Atheist, agnostic books will be distributed in Orange County high schools

Apr 29, 2013 Full story: Click Orlando 17

Representatives from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Central Florida Freethought Community will be "passively" distributing atheism, agnosticism and secular humanism materials to Orange County high school students on Thursday, according to officials.

Full Story

“My hand is over my crotch.”

Since: Jan 10

It's time to put it to use

#1 Apr 29, 2013
Atheists have the right to send missionaries as well.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#2 Apr 30, 2013
emperorjohn wrote:
Atheists have the right to send missionaries as well.
I think atheists should stop thinking of themselves as atheists. There's too much religion and superstition in the world without adopting its language.

“Live Love Laugh”

Since: Aug 07

Rings of Saturn Emporium

#3 Apr 30, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>I think atheists should stop thinking of themselves as atheists. There's too much religion and superstition in the world without adopting its language.
Why should people who don't believe in a deity stop calling themselves by a word which means that you don't believe in a deity?

What religion are you? Should you stop calling yourself by that name instead of doing so freely as the Constitution of this country allows?

Or do you just want people who believe differently than you to not use a word you don't like?

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#4 Apr 30, 2013
Recent history of lexicography is filled with instances where perfectly good descriptive words have been abandoned, usually for the sake of political correctness, in favor of a series of increasingly complicated substitutions. Let's not go down that road.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#5 Apr 30, 2013
water_nymph wrote:
<quoted text> Why should people who don't believe in a deity stop calling themselves by a word which means that you don't believe in a deity?
What religion are you? Should you stop calling yourself by that name instead of doing so freely as the Constitution of this country allows?
Or do you just want people who believe differently than you to not use a word you don't like?
Atheists don't 'believe' in the religious sense of the word and I'm uninterested in what religionists call themselves.

What I was trying to say was that it doesn't help non-believers to use religious language to describe oneself; and people often don't realise that atheism and secular are religious words in that they define a person in relation to religious beliefs.

It's too easy to fall into using religious language, e.g. saying Christian when one means moral,(e.g. wanton violence is not a Christian/Islamic/[insert religion] behavior).
Religion = superstition
Theology = mythology
Blasphemy = satire
Christian name = first name
Etc.

Atheism is an entirely negative term, but most atheists feel positive about themselves and it makes more sense to me to just see myself as a human or a person and ignore religious terms for me. They aren't relevant for me.

There are other non-religious descriptions to choose that might be more apt than atheist, such as humanist, skeptic, freethinker, rationalist, etc.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#6 Apr 30, 2013
There's nothing wrong in calling oneself atheist when that helps, of course, but when is that? And if people actually read my first post it will be observed that I wasn't talking about what people call themselves. I was talking about how one THINKS of oneself.

I think it is time humanity moved on from religion altogether, just as we have abandoned those of ancient Rome or Greece.

“Live Love Laugh”

Since: Aug 07

Rings of Saturn Emporium

#7 Apr 30, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>Atheists don't 'believe' in the religious sense of the word and I'm uninterested in what religionists call themselves.
What I was trying to say was that it doesn't help non-believers to use religious language to describe oneself; and people often don't realise that atheism and secular are religious words in that they define a person in relation to religious beliefs.
It's too easy to fall into using religious language, e.g. saying Christian when one means moral,(e.g. wanton violence is not a Christian/Islamic/[insert religion] behavior).
Religion = superstition
Theology = mythology
Blasphemy = satire
Christian name = first name
Etc.
Atheism is an entirely negative term, but most atheists feel positive about themselves and it makes more sense to me to just see myself as a human or a person and ignore religious terms for me. They aren't relevant for me.
There are other non-religious descriptions to choose that might be more apt than atheist, such as humanist, skeptic, freethinker, rationalist, etc.
I personally think you have been misinformed. What else would you call yourself if you are against theism? A-theism is a lack of theism. It is not a religious term. It is a statement about the person's lack of belief in the supernatural.
Also, atheism is not a negative term except to theists. We are talking about beliefs and non-beliefs, not about whether we are human or not. You included the words 'humanism and secularism' in your original post. Now you say that the word 'human' is satisfactory for you. If you can't use 'theism' in the word 'atheism', why would the word'human' be acceptable to you if you don't believe the word 'humanist' should be used?

Throwing a bunch of words together to suggest that others are using terms incorrectly and then using those same terms incorrectly when you write makes no sense to me.

Here are the top three definitions of the word humanist:

humanist &#8194;

1.
a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.
2.
a person devoted to or versed in the humanities.
3.
a student of human nature or affairs.

Do none of these words define what you mean when you say the word human describes you?

Do none of the meanings of the word 'secular' describe you in any way?

When speaking of 'religious' or 'atheist', each person is describing themselves in a way. If you have a problem with that, most words in the dictionary will be of no use to you.

“Live Love Laugh”

Since: Aug 07

Rings of Saturn Emporium

#8 Apr 30, 2013
EdSed wrote:
There's nothing wrong in calling oneself atheist when that helps, of course, but when is that? And if people actually read my first post it will be observed that I wasn't talking about what people call themselves. I was talking about how one THINKS of oneself.
I think it is time humanity moved on from religion altogether, just as we have abandoned those of ancient Rome or Greece.
You seem to think that 'atheism' is a negative word while atheists see themselves as positive. Yet here you advocate getting rid of religion altogether, which would make you atheist. Do you see the correlation there?
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9 Apr 30, 2013
water_nymph wrote:
<quoted text>
You seem to think that 'atheism' is a negative word while atheists see themselves as positive. Yet here you advocate getting rid of religion altogether, which would make you atheist. Do you see the correlation there?
Thanks for the replies. I don't think you comprehend what I'm saying.

“My hand is over my crotch.”

Since: Jan 10

It's time to put it to use

#10 Apr 30, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>I think atheists should stop thinking of themselves as atheists. There's too much religion and superstition in the world without adopting its language.
I don't see why atheists should do as you say. It just a word used to classify people just like saying teacher or politician. I suppose we can call ourselves people who don't believe in god, but who wants to read out a whole sentence when one words sums it up?

“My hand is over my crotch.”

Since: Jan 10

It's time to put it to use

#11 Apr 30, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>Atheists don't 'believe' in the religious sense of the word and I'm uninterested in what religionists call themselves.
What I was trying to say was that it doesn't help non-believers to use religious language to describe oneself; and people often don't realise that atheism and secular are religious words in that they define a person in relation to religious beliefs.
It's too easy to fall into using religious language, e.g. saying Christian when one means moral,(e.g. wanton violence is not a Christian/Islamic/[insert religion] behavior).
Religion = superstition
Theology = mythology
Blasphemy = satire
Christian name = first name
Etc.
Atheism is an entirely negative term, but most atheists feel positive about themselves and it makes more sense to me to just see myself as a human or a person and ignore religious terms for me. They aren't relevant for me.
There are other non-religious descriptions to choose that might be more apt than atheist, such as humanist, skeptic, freethinker, rationalist, etc.
Well we have too call ourselves something. The word humanists cannot be used because not all atheists are humanists
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#12 May 1, 2013
emperorjohn wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't see why atheists should do as you say. It just a word used to classify people just like saying teacher or politician. I suppose we can call ourselves people who don't believe in god, but who wants to read out a whole sentence when one words sums it up?
Thanks for the replies EJ. I'm certainly not making my point successfully.

If you think that you aren't unconsciously supporting religious faith by using its language and code, then carry-on. As I have made clear (as best I can), I'm not telling anyone to do anything. Nor am I telling anyone what to call themselves. I am offering the opinion that it is more constructive to think of oneself as a human or humanist than as an atheist - and choose one's words accordingly. If one does that, why would one call oneself atheist, agnostic or secular? It isn't that I deny being any or all of those. Nor do I object to being called any or all three. It's just that I don't see why non-believers need care about such terms and I think it unwittingly supports religionists to adopt their way of viewing people as having a 'set of beliefs' or 'a belief system'.

To achieve a world free of religious divisions, tribalism and dogma and without superstition, one must first imagine it. Then its language seems obsolete.

I don't know if that helps you, but the responses at least show me that my point either isn't understood or isn't very well received. I thought it would be but perhaps I'm mistaken.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#13 May 1, 2013
emperorjohn wrote:
<quoted text>
Well we have to call ourselves something. The word humanists cannot be used because not all atheists are humanists
That's why I suggested rationalist, skeptic, or simply a person or human. It seems to me we can all find some description more positive and secular than 'atheist'- I certainly wouldn't introduce myself as such, though as a description it might be fairly accurate.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#14 May 1, 2013
How about free-thinker, non-believer, naturalist, individiaulist..? The list seems extensive.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#15 May 1, 2013
And another thing I'm not clear about - when is an atheist not a humanist?
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/humanism
"A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth"

Most humanists aren't Humanists (capital H), but that is a different question.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#16 May 1, 2013
The problem that every replacement for "atheist" except for "non-believer" that I considered is that each adds a measure of meaning that excludes some of those who are currently included in the more generic term, which embraces the full range from the most lackadaisical "soft" agnostic-atheist to the the hardest-edged "strong" gnostic-atheist. As much as we'd like to think well of fellow atheists, not all are humanistic, skeptical, or even very rational. Some are just as looney as their most extreme counterparts among believers.

That's why we have such a long row to hoe if we want to rehabilitate "atheist" so that it fits the reality of the full range of our subpopulation. Not only does the word carry much baggage from having been defined by its adversaries for so long, we atheists ourselves have illusions about our group that we have to let go of. Until we let go of those notions that we are any better than the generality of humankind and others let go of those that we are any worse, the word will continue to be tinged with associations that do not match reality.

But we could try to replace "atheist" with "nonbeliever" within the atheistic component of our little forum and see what happens. It might be an interesting experiment.
Thinking

London, UK

#17 May 2, 2013
The flaw in the word Atheist is that one definition is the fundamentally irrational position that there couldn't possibly be some form of deity hiding somewhere. This definition is often used to smear the majority.

Non believer seems much less ambiguous.
NightSerf wrote:
The problem that every replacement for "atheist" except for "non-believer" that I considered is that each adds a measure of meaning that excludes some of those who are currently included in the more generic term, which embraces the full range from the most lackadaisical "soft" agnostic-atheist to the the hardest-edged "strong" gnostic-atheist. As much as we'd like to think well of fellow atheists, not all are humanistic, skeptical, or even very rational. Some are just as looney as their most extreme counterparts among believers.
That's why we have such a long row to hoe if we want to rehabilitate "atheist" so that it fits the reality of the full range of our subpopulation. Not only does the word carry much baggage from having been defined by its adversaries for so long, we atheists ourselves have illusions about our group that we have to let go of. Until we let go of those notions that we are any better than the generality of humankind and others let go of those that we are any worse, the word will continue to be tinged with associations that do not match reality.
But we could try to replace "atheist" with "nonbeliever" within the atheistic component of our little forum and see what happens. It might be an interesting experiment.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Atheism Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Atheists Aren't the Problem, Christian Intolera... 2 min ChristineM 2,312
Atheism requires as much faith as religion? (Jul '09) 31 min Thinking 232,919
Yes, atheists can be fundamentalists 3 hr Thinking 3
A New Kinder, Gentler Atheism 3 hr TheHeadlines 145
Is 'naturalism' a bleak philosophical outlook? ... 12 hr Mikko 2
Christians More Supportive of Torture Than Non-... 13 hr Thinking 3
Atheism to Defeat Religion by 2038 (Apr '12) Sat polymath257 23,199
More from around the web