Many atheists find it unpleasant and sometimes don't want to openly and proudly categorize themselves as atheists when asked. Some prefer to use the words humanists spiritualist non believer non religious etc. In many occasions the word Atheist is considered offensive. If we atheists have to label ourselves , what is the preferred terminology?
I am just so happy to be living in a day and age where there is a web site and others (like you guys that have prevented me from feeling isolated or crazy for my forward thinking. Growing up in an over zealous, obscessed Christian family, I noticed that I played these tapes over and over and didn’t realize how strongly it affected my self esteem, my everyday thoughts, “Just give it god and it will work out”. “Because you’re a sinner...that’s why you didn’t get the job..the college.... the (whatever) ..give it to god and everything will be ok”, “Pray hard and god will change you”. On and on and on ! UGH!! What a crock. I don’t think, until recently, we realize how damaging the Christian religion is to ones psych day in and day out. It is an evil, prejudice, hypocritical, bigoted, and self defeating religion. Being able to express being atheist, and proud of it is awesome...we’ve come a long way baby !!!!
As a Canadian, the question of religion is very seldom a topic. We don't discuss it. In fact I can't remember the last time I discussed it with anyone other than close family. I do tend to use the reference 'secular humanist' as it is more description of me and my values. With people on this forum I have no problems saying that I'm an atheist. In the past I've always avoided trying to make people wince by saying to a believer that I'm an 'atheist. So, rather than labelling myself I have said, ' I'm not much for religion' or 'I'm not that interested in religion.'. I'm always concerned that for some people 'atheist' is a bit of a blunt instrument. Overly empathic i guess.
I am proud of my atheism...tho some people work hard to make it ugly...in recent years, my home state of Utah, has erected large metal crosses alongside the roadway, where a Highway Patrol Trooper has lost their life...shows their name and end of duty date. In my opinion a couple local members of an Atheist group, went to court and sued as promoting a religion and therefore should be moved off public land. Well there are extremists in all groups, and I call out that they are not promoting a religion, but rather honoring one who gave their life for the public safety...but then again, common sense is becoming less valued in time...
I would call us the "uninfected."
Personally, I consider myself an out in the open Atheist that does not hide from the label. The way I look at it is if someone doesn't like that term then I might be a bit of an asshole and say right out that I really don't care what they think.
I just figure that there are religious people out there who will never try to stop and understand us or where we come from and I figure why bother when you know you might never be capable of saying or doing anything that will ever be able to please them?
no one uses the word spiritualist in lieu of atheist. the two words are nowhere near one another in definition. as for what an atheist prefers to be called, it depends on the the particular atheist. some don't care to be called anything at all. if someone wants to refer to my lack of theism, i prefer atheist. i am one person. some may feel as i do and others may not. there is no one preferred terminology. but i guarantee you that even if there was one, it would not be spiritualist.
The thing is, the word atheist is entirely reliant on religion existing. I'm also an aunicornist (a-unicorn-ist) too, but so are (most) religious people. Humanist, secularist, and other terms have more utility and provide better context. The title atheist is mostly meaningless to me... buddhists are technically atheists too, but they also follow a dogma. Atheism, by default does not make you anything other than a person that doesn't believe in god(s).
Personally, i identify as an anti-theist because it provides stronger context for my beliefs.
BUT, with that said, i will say i'm an atheist if the topic of religion comes up... to which i will usually clarify that i am a secular humanist... simply because it's easier than having to go into my entire backstory just to explain why i'm an anti-theist.
I am an atheist, and prefer that term to any euphemism or run-around term. That said, I rarely openly announce that I am an atheist, as I have found that there are far too many intolerant, judgmental, and biased people. I don't shy away from the subject, yet I prefer to avoid conflict and dealing with holier-than-thou religious people...
I prefer "atheist", because it's honest; It's a word that already carries the correct meaning. We can change it, just as "bum" became "hobo", and is now "homeless". But by admitting that this is the word with the correct meaning and it is not inherently offensive, we help keep it from being demonized more than it already is. I hope we will allow it to stick by showing that we're not strictly bad or hateful people, rather than inventing a new term that will become just as unpopular.
a person who believes that the spirits of the dead can communicate with living people.
"he became an ardent spiritualist, attending seances and insisting on their authenticity"
an advocate of the doctrine that the spirit exists as distinct from matter, or that spirit is the only reality.
"a nondenominational spiritualist"
relating to the belief that the spirits of the dead can communicate with living people.
"spiritualist mediums who claim to be able to contact the dead"
I am very happy with the title of "a" (not) "theist" = atheist, as to be a theist requires faith (belief without evidence).
As I value truth supported by demonstrable facts, and theists must use faith to support their god assertion theists do not value truth supported by testable facts, to not be an atheist is a title I would not like.
There's a time and a place for any label. If I'm up for a fight, I'll answer that I'm an atheist. If I'm not in the mood, I'll weasel around it. Like nonreligious or something more specific like how I don't let any religion get in the way with my relationship with God.
I'm tempted to check out the Buddhist temple. Might be some good advice there, and theists don't tend to have an issue with Buddhism. I mean, aside from the rabid theists, but there's no pleasing those people.
Being referred to as an atheist is more of a semantic thing for me, I'm not exactly a non believer in god or gods any more than I'm a non-stamp collector I just can't see any rationality in, or viable reason to think there's any such thing as a he she or it thing often referred to as a god in the first place to not believe in.
The above is my reason for not being particularly keen on being referred to as an atheist, it's not an accurate description of my stance on this subject where as I am a non-religious person but then having said that lot it doesn't phase, (bother), me that much if I'm referred to as an atheist.
I live here in the U K so there's no need for me to have any reason to worry what anyone else thinks about my non belief in any of the religions, if anyone is offended because I'm not a religious person, well that's for them to worry about, not me.
I think it depends on your country. I proudly proclaim my atheism and no one is particularly interested. Someone asked me recently how i can be so sure and thus not be agnostic. I enjoy a good debate. In my country it's more weird for someone to come out and say "I'm a christian" People might say 'I'm catholic' but that is more a cultural identity than any personal relationship with god.
However despite all this we have got an unelected prime minister who is a born again christian. He gets a lot of flack from the media over his beliefs. I'll be glad when next election comes around and he is ousted.