Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
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27-06-2013, 11:48 AM
Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
How do you feel about referring to yourself as a "non-believer" rather than as an atheist or agnostic?

A
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm an atheist."

B
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm a non-believer."

Are there times when B is the better choice? Does "non-believer" sound less aggressive and frightening to theists than "atheist"? Is it more likely to open the doors to a dialog?

Or is "non-believer" a spineless euphemism?

Thoughts?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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27-06-2013, 11:54 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
The only thing I ask is :
"Is the music any good ?" Tongue
My standards are pretty high.

That way I don't have to even get into the rest.

There used to be a guy up at my cousin's church up in MN whose sermons were works of literary art .. and very educational, ... ala 'bout history and culture. I liked those.
If we're gong to a decent buffet after, I can sit through "chuch". Weeping

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27-06-2013, 11:56 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(27-06-2013 11:48 AM)cufflink Wrote:  How do you feel about referring to yourself as a "non-believer" rather than as an atheist or agnostic?

A
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm an atheist."

B
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm a non-believer."

Are there times when B is the better choice? Does "non-believer" sound less aggressive and frightening to theists than "atheist"? Is it more likely to open the doors to a dialog?

Or is "non-believer" a spineless euphemism?

Thoughts?

A is always B but B is not always A. You can be a non-believer and not be an Atheist (considering that everyone on the planet is a non-believer is at least 1 of the major religions) As for your example I'm not sure how I would phrase it once I finished laughing but then I don't live somewhere that is a common occurrence.

I know a lot of Non-believers but only a few atheists (open ones) most even say they can't go so far as to say there is no God but are functionally atheistic. For me Non-believer is not false but not exactly true either. It would be like someone who is a communist when asked about their politics saying I'm left wing. Not false but not really true as it doesn't go far enough.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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27-06-2013, 12:10 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(27-06-2013 11:56 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  For me Non-believer is not false but not exactly true either. It would be like someone who is a communist when asked about their politics saying I'm left wing. Not false but not really true as it doesn't go far enough.

That's an excellent analogy and gets to the heart of what I was thinking about. If you do in fact consider yourself an atheist, are there nevertheless times when you deliberately don't want to go that far? And is that legitimate, or is it a cop-out?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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27-06-2013, 12:10 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(27-06-2013 11:48 AM)cufflink Wrote:  How do you feel about referring to yourself as a "non-believer" rather than as an atheist or agnostic?

A
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm an atheist."

B
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm a non-believer."

Are there times when B is the better choice? Does "non-believer" sound less aggressive and frightening to theists than "atheist"? Is it more likely to open the doors to a dialog?

Or is "non-believer" a spineless euphemism?

Thoughts?

C
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Fuck, no."

Big Grin

I don't know anybody who would ask me such a question, but the response that comes to mind - the polite version - is no, thanks. Tend not to volunteer any information. After that, I'd say I'm an atheist.

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27-06-2013, 12:23 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(27-06-2013 12:10 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  C
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Fuck, no."

Another option is:

D
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I have to earthquake-proof my apartment."

Big Grin

That comes from a real incident, by the way.

A sad-sack kind of guy in an office where I used to work could never get a date--and never stopped bemoaning his fate, which got a little tiresome. One day he came in all elated: he had made a date with a girl! As the day approached, we all showed our encouragement and support. The morning after the Big Date we were eager for the report, but he seemed as dejected as usual. When asked what happened, he said, "She cancelled. She said she had to earthquake-proof her apartment."

True story.

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27-06-2013, 12:24 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(27-06-2013 12:10 PM)cufflink Wrote:  
(27-06-2013 11:56 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  For me Non-believer is not false but not exactly true either. It would be like someone who is a communist when asked about their politics saying I'm left wing. Not false but not really true as it doesn't go far enough.

That's an excellent analogy and gets to the heart of what I was thinking about. If you do in fact consider yourself an atheist, are there nevertheless times when you deliberately don't want to go that far? And is that legitimate, or is it a cop-out?

I don't look down on anyone that has to live "in the closet" because of the area they live in. I am lucky enough to live in a very secular nonreligious area where the fundies are the strange ones. Not everyone has that situation so if you feel the need to curb your response because of backlash it is up to you.

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27-06-2013, 12:29 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
It does sound softer, but I don't really have any feelings about it one way or the other.

Any time I've been asked to go to church, I decline. If they keep asking about it, I'll tell them I'm an atheist and that I make fun of people like them on forums all the time. (Ok, maybe not the last part. But I've had bad experiences with people who wouldn't accept "no thanks" or "I'm an atheist" and proceeded to try and convert me.)
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27-06-2013, 01:31 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(27-06-2013 11:48 AM)cufflink Wrote:  How do you feel about referring to yourself as a "non-believer" rather than as an atheist or agnostic?

A
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm an atheist."

B
--"How about coming to church with us tomorrow morning?"
--"Thanks, but I'm a non-believer."

Are there times when B is the better choice? Does "non-believer" sound less aggressive and frightening to theists than "atheist"? Is it more likely to open the doors to a dialog?

Or is "non-believer" a spineless euphemism?

Thoughts?
It is only believers who associate something negative when they hear "atheist". So I doubt "non-believer" would hit them all that differently. Plus, to use the term non-believer, would make me feel like now I'm trying to be more PC just to avoid offending believers. I have no interest in being PC about my atheism. Maybe that's just me.

Part of the problem with the term "atheist" is the average believer doesn't know an atheist or at least didn't until recently. So that leaves it all to the imagination for believers about what atheists must be like. And they conjure up all sorts of evil, immoral images. The more the term is used and allowed to be associated with real people, the more likely it is that, over time, it will come to be associated with actual people who disprove the evil, immoral stereotypes.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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27-06-2013, 01:44 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
I just say "Sorry I'm not into that stuff." No one so far has pushed any further after that. I prefer not to say atheist not because of copping out or anything - if anyone was obnoxious I wouldn't be shy to be obnoxious right back - but because I don't wanna hafta find some diplomatic way of saying "it's a child's belief but you got a right to it" for the n-th time. Diplomatic because usually I have to live with / work with whoever's doing the asking.
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