily a reaction to theism-gone-wild.
Other things that most atheists believe in--e.g. most obviously clear and independent thinking--would still be worthwhile causes. But if there were no theists, the more interesting theme would no longer be atheism, but clear and independent thinking, would it not? Or perhaps even Adogmatism would be the next, logical step.
(And there are already adogmatists, like Skeptics, Rationally Thinking, and so on. But perhaps I shouldn't point people to other websites? Or can I just say that TA is a most excellent home base?)
J. Daddy is not wrong. You can be agnostic and still believe in a higher power and/or be spiritual.
Agnosticism, in a religious context, means that the truth about god is unknown and/or unknowable. So, you can say that we don't know and/or that we can't ever know whether a god exists or not, and still go to church, and pray, and do other religious stuff. Like you said, agnosticism has more to do with knowledge, not belief; it does not affect whether you believe that god exists or not, you just say that you can't ever know for sure.
Don't get me started with agnosticism. If there is any term more pointless and useless than 'atheism', that term is 'agnosticism'.
Agnosticism means that the truth about god is unknown and/or unknowable. Is that pointless or what? It's pretty much just stating the obvious, which, for me, makes it pointless. Of course, agnosticism may be used outside religion, but I don't really care about that, as I have never used it nor have heard someone else use it outside a discussion involving religion.