Introductions
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10-01-2011, 07:38 AM
Introductions
I bypassed introductions when I joined the forum a couple weeks back, jumping in straightaway to "The Heavy Stuff."

I've been a non-theist for 10-20 years, depending on how one measures the progression.

I use the term non-theist to open a question on labeling. I'm comfortable with the term Atheist, and normally use it to describe my religious, or more aptly, lack thereof, leanings.

My wife is not as comfortable with the term. She prefers Agnostic to Atheist, but is happy to be considered a Secular Humanist.

I've seen a myriad of labels out there - Free Thinkers, Skeptics, Humanists, etc., etc. So it begs the question: Are non-theists (at least those who participate in this forum) concerned about what label they wear, or what they are called, by themselves or others?

I often feel that my own "Atheist" label is primarily for the consumption of others, more often than not Christians, more for their clarity than my own. Just wondering how others view the issue.

Thanks, Sean

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10-01-2011, 03:01 PM
RE: Introductions
I read that atheist should not be a label, in that writer's opinion. You don't decribe yourself as an apolice officer, afireman, apolitition etc. The only reason that the term atheist exists is that the religious have had so much influence over society that they created such a term as to seperate and discredit us. At least that is his opinion. I agree with it to an extent, but I am very comfortable with calling myself an atheist. All the other titles are fine with me, too.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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10-01-2011, 10:23 PM
 
RE: Introductions
I don't see anything wrong with the term Atheist. It is technically correct for most people. It is a nicer way of saying Anti-theist, which is also true for me. As a former devout believer, I see the dangers to humanity and abhor and fear the future if it prevails. I am confident that it won't, thanks to this medium and the incredible acccess to knowledge and information. It isn't our grandfather's world anymore.

The term atheist is perfect, just like the term "asexual" is perfect to describe my ex-wife. It merely denotes an apathy for the suffix. Anti-sexual would be a little more "in your face" way to say "stay clear of me, I hate the human touch and I am icey cold." See the difference?

Granted, Atheist is a term that carries different meaning and ferocity depending on the user or hearer, much like the term "god" has so many different definitions. Non-theist is a fine term too, but there is no need to shy away from Atheist. To say that seems like there is something to hide or be ashamed of. It is accurate and proper diction to say atheist. I think it should fall on us to push it forward and not be timid about it. Illiterate people should learn to use the right words to describe things just like they should learn that the world is not flat, that humans have been around for many millenia, that snakes don't talk, and that science is important. It isn't a slang term, or maybe it would be ok to lose it. It is wholly appropriate and proper, I think.
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11-01-2011, 07:09 AM
RE: Introductions
(10-01-2011 03:01 PM)No J. Wrote:  I read that atheist should not be a label, in that writer's opinion. You don't decribe yourself as an apolice officer, afireman, apolitition etc. The only reason that the term atheist exists is that the religious have had so much influence over society that they created such a term as to seperate and discredit us. At least that is his opinion. I agree with it to an extent, but I am very comfortable with calling myself an atheist. All the other titles are fine with me, too.

(10-01-2011 10:23 PM)Truth Sleuth Wrote:  I don't see anything wrong with the term Atheist. It is technically correct for most people. It is a nicer way of saying Anti-theist, which is also true for me. As a former devout believer, I see the dangers to humanity and abhor and fear the future if it prevails. I am confident that it won't, thanks to this medium and the incredible acccess to knowledge and information. It isn't our grandfather's world anymore.

Thanks for the responses. It's not as much about what word I choose to self-identify with, but what term to people on this forum choose to self-identify with.

Like I said, I'm comfortable with the Atheist term, but I do feel it is more of a quick response that doesn't convey the complexity of deeper examination. If I tell someone I am an Atheist, I've conveyed that I do not believe in a deity of any sort - this is it, deal with it.

But if I were to engage in a deeper conversation, I would admit that I am an Atheist with Agnostic leanings. That if there is a "god," it is a disengaged god that is completely distracted from earth. Maybe something caused the Big Bang that set the universe in motion, maybe not - in the absence of proof, I remain open to the possible; however, I have complete certainty that the religious practices of human beings has no conceivable notion of whatever deity may or may not exist that could have started it all. That deity, and I use the term very broadly, may not be "perfect," "benevolent," "caring," "pick a god-like word." That deity may not have a plan for our species any more than it might have a plan for an amoeba - and for that matter, if such a deity exists, it doesn't require worship or prayer - otherwise we, the collective we, would be worshiping according to it's desires.

All worldly religions are no better, but possibly worse, than Greek or Roman mythology as a way to explain the unknown or unknowable, at least that's how I see it. So I am open to the possibility that a "creator," for lack of a better term may exist, or may have existed, but that "thing," if it ever did exist, doesn't necessarily deserve or warrant worship, or even respect.

Again, with the lack of proof of such a "creator-being," I'm comfortable with the term Atheist above all else - though some might characterize my openness to the possible as Agnostic.

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18-01-2011, 06:58 AM
 
RE: Introductions
There are a some misconceptions about Atheism, and Sam Harris explains it better than anyone else canl:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLIKAyzeIw4

The fact is most people think Atheists are AGAINST the belief of God, and that they are close minded THERE IS NO GOD mindset. While this may be true for some (people against the belief of god should be labeled Anti-theist) most Atheists would believe in god if there was substantial scientific proof.

Atheist or Agnostic... depending who I would be talking to (regarding their comfort in religious beliefs, how well i know them, family etc) I may use one term or the other. Your mention of a "higher power/energy" (not necessarily a deity) I share this as a very real possibility. So I would consider myself agnostic in that sense, but Atheistic in the sense that I do NOT know and therefore can not believe it as fact.
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