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I’ve just had my very first conversation with a stranger who is an atheist... to say the least it was entertaining at most. It felt like I was having a discussion with a believer. I give myself the label agnostic, before I learned the word I had a difficult time identifying as an atheist I didn’t want to be an atheist...”I just don’t believe there is a god”. The end. Last nights discussions were strange and at Times truly unsatisfying I felt defensive and toyed with. Not to say that they got away with the behaviors I forsure called out the obvious... it all just left a awkward Taste. Is this what it’s like

mychelle 5 Sep 7

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I am not sure what the context is here. Were you on a date?

The difference between atheist and agnostic for most people is just a bit of semantics. Hardly anything to get fired up over. Most agnostics don't care enough about the existence of a god to alter lifestyle or mindset, and most atheists will not claim a 0% chance of the existence of god. Even this website has a 99.9% choice as to your opinion on the chance of god existing.

You can't prove a negative. There is a greater than 0 chance that santa, bigfoot, unicorns, fairies and gods exist. The universe is a big place and we can't search it. I am confident the odds are crazy low for all these entities.

I use the term atheist for myself for 3 reasons:

  1. Agnostic makes most people think you are 50/50. I am not. I am very close to zero % on god's existence.
  2. Definition of atheist implies a lack of belief. Not having an invisible friend is my natural state. Belief takes effort, it is an activity I do not participate in.
  3. Part of the social issue that freethinkers have is that we think freely. We are not a united group, it is like herding cats. It is our strength and our weakness. We go by many names, have a diverse philosophy and choose to express our opinions openly and freely. I say I am an atheist because it is better defined and opens up discussion, though often it is just people telling me I am stupid. The irony of that both funny and sad at the same time.

Hope this was helpful.


Talking about one's non- religiosity is almost as tedious as talking about one's beliefs.


My worldview is informed by the epistemology of evidentialism wherein the definition of evidence is in alignment with the scientific method. What all that incredibly confusing verbiage means is that a belief must be restricted to those things for which there is adequate real (objective) evidence to justify the belief.

This view automatically determines that I cannot make any assertion without having evidence to support the assertion. Because of this, in any discussion of deity I will appear to be agnostic and with good reason. With the same reasoning, I am also an atheist because I have insufficient evidence to hold any belief in the supernatural. I do not believe in a god or gods, but I cannot deny the possibility that I might be wrong.

So, I am free of all superstitions, including the belief in deity.

This is a good explanation and precisely how I describe myself. Out in the world I usually just say I’m an atheist so I don’t have to explain the difference to believers.
In the rare case they do understand, when I say “agnostic” they hear “convert me.” No reason to give people false hope.


Dogma in any ilk is off-putting. Strident atheists can be as, if not more annoying than the JC crew.


A data set of one is not enough to start generalising from.


small samples lead to lousy judgments. so you met a stranger who happened to be an atheist and also happened to be obnoxious (in ways you have not specified, so it is hard to understand what bothered you about the conversation). i mean, i have NO idea what behaviors you're talking about. i'm not doubting you -- but i can't have an opinion about behaviors that have not been specified. did the person spit? call you a name? tell you you were stupid? what? anyway, let's imagine (since, without information, all i can DO is imagine) that this person was just plain vile. is this what WHAT is like? it's what THAT PERSON was like. would you judge all women by one rude woman? would you judge all short people by one short person? how about people from iowa? would one rude person from iowa make you ask "is this what it's like"?

i also have to wonder what you think "atheist" means. an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in any gods. s/he might even actively believe there are no gods.. that's ALL it means. it doesn't mean a member of a certain club, or a crusader for a certain cause (although since atheists get attacked a lot, sometimes we have the pretty reasonable agenda of getting people to stop attacking us), or people who like pizza, or people who don't like pizza. it JUST means someone for whom there are no gods. so since you don't believe there is a god, in what way are you not an atheist? what is wrong with the word, for you?


There’s no right or wrong for me! And if there is a label others want me to stand by it’s not my business... I can say without explanation that I am not in fact an atheist. As well not too bothered for an explanation I didn’t ask about.

@mychelle "is this what it's like?" isn't asking for an explanation? pardon me for trying to answer what i thought you might be asking. a more specific question might have gotten you an answer you wanted, although i try to answer truthfully rather than as people want me to answer.


@CoastRiderBill i tried to answer her question, which was difficult because her question was so vague. i had to hearken back to what she said before asking the question to try to figure it out. a lot of that struck me as illogical. this is what directed my comment. i don't know what else i could have said that would have been at all helpful, and my purpose in answering was to be helpful. it turns out my attempt to help was unappreciated and maybe even resented. i did my best. oh WELL.


@genessa “is this what it’s like?” was a general statement(with a question mark) because this person was a stranger that asked me on a date
... I have had tons of conversation about the topic with people I know and have known and respected ... It usually feels like an exchange. I fully arrived to said date with excitement I thought great new exchange... it wasn’t an exchange it was the above described. Iv been on this road for over 30 years. I know enough to be respectful to everyone’s processes and beliefs always. Writing does not convey emotion you asked why I felt something is “wrong”. I was trying to clarify it’s not about right or wrong... good or bad... simply put I hoped it was going to be an easier way i for the first time was meeting someone with a similar beliefs I was thrown for a loop not thinking this would be the outcome... so there I don’t think I can explain any further

@mychelle okay, that helps a little, it was a date. by wrong i didn't mean evil. i meant wrong for you.



There's a lot left out here. To be clear, just because a person doesn't believe in God doesn't mean they can't be an asshole.


I think everyone you come across will be different, whatever flag they fly.

Communication isn't dependant on everyone thinking the same. If you and this person weren't communicating effectively despite the differences, maybe the next experience will be better. Or worse.


Most Atheists I have come across in other forums than this tend to be annoyingly rigid in their thinking, I suspect a remainder of their time in the clutches of religion. Hence "Lacking a belief in a god or gods" renders everything and everyone (at times including shoes and rocks), Atheist.
I've been though it. I have pictures. And I can't be bothered to engage with the cohort anymore, but to occasionally say that their biased ideology is holding back the potential success of the combined secular community. Because most are more worried about converting more people out of being in denial of their atheism than actually getting anything done.

While they do exist on this site, it seems that the name is enough to scare many away, because they don't seem to have the numbers that they do on Facebook, Reddit, and other places. Which is nice. A place to speak my mind without having to deal with a bunch of like minded Freethinkers that mysteriously share the EXACT SAME PLAYBOOK. But Atheism is not an ideology, it is merely a belief.

Be Agnostic, Pastafarian, whatever. Just don't be annoying. And most of all, do what you can to be part of the solution.

@schway I don't mind talking down to people that I feel are idiots. In terms of the atheists, I have attempted to address my critiques directly to many. But I have a better time getting my cat to interpret Plato.

Hence, I just don't care anymore.

@schway As for Atheism as NOT a belief, I don't think that is correct.

The definition seemingly allows for this by way of "Lack of belief in a god or gods". But frankly, this nu definition is idiotic. Though my coffee can lack sugar or cyanide, I don't LACK a belief in a god or gods. I looked at the question and my answer was "who cares", essentially. I was more "Atheist" previously. But as I grow older and more bored of these conversations, the whole topic is less important overall.

Another reason why the "lacking belief" definition is annoying, is because it allows some to seriously argue that inanimate objects like rocks, tables, cars and anything else are "Atheist". Because they fit the nu definition by default. A phenomenon I learned that Reddit calls "Shoe Atheism".
And the more common offspring from this is, Babies/Animals/uncontacted tribes are also "Atheist".

Indeed, I am taking issue with a word as defined. But it is a word that has changed with time. It was once the more honest "rejection in belief in a god or gods". A definition that is much more fitting, being that it eliminates all of this other nonsense. Not to mention that it forces one to actually think about what they are saying. You don't "lack belief". You made a choice, dammit!

Please don't feel targeted by this reply. I am not attacking you directly. This whole topic just . . . annoys me.


There's always going to be people who take things way too far or seriously: religion, politics, social issues, etc. When these people encounter another person on social media who doesn't believe or take a certain stance as seriously as them, then they can become offensive/attack you. Many of these extremists define themselves by their beliefs, and they take it personally when someone doesn't believe what they do.

I had two people on here recently be complete douchebags to me. One went completely apeshit because I didn't agree with him that we should "kill Trump." I don't agree or like Trump, but I'm not going to say we should kill him. The other person got butthurt that I didn't take an political poll on here seriously even though it had no consequences on real life what we chose in the poll.

Most people here are good people.


there are obnoxious idiots in every walk of life sadly


No. Most of us, agnostic and atheist alike, really aren’t that intimidating. I welcome you to think whatever you like, as long as you respect my opinions.


It sounds like you were talking to an evangelical atheist. Evangelical in this case meaning “marked by militant or crusading zeal”.

Those types seem to have similar mental problems as evangelical, dogmatic religious types. They need to know that they are right so they can close off their mind. They want everybody around them to think the same way so they try to micromanage your thoughts. I think they do these things because it brings them comfort as opposed to pursuing deeper understanding of the hard questions of ultimate existence.



Depending on the level of indoctrination there can be several stages on the way to atheism. Some people get stuck in one stage and are unable to move on. First one questions one's own beliefs (as imposed by others). Then one questions the beliefs of others. Then resentment and anger at being indoctrinated since childhood before one could make a cognitive decision. There can be a desire to disprove 'god' and this is when aggresive evangelical atheism can occur, atheism becomes the 'religion' and converts are sought. (This is the stage many get stuck in and i believe that is the type of person you encountered.) Eventually the question of 'god' becomes an irrelevance to one's life. That's when you are a true atheist. Obviously this is a very simplistic explanation. Everyone's personal journey is different and many factors come into play. ?


Some Atheists today are very "religious" in their Atheism.

That’s exactly how I was feeling

More anti-theist than atheist, I think.


"I just don't believe there is a god". Then you're an atheist. If some atheist gave you a hard time for not committing to "there is definitely no god", that's their issue. Sorry you experienced that.

No I’m not


@Tibert @mychelle sorry you had that experience but that is indeed the definition of an atheist, without a belief in god. Atheist and agnostic are not mutually exclusive terms. Atheist is without theism and agnostic is without knowledge. The two terms answer two different questions. Atheist answers do you believe in a particular God? If no then you qualify. Agnostic answers do you know absolutely for a fact, and the answer there is also no for any honest person. I can't say scientifically that I deny any possibility of a god, but I can say experientially that none of the Gods described by current religions could possibly exist. They contradict themselves. Everyone on this site that's honest with themselves qualifies as both, agnostic atheist, unless you are a Believer end of story. Use whatever term you feel comfortable with, just know that you are using a misconception about its definition when you deny either one of them.

@mychelle I'm totally fine with you not being an atheist. you do you. as long as you don't believe the superstitious nonsense, I don't care what you call yourself or why you want to be called that, I'm good.

I don't believe in anything supernatural, the word pragmatic just a general use for the purpose of saying the same thing. (In my case I would need definite evidence for me to change my view. ) I am just an atheist, nothing more.


You are going to meet people you don’t agree with in every walk of life. Why tag Atheists on the interactions with one or two people? Anymore than you would assume all Jews are money pinchers or Muslims terrorists?

He said “ I’m an atheist”. I never tagged him


You are going to find such people no matter the subject. Explore your own intrigue.


Beliefs are to be challenged. I do not know the specifics of your situation, so can't really comment. If the other person criticizes your ideas, no matter how harshly, and not you, it is a fair game. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the debate to separate the person and the beliefs. Beliefs are dispensable, but not the person. It is easy to feel attacked when our ideas are attacked, but we must resist that.

Then I should have been fair warned that I’d be debating instead of dating don’t want to do both not at first anyways


Blow it off. Consider it a look at one way you don't want to be.


Do you think that the person was a jerk because they were an atheist or do you think they were a jerk who was also an atheist, sometimes we may make the wrong connection.


Forget labels. Just share and compare ideas honestly. The rest will take care of itself.


What specifically were the unsatisfying parts of the discussion, and why did you feel toyed with, and what was it that made you defensive?


There have been some fakes out there. Hang with it there are a lot of intelligent people on here.


Hello mychelle,
I am new this group and I hope it wasn't me. I am a very pragmatic atheist and need evidences support what I say. I do believe that natural causes are mistaken for the supernatural and trying modify them can sometimes lead a wrong interpretation. When I speak of one energy being the progenitor, I am just saying what some of the most accomplished scientists have said. Richard Feynman with his one electron theory or the mysteries of quantum entanglement and its ability to react between particles instantaneously; which fools us into thinking it is quicker than the speed of light, when in reality we are just looking at one particle. Reality can sometimes seem stranger than fiction.
Best Wishes

dodin Level 4 Sep 9, 2018
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