To be or not to be.... a militant atheist

I don't like the term "militant atheist". To me it's equivalent to "fanatical christians".
Now I don't like a lot of christians, but of course there are some that are nice and live a quiet and decent life, they believe in nonsense, but that just makes them nice plus ignorant.

A militant atheist to me conjures images of some person going around burning churches.
I don't think that is an image I want to portray as an atheist.

I think most atheists are peaceful and loving and enjoy life to it's fullest.

I started to think about militant atheists because of a local church here in my pathetic little town. It so happens to be the catholic church where my husband grew up and his parents and 2 of his siblings still attend. They had to rebuild another church because some atheist loony burned it down in 1995.

See, now that to me has "militant atheist" written all over it. That just makes the rest of us peaceful atheists seem like hateful, church burning crazies. I hate that!

I have on many occasion refered to myself as a "hard core atheist", implying that I am SURE! There are no questions in my mind about the existence of god(s) or devils, angels, ghosts, etc... You get the picture. I would never use the term militant atheist to describe myself.

I think as atheists we should behave accordingly. We are intelligent, rational, logical people who can reason with words, not violence. Debate is usually a welcome forum for both sides, since both sides want to be heard. Violence just gives them ammo to say "See, they are hateful violent, no morals people!" And really, aren't we trying to get away from that?

Peace & Love ~
Thank you for listening!

Views: 45

Comment by Terri~ on May 30, 2009 at 2:39am
Wow! A week?! That's super recent! I know it was hard for me at first, but it just got easier as I got more comfortable with who I am and what I believe. Good for you. The way I see it, christians aren't real quiet about their silly fairy tale believes, I certainly am not going to be quiet about my views and I'm quick to make my point with them. I am no longer silenced! I was for a long time, afraid of what people would say. I just don't care anymore.
Comment by Reggie on May 30, 2009 at 5:14am
I wonder about the addition of the word "militant" to atheism. It seems to be used mostly as a pejorative by those who would debase an atheistic world view. Was this always the case?

The trend towards outspoken atheism is one thing in this world that I feel is heading in the right direction. We should all be at least as open and outspoken as those who worship invisible sky daddies.
Comment by Frank on May 30, 2009 at 5:33am
When I was dabbling in Anarchism I came across a lot of websites that advocated the burning of churches, but never have I came cross Atheists who advocated it. Richard Dawkins has used the term "militant atheist," and while it in my mind it conjures up the image of people marching on something in protest dressed in combat boots, cargo pants, and berets (mainly in conjecture with militant feminists) I definitely don't see that working for us. Atheists are more on an academic front.
Comment by Terri~ on May 30, 2009 at 11:46am
Reggie: I wonder where that term came from too. I'm thinking maybe it was believers themselves who might have used that term first (?) I don't know. I just know that I don't like the image in my head. I don't see combat boots and marching, I just see angry and hateful. And like I said, that's not the person I am trying to portray in my world :)
Comment by Terri~ on May 30, 2009 at 11:51am
Frank: I agree. I do believe that atheist are more the academic, intellectual type. I think that's a nice image. :) I have been called a "militant atheist", simply because I have strong views. People think because you won't bend your believes (or lack there of), that this is "militant". They're confused. I don't think being sure of my views makes me militant. Just makes me atheist :)
Comment by Terri~ on May 30, 2009 at 11:55am
Michel: I don't necessarily think that being boisterous makes you militant. Makes you passionate :) And you should definitely speak out with your propaganda. I don't see anything wrong with that. I manage a restaurant where christians leave christian propaganda, (I think they call them tracts (sp), instead of tips for the servers. So by all means, spread the word!
btw, love your art :)
Comment by Terri~ on May 30, 2009 at 12:08pm
Aggressive, Neal: :) I agree. Not all believers are out to get us, or are assholes. Some REALLY believe that crap and REALLY try to live a pure as possible life. Can't really guilt them for that. It's what they know, it's how they grew up. Some of us step out of that box and some just go along for the ride. I'm glad I stepped out.
I have had heated debates with chritians who want a heated debate and I have had quiet conversations with the ones who are curious why I don't believe.. etc...
I'm not backing down either :)
Comment by Thomas J. Cox on May 31, 2009 at 6:14am
Terri, it makes a big difference as to where you live as to the kind of reactions you get. I live in Massachusetts and when I mention I am an atheist here I get curious questions mostly asking what happened to turn me against god. This, I do believe, is because every atheist ever portrayed on tv or in movies is an atheist because of a tragedy and not just because they looked at the lack of evidence and came to the logical conclusion that there are no gods. I digress, when I was out in Iowa/Nebraska and told people I was an atheist I was verbally attacked. One woman called me the devil because I was all charming and nice about informing her about her own religion and what the bible really says. I honestly think that even if they are in your face "frothing at the mouth" you should just keep it calm and relaxed. This is militant atheism at it's finest, quietly taking the theist to task to prove why they believe what they do with no empirical evidence. The crazy person burning churches is not a militant atheist he is a nut. A militant atheist is someone that will not let ignorance go unchallenged. The strongest weapon we have is facts with a smile, trust me when the theist gets angry smile and laugh. It drives em nuts.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 31, 2009 at 7:23am
At least no one is claiming that people who do things we don't agree with "aren't TRUE atheists!"
Just like you've got Christians and pipe bombs, Muslims and beheaddings, there are atheist church burners. Their idiotic actions don't make them any less atheist, it just makes them atheists that are also stupid.

1. vigorously active and aggressive, esp. in support of a cause: militant reformers.
2. engaged in warfare; fighting.
3. a militant person.
4. a person engaged in warfare or combat.
1375–1425; late ME < L mīlitant- (s. of mīlitāns), prp. of mīlitāre to serve as a soldier. See militate, -ant

Related forms:
mil⋅i⋅tan⋅cy, mil⋅i⋅tant⋅ness, noun
mil⋅i⋅tant⋅ly, adverb

1. belligerent, combative, contentious. See fanatic.

Now, there are a lot of words that can describe an outspoken atheist (or outspoken anything for that matter) but the real issue is that the word militant has TWO meanings. One implies violence, the other doesn't.
You can be a 'militant stamp preserver' by the first definition but not the second.
When being called militant, I think it is important to get a definition from your accuser and distance yourself from any idea you don't agree with.
Comment by Terri~ on May 31, 2009 at 11:26am
I guess I would be a militant atheist by the first definition as well :) But I still won't use the term on myself. Only because being an atheist can be hard enough.

And I do know that depending where I live, will depend on what reaction I get. I don't really care about that, to tell you the truth. I'm a pretty strong person and I KNOW what I believe, so I don't have a problem discussing it with others. I of course did not have as big of a problem with people and my atheism in California as I do in Iowa, but again, I don't care about that.

I try to always stay calm while I am debating fairy tales with them.
I think I am VERY passionate in what I believe and I don't hold back. I don't usually start the conversations, it's usually something someone else says, or simply a curious question towards me.

One of my employees is a charismatic christian from the assemblies of god, which happens to be where I grew up too, and she knows this. So she is always very curious as to why I turned away. So she is always asking me a bunch of things about why I became an atheist.
Last night she says to me "Well, you are just one of those people who just have to think logically all the time". I was like.. "Well, YEAH!" LOL She said it like it was a BAD thing to be logical. LOL I just had to laugh. Talk about ignorance being bliss!! LOL
Thank you for all your intelligent comments! It's SO refreshing!


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