I would like to discuss a little about what we say and what is understood. In the atheist and agnostic communities we are often stuck with words and phrases that in general are often best avoided as what we say is not understood as we intended.
I am an anti-theist.
What I intended- it is a really bad idea to live as though mythology is real. I do not believe people should life decisions based on fairy tales.
What was understood- I hate religious people and want to make it so they can't worship their gods.
I do not believe in God.
What I intended- I do not believe there is a God. I can not make myself believe in the unbelievable.
What was understood- I know there is a God I just don't like, want to follow, or agree with him.
I am spiritual.
What I intended- yoga is great
What was understood- anything and everything!! This this the wild card of all God talk. The word is much like God. It has a very specific meaning to everyone. What ever they think it is. When using the word spiritual or God know in advance the everyone's understanding of what you intend WILL be different.
So I would be interested to know any other words we use in the agnostic/atheist community that actually tend to cause more confusion than understanding.
". Gnosticism is a heresy which is made up of a diverse set of beliefs. It is the teaching based on the idea of gnosis (a Koine Greek word meaning "secret knowledge" ), or knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of internal, intuitive means"
I understood the gnostics to be the first and true believers in Jesus, however they knew the feminine side and only the humanism, not the rising from the dead stuff. And yes I see that GNOSIS means knowledge but in my mind I always saw agnostic as against gnosticism and that did not work for me
Community. Because there is no community. Communities gather around positives, not negatives. Sure, we can gather around a general defense against the religious majority while that is the case, but as soon as we are in the community of non-theists, the point of being a community dies out. And so, as people search for a positive, confusion ensues again: equality, liberty, and whatever term is attempted to gather people is misrepresented or misunderstood, so much so that I have given up on labels and go straight to the definition.
They have a mindset that cannot be altered. It is their defense against full responsibility of their life.
Jesus protects them and the devil makes them do bad things. But deep down inside they hurt as they reach out to another source of love instead of them self.
Excellent post, really hits home. You should see the mess I get back when I make the statement "I am a theist accepting low values for 'Theo.'" What I intend is "Something special that we don't know what it is may have happened somewhere up the line, and if we separate that out from any particular dogma or received 'wisdom' we may learn something. Or not."
What is understood is "You are going to burn in hell for all eternity."
I can add a something to explain further what I am talking about. I have an old World Book dictionary that takes the word atheism about and defines it as without god belief, bit also defines the Greek atheos as denial of gods. Somewhere in my old collection of VHS and Beta tapes, I have a recording of a talk show that Madelyn Murray-O'hair was on where she also defined atheism as without god belief.