Is it important to distinguish between "Atheists" or "Nontheists" when talking about Eastern religions that do not subscribe to a godhead? Religions like Buddhism and Taoism seem to function perfectly without the intervention of divinity. Buddha himself was noted as saying that God was not necessary in achieving an awakening, nor was he necessary in the world at all. All things accomplished by man, including his conquering of suffering, is done on his own through himself.
Taoists take an even more lax position in that the religion says pretty much nothing on whether or not there is a deity. Instead, Taoism seems to leave it entirely up to the believer whether or not God is a part of their life. Taoism seeks to emphasize the important of balance (light and dark, good and evil) and in that, does not focus on divinity. It could be argued that because the natural exists, the supernatural must exist to balance it, but not many Taoists necessarily adhere to this argument.
I'm an Atheist Taoist myself. I live every day recognizing the importance of opposing forces, but completely deny the existence of a deity. Is it right to call myself Atheist? Should any Buddhist or Taoist, whose religions are inherently without a god, call themselves Atheist? Or should the proper term be distinguished as Nontheist?
What about Buddhists who claim to subscribe to a deity? My father associated with Buddhism but adamantly believed in a divine being. Are the two ideas really compatible, given Buddha's outright rejection of a god?