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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"Normal" is a very subjective label, first of all. What's normal in our culture is to believe there is a god. Hence the need for a term to describe what is, like it or not, abnormal (atheism). Rational? Reasonable? Probable? Yes. But normal? No. It is abnormal to not believe in the supernatural.

 

You're taking issue with an adjective; a word meant to describe. You can't take issue with this one word and not all the other words and labels you just used to write your entire post. One word does not completely nor accurately describe a person. Calling someone a "person" does nothing to help me understand who they are. But you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. Why all these fancy adjectives, yet you want to stick "crazy" on people who believe there is a god. Why not just call them a person like you want to call yourself? Well, I guess you've decided they're abnormal, but you're not the standard by which these things are measured. Statistically, theists outnumber atheists and that makes them NORMAL.

 

Again, the word "normal" needs more words to define what we mean by it. Does normal, to you, mean rational? Does normal mean common? What is normal can be both irrational and common; it can be both rational and uncommon; it can be both rational and common. "Normal" changes from neighborhood to neighborhood; from state to state; from country to country.

 

Words were invented to help us communicate. "Atheist" is a quick descriptor that lets someone know that this person does not hold the NORMAL or common belief in a deity. It does not define the entire person; it doesn't tell us about who they are outside that adjective. There is NOTHING wrong with adjectives. Without them, we'd be reduced to grunts and hand-signs.

 

 

Sane, rational and uncommon, deviant...

 

I already said that it was a mistake to use 'crazy' as a descriptor for all theists. 'Delusional' is the more accurate one. A delusion is a false belief or opinion. For them to not be delusional they would have to prove the existence of their god. If you can't agree with that, then maybe we speak different languages, because I can't make it any simpler than that. Delusion is a symptom of mental illness. The "cure" is informing ourselves, like I did to cure myself of all that, and like many others did when they finally left their beliefs and started living their lives free of them. Sure, informing ourselves can be subjective too, because some of the religious fellows think that they are informed if they read a lot of religious propaganda and listen to a lot of things others think they should do. Then maybe everything can be regarded as subjective. If we don't draw a line and start making sense out of everything and let irrationalities aside, what is the point of all we do?

 

The fact that they are more than us doesn't make them right, it only makes them common. Until a god is proven to exist, the standard and logical state a person can be is a non believer, an atheist, whatever you want to call it. That makes us the standard, the normal ones. We like to say that the burden of proof lies on their shoulders, but we still don't act like it. The fact that they are the majority makes them only common, it shouldn't make them the standard a person can be. I see standard as something that you can be without even doing anything, something that even a newborn can be. You have to baptise a child to make him christian. That doesn't make him standard if you have to do something. I can pee, I didn't needed to drill a hole to be able to do that. That's standard. I guess that doesn't make any sense for some people but that's how I see something that's standard (not to be confused with common). Maybe someone else would have explained it better...

Note: this post was written before the other you already responded to... so... I'm going to finish reading this and see if you've made any points I haven't already read.

I don't accept believing there is a god is a mental illness. It wouldn't be so easy to "cure" oneself. I was a full-on believer, and now I don't believe. If I had an illness, there would be relapses.

 

I never said that because there are more of them that makes them right. What is "logical" doesn't dictate what the standard is. It just doesn't. It should, but it doesn't.

 

No, we are not the standard and we are not normal. We may be right, but that doesn't make us the norm! You can't just change the definition of words because you don't like what they imply. You're talking about ideals and potentials. We should live up to our potential and go beyond the standard, which is what people like us have done. You could even say we are above average, which is a positive statement about who we are! Being above average means we're not normal and we're not the standard. What we want to be is better than the standard. And we are! What's wrong with that? Why is being "normal" necessarily good? It's not.

Wouldn't it be good for everyone if we would be the standard or normal? Being normal or the standard isn't necessarily good, but in this case it would be.

I actually would prefer to live in a world where what I am now. religious wise, is normal, and not better than normal or average. That's where all I said until now comes from. The need of changing the standard. It is definitely better for not believing in a god and not being a part of any religion to be the standard, to be normal. Sure, in a group where all the people are dumb, you would want to be better than normal, than average; but, religious wise, being better than normal doesn't do any good, not even for the individual that is better than normal. I don't want to be the only healthy one (religious wise) among so many sick people.

 

You don't agree that believing in something that doesn't exist is delusional (a false belief) and that delusion is a symptom of mental illness?

I agree. It would be better if there was no religion, and intelligence was the norm. Absolutely. I would love the standard to be changed; to be better. I don't want to be the only healthy one, either.

 

No, I don't believe religion or belief in the supernatural is a mental illness. I think believing what your parents told you as a child is a survival mechanism and a product of evolution. Richard Dawkins talks about this. Children heavily depend on blindly obeying what their parents tell them. When we were hunter/gatherers, the survival of a child depended on quick obedience. A child had to trust its parents. That trait has been passed down and bleeds into other things like religion.

 

Here's my thing: I believe there's such a thing as evolution and that it's far from a perfect process. Although we can imagine ideals for our species and our societies, perfection and "normal" are also delusions. As much as delusion may be a symptom of mental illness, it's also something everyone (on some level) is afflicted with. Perception is reality. I don't believe in black and white diagnoses. There is not even one example of a "normal" human being that is perfectly adjusted, perfectly mentally balanced, or even perfectly sane. There is no "ideal" because we're constantly evolving and changing. Our minds are mutations of evolution; it's a fluke we're as rational as we are.

 

Because a person can so easily recover from delusion (if they're open enough to the truth), I don't believe it's an illness. It's misinformation and hard-headedness.

I don't think that I've ever said directly that believing a god exists or being part of a religion is a mental illness. I did say that those people should be called crazy but I said afterwards that it was a mistake. They are indeed delusional, I can't accept any argument against that and you can't really come up with one, unless you change the meaning of the word 'delusion' or you prove that god exists. I'm not really fighting for putting religious people into mental institutions, but I don't think the ones that have the possibilities but refuse to inform themselves should be treated the same and at the same time keep infecting the world and everyone (especially their children) around them with their beliefs. At least I'm not going to treat them the same way I would treat a person that does anything possible to be informed about something before claiming to have certain beliefs.

They are delusional. I won't argue that. I never did.

 

You don't think they should be treated the same? What do you even mean by that? I don't like the way it sounds, but maybe I'm misunderstanding. You can treat people any way you like, but I think civility is always the best approach... and recognizing that people have the right to think what they like, and it's no one's place to dictate.

Well, I guess it sounds like I would be willing to violate a few rights, but that's not what I had in mind at all. I wouldn't violate anyone's rights. But I wouldn't give a person like that the same amount of respect and credibility I would give to a person that does everything he/she can to be informed before making any claims. Actually, I have no respect for a person like that. This is what I think of religious people that don't want to inform themselves and still keep teaching their childrens and do everything they can to convert others too. I don't have any problems with someone that is delusional by choice, and doesn't try to inflict those beliefs onto others. You can bang your head against the wall; I don't really care, as long as you do it by choice and at home.

 I think I understand what you are saying about the label "Atheist."

It's as if that label perpetuates the god concept, because it is built around the lack of a belief in a god, god being the subject, still. 

I'm sure you've heard that saying, "What you resist, persists."

Do you feel that the label Atheist is something that, even though it describes a person who resists God as a reality, by doing so, by having god be a focus at all, perpetuates the idea of god, therefore keeping it alive?

Also, I do see believers as delusional. And I wonder if god is an addiction. I wonder if the mind is an addict, and god is the dope.

When I brought this question into a religious debate forum, it went over much better than my thread that suggested mental illness, but was still rejected.

Dope fiends can kick their habits. Religious people can become rational. They seem similar in ways, to me.

 

 

 

 

 

I compare with "love" for Team Sports and Music Concerts and Political Rallys.

 

I do that too. Not so much with political rallys, but with sports and music. I did call religion a fan club for god, but that wasn't really an accurate description, because religion is more of a fan club for ourselves. A lot of people are very proud that they belong to a religion, that they pray, that they go to church, that they are so good and moral and they like to let everyone else know it. It makes me sick. Being religious is actually really selfish, once you remove that inexistent bastard.

They care about others? Perhaps they care about others like them, but I think the number of religious people that actually care about others is really small, and they are people that would care about others even without religion. Like me. I still care about other people even after I gave up believing in god.

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