That is to say that I lack faith in the existence of mermaids!
For those of you who have a difficult time spotting sarcasm on the internet, that was a joke. To make the point to the fact that I am what we call an "atheist"; that is one who lacks faith in a deity.
Basically as I've said in previous posts on Think Atheist, that I've come somewhat apathetic to religion, try not to focus on it or think about it too much anymore. Still, that doesn't mean that I can't identify with a worldview that makes sense for me personally while giving the bible bashers the silent treatment all at the same time.
Lets say I was to continue with the atheist label. What is that essentially saying? Apart from the definitional obvious that is. What I now get from this label is that I am labelling myself based on something I lack, something I don't believe in. Despite me being sarcastic in the opening of this blog, I really am an amermaidist, also ahobbitist and an aunicornists etc. But I don't call myself any of those things, because its just not relevant to do so. So why should a lack of faith in god be any different? If anything calling yourself an "atheist" is in a way giving credit to the theist belief. You are sort of saying "Well I don't believe what the theist believes but its less farfetched than a belief in mermaids or hobbits, so I'm going to label myself based on my lack of faith in god and theism.
I am now finding the term atheist to be a pretty much useless term. Its says nothing about who you are or anything of the sort. It only says what you don't believe in. So for some of us, we are aware of all of the countless conceptions of humankind that we don't believe in but we choose a lack of belief in theism as a label of identification. Just to point out as well there seems to be somewhat level of intellectual snobbery amongst some "atheists" who automatically assume that being an atheist guarantees that you are going to be more intelligent than a theist. No such guarantee exists. Yes there are many beliefs that theists have that are contradictory to facts and reality, yes many of them believe things that are not true, even deny things that are true and proven to be true etc. Even this being the case that doesn't necessarily make them less intelligent than an atheist. All it means is that there are certain things that they just haven't got quite right. An atheist thinking that he or she is intellectually superior would be like a computer programmer thinking they are intellectually superior to non-computer programmers. And obviously that isn't the case, they just happen to have knowledge and expertise on certain areas that others don't. Knowledge and intellect isn't based solely on one or two topics. So you might have a theist who is not very well up on the scientific method, but might be very knowledgeable of the inner workings of a computer processor. Then of course we have moderate theists who don't believe in the literal sense of scripture and actually accept things like evolution etc. As it happens its widely known as many Catholics accept evolution, as the church has accepted this some years ago. So I really don't buy into the idea that intellect is dependent on lack of faith or faith in a religion. Obviously not all atheists think this is the case, but its still important to mention.
After pondering about this issue for quite sometime I came across a video on YouTube of a lecture with Sam Harris saying something sort of similar for the most part. Now while I agreed with most of what he said, there was one crucial issue that I didn't quite side with him on. He suggested not using a label at all. To the extent of not calling ourselves, atheists, or secularists, or humanists etc. And just simply be rational and speak out against irrationality. While on the surface of that, its sounds like very good advice. But I just don't think its practical to do that alone (at least not for me anyhow)
So instead of following the entirety of Sam's final suggestion; I'm taking a different approach. I will use a label that does define my worldview and unlike the atheist label it says and describes what I do believe and not what I don't. That label is "humanist", because it just makes sense. I believe you can be good without god and be happy without a belief in god. I believe that human kind will progress ourselves for the better intellectually, scientifically, philosophically and better living etc. I believe that we one day, will learn to live with each other on more peaceful terms than we do now.
I know this is somewhat of a controversial thing to say to the non-religous community, but thats just how I see things and I mean no offence. And if I could offer a suggestion to either any of the moderators or Matthew, perhaps you could consider adding "humanist" to the religious status / worldview options on the profile pages?