Why I hate the word "non-theist"
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
22-09-2014, 02:19 PM
Why I hate the word "non-theist"
A popular euphemism for atheism among Americans in recent years is "non-thesim". It might seem innocent, but I find myself strongly disliking this word. It is a clear result of putting a despised but accurate word under the carpet in an effort to appeal to religious bigots. I'm not a "non-theist", I'm an atheist.

But also, words have histories and brands that inevitably get lost in such euphemisms. "Atheism" has a sense of open, fearless rejection of religion in today's society (even though the word orignally doesn't mean that) that is not carried over to "non-theism". A sense that I, being the antitheist that I am, find valuable.

Consider the word "skeptic". Its original meaning in Greek was "inquirer", which is actually a very good approximate definition of what being a skeptic is about. Yet I am probablöy not alone in feeling that something would be missing if The Skeptics' guide to the Universe changed their name to The Inquirers' Guide to the Universe.

What is your take on this?

"Examine the religious principles, which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded, that they are any thing but sick men's dreams." - David Hume
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2014, 02:27 PM
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
I hate it too. Let's form a club. We can call it the atheist haters of non-theist terminology club. Anon-theists for short Smile

Tongue

At least everyone knows where you stand with anti-theist. It sounds like bug spray.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes morondog's post
22-09-2014, 02:30 PM
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
At the very least, it is accurate. So, I see no reason to not just let it be.

I am a non-theist (not a theist).
I am an atheist (lacking belief in a deity).
I am an antitheist (believing religion is ultimately harmful and a negative force in the world).

At least it isn't an inaccurate spit in the face, like calling atheism a religion.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Adrianime's post
22-09-2014, 02:53 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2014 02:56 PM by Impulse.)
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
The problem I have with it is it makes theism sound like the default position. But, of course, atheism is the default.

Edit:
In addition, a deist is a non-theist so non-theist is not equivalent to atheist.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Impulse's post
22-09-2014, 03:02 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2014 03:06 PM by Adrianime.)
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
(22-09-2014 02:53 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Edit:
In addition, a deist is a non-theist so non-theist is not equivalent to atheist.
I disagree,
but I've already had a long argument on this site over whether or not deism is a subset of theism (which by definition it is). Not going to argue over it again.

theism = the belief in (the existence of) at least one deity (not specific to the characteristics of the deity in question).
deism = the belief in (the existence of, at least one of) a specific type of deity that is no longer interacting with the universe.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Adrianime's post
22-09-2014, 04:30 PM
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
(22-09-2014 03:02 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  
(22-09-2014 02:53 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Edit:
In addition, a deist is a non-theist so non-theist is not equivalent to atheist.
I disagree,
but I've already had a long argument on this site over whether or not deism is a subset of theism (which by definition it is). Not going to argue over it again.

theism = the belief in (the existence of) at least one deity (not specific to the characteristics of the deity in question).
deism = the belief in (the existence of, at least one of) a specific type of deity that is no longer interacting with the universe.
Ok, I'm certainly open to being educated if I'm incorrect. I didn't know the difference when I first came to this site and my impression from others here is that deism involves at least one god that does not interact with the universe whereas theism involves at least one god that does interact with the universe. But I would be interested in reading that thread if you could point me to it (assuming you still remember where it is) because I'm still learning about it.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2014, 05:29 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2014 05:41 PM by Adrianime.)
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
(22-09-2014 04:30 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Ok, I'm certainly open to being educated if I'm incorrect. I didn't know the difference when I first came to this site and my impression from others here is that deism involves at least one god that does not interact with the universe whereas theism involves at least one god that does interact with the universe. But I would be interested in reading that thread if you could point me to it (assuming you still remember where it is) because I'm still learning about it.
Well, it probably close to a year ago, and I'm not good at looking stuff up on this site so...

Here is the summary of the argument:
Me: Theism = belief in the existence of at least one deity.
Opposition: Theism = belief in the existence of at least one personal deity.

Comment: Most dictionaries have both definitions for theism.

Me: Theism is not specific to the characteristics of the god.
Opposition: No, Deism is not specific to the characteristic. Theism is specific to personal gods.
Me: "No longer interacts with the universe" IS a characterstic!!

Me: There is no need for the word adeist because atheism implies adeism..because deism is a subset of theism.
Opposition: Disagrees, and starts talking about the origin of the words.

Afterwards I made a thread where I polled everybody on the definition of theism they accept, and I think we got mixed results slightly in favor of my definition for theism.

Really it just depends on how you define theism, which I thought was universally understood as the definition I gave, but apparently there are people who disagree.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Adrianime's post
22-09-2014, 06:23 PM
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
Adrianime,

Thanks for the summary and link to your subsequent thread. I think I vaguely remember it now that you described it, but it was probably a thread that I didn't get too involved with - that happens a lot to me here because I don't have nearly the time to spend that I would like to and I end up skimming many threads and only really getting deeply involved in a few.

I looked around Google and saw the disagreement that is out there. I see some siding with your viewpoint and others more along the lines of what I was originally thinking the two terms mean. That's one of the problems with the internet. Too many people don't fully understand what they are talking about and much incorrect information gets disseminated. Before you know it, so many people believe the wrong definition that it actually can become an accepted definition. That may be what happened here.

From what I saw, deism arose as an alternative to theism because people were dissatisfied with Christianity and with the idea of a god that interacts with the universe. Before that, it seems that theism encompassed both interacting and not interacting, but more people tended to believe in the interacting side of it. So you very well may be right that deism is a subset of theism and maybe the idea of them being distinct arose as misinformation loosely based on the origin of deism coming from the need for an alternative to the interacting-god part of theism.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Impulse's post
22-09-2014, 06:47 PM
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
I prefer areligious. It's the most precise characterization.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2014, 11:03 PM
RE: Why I hate the word "non-theist"
I once coined the word "theity" on here and it got a good laugh. But I stand by it: Deism is the belief in a god who created everything but doesn't give a rat's ass about it or its inhabitants. So theism should be the belief in a theity who created everything and gives a rat's ass about everyone inside the creation.

Here's a link where I first coined it: http://aisforatheist.blogspot.com/2014/0...-term.html

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
----
Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes WillHopp's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: