Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
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28-06-2013, 04:51 PM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
I'm not sure it matters which term you use, because to religious believers of any specific religion they all mean the same thing; you are either just a deceived, unbelieving sinner, or a blind, lost sheep that is a potential convert.

Remember that while you may view it as a trivial formality, from the perspective of the kind of religious person that would even be asking you to go to their clubhouse, your soul is at stake if they don't get you to come along.

That's why I think the best response is not to tether yourself down to a term that sets you up as a target, but just to outline your (lack of) beliefs, in brief i.e. "Sorry, I don't believe in any religion" or "No, I don't believe it" or "Nah, soz brah, I think god doesn't exist, so FUCKOFFYOUCRAZYMOTHAFUCKALEAVEMEALONE!!!111" etc etc etc...

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28-06-2013, 05:00 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?

I was blessed (if you excuse the irony), with being born in a part of the world which is rapidly decreasing in numbers of professed religious people... at least numbers of believers who were actually born here. Point being: religion, while churches are everywhere in my city, is generally a private thing, so the scenario is highly unlikely to occur.

If the rare occurrence where I get caught by a Bible Basher actually occurs, I'm going with "I'm an atheist". If it doesn't scare them off, I am betting that, after a brief play of expositionary words, they'll wander off back to their pulpits, scratching their heads in dim contemplation of a person not believing in any deity.
Or they'll just accept it, flash a smile and head off to their next destination. Either way is fine with me, so long as I get left alone.

As for "non-believer", for me, it is too cumbersome, and does not carry enough weight.

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29-06-2013, 07:07 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
Non-believer to me is to ambiguous. I've come to the point when if someone puts the question to me I just flat out tell them I'm an atheist. If they have questions about it I politely answer them and have a pretty intellectual discussion/debate, and if they get belligerent I not-so-politely end the conversation.

"History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god."
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29-06-2013, 08:28 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
When an incredibly sweet coworker I befriended asked me to church, I simply said, "No thanks." When she said, "OK, I'll ask you some other time," I told her I'm a humanist & don't share her beliefs. I think I'm a bit nervous about saying 'atheist' at work. Even though there's nothing intrinsically wrong with it, I get the sense it would be seen as inciting 'controversy' if the wrong person heard it.

Now for the bug-eyed lady on the bus who reads her bible, hands out tracts & assaults the unsuspecting with god-talk, I'd say that I'm an atheist without reserve. Luckily, she stays on her side of the bus, but she seems to size me up sometimes as I walk past her & I'm sure she'll try to proselytize me one day.

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29-06-2013, 09:19 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
In contrast to the Christian who bemoaned, I don't have enough faith to be an atheist, this atheist has to say, I have too much faith to be anything else. All faith is, IRL, is moral certainty. I put the scientific method to that philosophy. Thumbsup

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29-06-2013, 09:42 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
My typical response is such:
I worship the creation since I see, smell, hear, feel, and taste it.

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" - Albert Einstein
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29-06-2013, 09:50 AM
RE: Thoughts on the term "non-believer"?
(29-06-2013 09:42 AM)DementedPagan Wrote:  My typical response is such:
I worship the creation since I see, smell, hear, feel, and taste it.

I worship Gwyneth as a vector of absolute good. Prolly couldn't do that if I knew her. Big Grin

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