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How comfortable are you with the word "Atheist" ?

We don't have a word for non-believers of Santa Claus or non-believers of The Tooth Fairy, yet we live in a world where those who don't believe in God(s) or supernatural religious philosophies are labelled Atheists. I think that the state of non-believing is the normal state of things as it doesn't need to be taught, unlike religions. I am consequently uncomfortable with using the word and I feel that I concede grounds to their insanity when I use it. What are your thoughts?

By Tyssina
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55

I am comfortable with Atheist, but maybe we should call ourselves "non-delusional" versus the "delusionals".

AtheistInNC Level 5 Nov 6, 2017
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applauds vigorously

Brilliant!

I like this answer, but I'm not sure it would fly well out in the world.

It will fly with me, and anyone else that gives it wings.

I am going to use it the next chance I get, and I'll tell you what happens. smile001.gif

I like it, but I'd also answer to "Realist" if someone had to label me.

That would be a great T-Shirt!

Probably only the non-delusional would agree smile001.gif.

29

We do have a word for non-believers of Santa Claus etc......


Grown-ups.

Kreig Level 7 Dec 3, 2017
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I truly love your answer! I really needed a good laugh today and this did it...thanks for sharing, Kreig!

You're most welcome. I get a giggle going when reading some of the posts on here too. smile001.gif

17

I love the word atheist, take pride in being one. I grew up in and currently live dead center bible belt so religion has spent a lifetime trying to drown me in it. I was in my early 20s before I was able to officially break away from church. Saying, "Yes, I'm an atheist." despite the backlash from those around me makes me realize exactly how strong I am.

QuixoticOrchid Level 4 Oct 12, 2017
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16

I identify as a Buddhist which to me is a practice and way of living not a religion. Technically we are atheists because there is no belief in a supreme being. I’m an atheist who considers my meditative and yoga practice ways to develop and spirituality “tune into” life in general. My practice allows me to identify and edify my spiritual health and the spiritual health needs of others. I would argue my active practice is a form of prayer, the irony being on average I spend about 90 minutes a day in prayer, which is likely more than most religious affiliations do.

SarahSiddons Level 6 Oct 27, 2017
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How can you follow Buddhism when the Dalai Lama himself said he is glad he wasn't born a woman? And there are totally different (and more onerous) rules for women buddhist priests than male? Unfortunately, even Buddhism is misogynistic.

@Agnostic1 I never said I followed Buddhism, I said I identify. The Dali Lama isn’t a ruler or de facto leader of all Buddhists. Buddhism c9mes in many forms.

@SarahSiddons - many forms yes, but they all consider women lesser beings than men. Not one for me, I'm afraid, in any of its forms.

I also find Buddhist philosophy to be very beneficial to mental and physical health. I never searched for a god or anything beyond self discovery. Buddhist religion is, to me, an oxymoron. Buddha was clear he was not god and there is no afterlife. He taught people how to reach enlightenment about self and the nature of the universe using meditation. I've traveled to buddhist cultures where it is their religion and they pray to the "lord" Buddha in their temples. It's what happens when a culture institutionalizes spirituality into religion.

Just out of curiosity, how do you separate "spirituality" from its religious bindings? I once was a theist. During my journey of truth-seeking, which ultimately led to atheism, my shedding of the lies came in stages. For some time, I declared that I was "spiritual" but not religious. Later on, however, I came to the conclusion that there is no true separation, that all notions of spirituality are derived from a religious origin, & that those who say they are spiritual are still drinking the kool-aid. It's just "kool-aid lite" instead of full-calorie. Please don't take offense to my words, as this is not meant as an attack upon you. Just trying to understand another person's thinking, & trying to provoke thought. ????

@SarahSiddons

Just out of curiosity, how do you separate "spirituality" from its religious bindings? I once was a theist. During my journey of truth-seeking, which ultimately led to atheism, my shedding of the lies came in stages. For some time, I declared that I was "spiritual" but not religious. Later on, however, I came to the conclusion that there is no true separation, that all notions of spirituality are derived from a religious origin, & that those who say they are spiritual are still drinking the kool-aid. It's just "kool-aid lite" instead of full-calorie. Please don't take offense to my words, as this is not meant as an attack upon you. Just trying to understand another person's thinking, & trying to provoke thought. ????

Buddha was perhaps the original free thinker. He was able to see beyond the conventional dichotomy between indulgence and asceticism that together were the consensus of the time and seize upon the essence of our reality he called the middle way. He had nothing to say about an afterlife, but instinctively knew everything was connected and kept his focus on suffering, its causes and alleviation. Others who followed have tried to make it something else. That’s OK. But I agree with you and see you are Buddha Sarah.

@GoldenDoll If it’s not for you, then don’t practice it.

@ElementX74 I don’t think I’d use the word “separating”. But to your inquiry. For me this is where yin/yang (or balance) comes in. Consider a few other non-religious spirituality perceived equivalency.

Prayer comes in many forms, prayer and religion are not mutually exclusive. Meditation could be argued as a form of prayer. Some genuflect, some chant, some raise hands to the heavens, some start the hand raising from the ground/root up as a continuation of the bodies end and where the universe begins.

The laws of attraction/connection may be seen as the answer to prayer, to others are seen as the fruits or spoils of labor be they good or bad. If you want what others have spiritually or monetarily you keep putting yourself in the paths of those who have whatever “it” is whether consciously or not by actions.

For me music is a vessel of connection and beauty. I’ve never been Catholic yet I love Handel’s Messiah and I sing it every year because I find it a thing of beauty. I quote scripture a lot both or the Bible, Torah, Book of Mormon et.al because there is a lot of beautiful inspiring prose in its word.

I’ve posted A LOT on many forms of social media saying “Americans DO NOT need health insurance, Americans need healthcare” There’s a huge difference between the two, most overlook equating them when they are almost the opposite of each other. My physical health ends and begins in my brain. The body intelligence connecting to the mind intelligence. When it comes to something like weight loss, I first MUST know I am deserving of the health I want. I must love myself enough to achieve a goal well within my reach. Some achieve fitness through running, lifting, spinning....I achieve and continually improve the communication of my body and mind through yoga.

In addiction recovery the ubiquitous and free way to approach sobriety is faith based. If you don’t have health insurance but need healthcare, one can achieve sobriety through AA, I used it as a launching pad. I’d be in meetings with those who have 40 years sober and attend 5 times a week and thought to myself “I desperately want 40 years sober but I DO NOT want to be sitting in this chair 40 years from now”. Some will say it’s the only way. Ones recovery is like a fingerprint, no 2 are alike. With some diseases the answer/cure is a pill, or surgery, or cognitive behavioral therapy. For me the answer/cure is my yoga mat and meditation station and haven’t been to a meeting in over 2 years.

Religion doesn’t have a monopoly on ritual behavior/acts. Addicts are HUGE on rituals, independent of religion. We are soaked in rituals. Recovery taught me by switching one healthy ritual for rituals which would have sent me to an early grave actually gave me life. Addiction is a tricky beast. It’s selfishness which can only be cured by selfishness. When you first get sober you have to face everything you’ve ever done, the remorse, shame and guilt keep the relapse, recovery vicious cycle rolling. The worst thing you can do in the beginning is go around apologizing to everyone. They don’t want to hear ONE MORE LIE. It takes diving into yourself and a lot of time with yourself to get to the point where you can be believed, forgiven or trusted. When you forst get sober the LAST thing you think of yourself is being deserving of health, sobriety, or trust. It’s a tricky balance with a bafflingly simple concept. I earned all of it back by simply showing up for my life every single day.

Not sure if that answers your question, but it is what it is. I’ll close with the 9th step prayer also known in AA as The Promises. “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. Big Book pg. 83 & 84 Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Ed.

@SarahSiddons Obs.

@SarahSiddons Interesting views, some I agree with, some not so much. I definitely agree with you regarding healthcare. I've battled some addiction myself. Attempted suicide when I thought I didn't have the strength to quit, finally ended up quitting "cold-turkey" when I'd finally had enough of living that way, & realized I did have the strength. I still think spirituality is watered down leftovers from religion though. Thank you for your response. ????

13

Totally comfortable with it, although I used to be much more shy about it. But now any time someone starts spouting off religious stuff to me, my response is "You know I'm an Atheist, right?" Now I have no problems, I proudly identify as Atheist, and even post videos on my Facebook page designed to help those struggling with their loss of faith, and introduces them to Atheism, and let's them know that they are not alone in their lack of belief for some omnipotent being that controls all. I Don't force my beliefs on anyone, and I shoot down anyone that tries to force their beliefs on me, but I am more than happy to answer questions for people and help them realize a world without the shackles of religion.

Lucidmoon Level 4 Oct 20, 2017
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12

I am not an atheist.
I am simply a non-believer.
I also, generally speaking, never have felt like a blanket label of any kind has fit me properly.
to me, to consider myself atheist would be to assert that I know there is not a god or gods -
a certainty.
that would be foolish in my estimation.
I'm not agnostic - because I'm not searching or questioning either.
I neither know nor do I care one way or the other.
I'm not interested.
so, I do not use this term for myself.
I am perfectly comfortable with it for anyone else who chooses it for themselves -
but as a general rule will refer to someone as a non-believer until I know their preferred term/label.

Saudade Level 2 Nov 12, 2017
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to be an atheist is not to say you know there isn't a god. it simply means you don't believe in a god. I am an agnostic atheist. This means I don't believe in god, but I am not making the positive claim that there is no god.

@mbergwell - I love your post. I'm just not interested either, although theists still annoy me. I shall be a "non-believer" from now one. Thankyou.

12

I like the word a lot. It gives a sense of identity and social communion with others who also choose the label. Yeah, it'd be nice not to have to use the label, but when (esp here in the US) we're still a minority, wearing the label helps to de-stigmatize it.

Dylan Level 5 Oct 16, 2017
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So true. You are what you believe yourself to be.

Btw, Non-believers are the third largest group of people in the world next to Christianity and Islam.

9

Very comfortable, and here's why:


Although I see the irony of embracing the word and the insanity it might seem to perpetuate, I am also arrogant enough to assert that even if there WAS a god, I'd be an atheist, because the broad definition of the term is "without god". If all that we see exist and that we see happening around us actually could be proven to be attributed to any sort of "god" I would STILL choose to be "without him" because upon observing the human race, the world around me, and the known universe, I've come to the conclusion that IF a god is responsible for all of this, "he" is a capricious asshole, and I'd still reject him to his face.

HopiMoon Level 2 Oct 26, 2017
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9

I'm not happy being labelled for something I don't believe in or do.


It's like saying I'm an aphilatelist because I don't collect stamps.


I prefer to be called a free-thinker.

GoldenDoll Level 6 Oct 26, 2017
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edgy

8

I am very comfortable with the word "Atheist". I have been one for most of my life and am almost 70 now. I have the right to think what I choose and don't intend to hide or shrink from my beliefs. If someone doesn't like it, they need to leave me alone. I have lost what I thought were friends over my beliefs but would rather that then continually giving away pieces of me to keep those people around. I tell people who harrass me about it that I intend to get cremated since I'll probably have to get used to the "heat"! It throws them off guard and shuts them up.

Evolution Level 3 Nov 22, 2017
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I have to agree with you on that. I am 65 and have been an Atheist for 58 of those years. So it's all I know. I do not know where you are from, but I grew up in southern Arkansas, and it's a LOT better now , than it was back in the 60's and 70's!

8

I've recently had an epiphany about this, similar to your conclusion: "Why should I define myself in contrast to what doesn't exist?" It ultimately presents the idea that religious people have a sort of monopoly on worldviews and I have to state that I am apart from that. People 'round my way, within the Mexican culture, will more-than-assume that I adhere to their belief systems - not even considering that I might be an entirely different religion, which, from their perspective, is the least they could do.


I was talking with a girl and at some point she said, "Go confess to the 'padre.'" It's a colloquialism, joke thing they say. At no point did we ever talk about religion, and at no point did I ever say I was a part of their shenanigans. To her - to them - it is a given.


Plus, I don't like labels. It's a "function over form" kind of thing, not like a "don't label me, blah blah blah" thing. A label is something that is efficient and coarse. My friends and I had a discussion about what makes a "gamer" a "gamer." It involved data points like amount of different games played and amount of hours etc. But in reality, calling someone a "gamer" wasn't the important part. It was the purpose of that label within any given context and the data point that was important at the time.


All this to say that I no longer call myself an atheist. When the topic arises I simply say, "There are no such thing as supernatural deities or forces - this includes ghosts and the Hindu mysticism concept known as karma." That is the function that the label, atheist, is supposed to serve anyway. I don't even mention the word, "god," just so they know I'm on that hunde'd, ya dig?

FuckReligion Level 5 Oct 18, 2017
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Very, very well said. Very informative. Thanks

7

I am a devout atheist, and believe atheism makes pecfect, logical sense. Follow along: amoebas who were brainless, virtually shapeless forms of early life, supposedly somehow multiplied and developed into a higher form of life???? What about dinosaurs, again, brainless forms of life who basically scavenged for food when the only food was tree bark and greenery. Did God then say " OOPS, made a mistake, don't quite like this life form", and so instead of vaporizing these poor creatures, he covered the earth with a thick black cloud and suffocated these poor animals to death. Can you even imagine gasping for air where there is no air left to sustain these life.
I have lived in my own personal hell for over half a century, and for 35 of those hellish years prayed to a God that never once answered my prayers. There is no loving, kind merciful God that would create a thing to suffer from birth to death. There are dinosaur bones, proof of both Cro-magnum and Neanderthal man, the skeleton Lucy, but nothing showing a compassionate loving entity watching over His Supposed creations.

ssylvia49 Level 2 Nov 6, 2017
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7

I've been an Atheist all my life, well Satanist for 20 years(which is not a bad thing, still Atheist, I just follow the guidelines of Satanism) I just recently found out that people are nervous around Atheists, and to me, the word Atheist doesn't flinch me, my family has known since I was able to walk that I did not believe in God, Santa, or the Tooth Fairy lol

AntiX Level 3 Oct 26, 2017
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6

I have no problem with “atheist”. Religious people have a problem with the term, though. For some reason people call me a “godless communist “.


I tell ‘em, “I’m a socialist, dammit!”

WizardBill Level 6 Nov 22, 2017
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Maybe religious people should be called antiathiest.

6

Very. And I'm happy enough with "heathen", "unbeliever", "hellbound liberal'....

HurricaneErika Level 3 Nov 20, 2017
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5

I prefer to describe myself as a Humanist. Call me chicken smile001.gif

ags2 Level 4 Dec 12, 2017
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I have worn out the topic of "atheist". I refuse to comment on gods that do not exist, or have never existed- I am NOT an atheist. If I am going to waste time---- it's going to be on something that is pleasant- not profound foolishness.

I don't care if Donald Duck wears rubber boots when he is swimming, so that his feet will not get wet. And I feel that the discussion about gods is even more absurd than the foregone premise.

I like it!

5

I'm proud to call myself and be called an atheist.

KipPrice Level 2 Oct 29, 2017
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4

I am very comfortable with the word "Atheist." However, you have to understand what the word means and how to use it in a sentence.


First of all, the word atheist is derived from the Greek language, the letter "a" meaning "non" or "not" and "theist" meaning someone who believes in theology or the study of religion. A person who is atheist does not conform to theology just like asymmetrical is not symmetrical, atypical is not typical, etc.


When someone asks if you believe in religion or god, your answer would be; "No I am atheist." Notice that I did not use the word "an" in front of atheist. That is because the word "an" would indicate that you are part of an organized group. Unless you belong to the First Atheist Church in Dallas, I would guess that you do not belong to a group that teaches atheism.

CraigAllen Level 2 Nov 9, 2017
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I see this as rather simple- and concise. All man-made gods are foolish nonsense. If Nature is 'cognitive'- and not the smartest person on earth, or any person that has ever been on earth, knows this- that would make Nature a god/creator- or whatever you want to call 'it'. And the lesson in composition: "an" is the article that replaces "a" when the following word starts with a vowel. Ain't difficult.

It is not mandatory to use an article such as "an" in the case of the statement "I am atheist." Just as the article "an" is not necessary for the following statements, "That shape is asymmetrical" or The patient's symptom is atypical.

In fact, when you break down the meaning of the words, placing "an" in front does not make sense. I am an non-theist. The patient's symptom is an non-typical. That shape is an non-symmetrical.

Yes, Mr. Allen, you figured it out- apparently by accident. Yes you do not put "an" in front of a word beginning with a consonant such as "non-typical". I think that must be pre-kindergarten grammar.

4

Humanity is divided into Theists and Non-theists, taking Theist to mean one who believes there exists one or more supernatural entities with the power to influence events in the physical world.
Non-theists are divided between those who reject the Theist position as illogical, usually calling themselves Atheists or Rationalists, and those who accept that you cannot prove a negative, and so prefer Agnostic or Humanist to describe their position vis-a-vis Theism.
For my part, I do not accept that a Non-theist has to prove anything, the Theist is the one making the extraordinary claim for which one piece of verifiable evidence has yet to be supplied. I therefore regard Atheism as the default null hypothesis to be accepted until disproved.

JimEdwards Level 3 Oct 20, 2017
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4

Atheist is the term that I used to describe myself. That being said, I don't throw the word around casually. The word comes with so much baggage I don't typically use it unless I need to.

Mightyjustice Level 5 Oct 20, 2017
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3

I would prefer being called "atheist" rather than a non-believer or any such wishy washy term. The term atheist is more in your face.


I believe most believers know well that a lot of what they usually say they believe(possibly because their community believes it) is non sense and the very presence of "people who are aware of your nakedness" makes them insecure. I would like my very presence to be felt as something that discourages belief in ridiculous things, something the term "atheist" ensures.

saketagrawal Level 4 Dec 24, 2017
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yes its real and it stops most people from answering I do only use it as a last resort though

3

The reason there has to be a word for us that have no belief in the gods, is that the majority of this country is batshit crazy when it comes to god belief. They want to enact laws from their religion, and deny science and reason because it contradicts their fairy tales. If it was an innocent delusion like a belief in ghosts, there would be no reason to make a stand against it.

Eazyduzzit Level 6 Dec 23, 2017
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I think the escapism is what the story is in aid of and the innocent delusion you mention would take centre stage and become the proud successor of the god story, peopel will always want to escape their reality and the promise of heaven would be perfect for the ghost god ;actually isnt there already a holy ghost

3

I consider myself to be a "being" of the Cosmos and could not give a flying fudge what anyone thinks. I have a problem with authority figures anyway, so god is the so-called ultimate in that dept. I do not like people "lording" over me with their fairytales and thinking they are superior because they know the truth and I don't. Never have so many people been bamboozled by so few, ( insert church here ) in the history of humanity than by the god story.

valentine4real Level 4 Dec 22, 2017
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3

I identify myself as atheist. Unfortunately, many people don't seem to understand what the word means.

Eddrod83 Level 2 Dec 20, 2017
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3

I don't mind the term at all. However, I cannot say with 100% accuracy that I know there is no God. But everything I have seen and believe makes me think with great certainty that there isn't one. However, like science, if someone ever gives me definitive proof, I'll take it. So I'm agnostic.

BritishBulldog Level 3 Nov 7, 2017
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