reply to post by LesMisanthrope
Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
...when we describe ourselves as atheist, we always do so in a religious context, therefore, atheism is a religious stance.
I agree that it's usually
in a religious context. I only mention atheism when someone asks about my belief in God, though (or in response to
the use of the word). If they ask what religion I am, I say I don't practice religion. The belief in the existence of God (theism) is separate from
the practice of any one of the world's religions. Many, who once called themselves Christians, don't practice ANY religion, yet they believe in God.
And many practice religions but don't believe in God. (Buddhists, for example.) The two are usually
intertwined in most of the world's larger
religions, but not necessarily. The words atheism and theism are SPECIFIC to a belief in the existence of a god.
In my experience of talking with people, atheism is assumed to be a "religious" expression. But I actually try NOT to confuse the two. Religion is
an entirely different subject, to me. But you think of theism as a religious stance. Thanks for the explanation.
Why don't we become truly godless, and step outside the religious circle where atheism resides, and denounce also atheism.
That's certainly an option that one is free to take. And if that is your choice, I understand it and support you in it. However, religion happens to
be one of my favorite topics. (Politics is another, but the season for that is over right now.) I was raised in an extremely religious home and I know
a LOT about it. It's ingrained in our society and I actually have views about various religions, although I practice none.
When do we label ourselves as atheist? Only when we have a need to quantify ourselves in relation to religion.
I only use the word atheist in relation to the belief in deities. On a form or census - when asked my religious affiliation - I write "none".
Therefore, atheism is a religious opinion, position or stance, which forces one to sometimes remain religious, or fanatical, or dogmatic, or
ideological in order maintain it.
As I said much earlier, SOME are dogmatic about their atheistic beliefs. Some have weekly meetings and scientific speakers and try to duplicate the
church environment and make their life about atheism. I don't. These 'militant atheists' practice atheism in a religious context. But they
represent a small portion of the atheist population and are the proverbial "squeaky wheels". Most of us just live our lives, not caring about what
others think or believe. Your response in the OP is to the minority of atheists, who think it's important that others know and respect and
I couldn't care less if someone respects my beliefs. Chances are, I don't respect their beliefs at all, but I respect their RIGHT to have them. I
don't argue religions or even the existence of God. That's a personal choice and none of my business.
My argument is, why don't we leave religion altogether, turn our backs on it and walk away, lead by example and not rhetoric?
I have. Only when it's 'in my face' do I comment on it. Most of us (atheists) on ATS are not starting threads in the religious forum, because we
don't think it's a religious subject and we don't care about taking a stand on it. You could have put this in the Philosophy forum, but YOU think
of atheism as a religious stance, so you put it here. Not all of us think of it that way. But I understand how you see it.
When someone asks us: "Are you atheist?" rather than say yes, we should say "No, I'm not religious," thereby cleansing ourselves all stigma that
the label 'atheist' carries with it, eliminating thousands of years of baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds performed by other
atheists that come with such a label.
Compare the label "feminist".
There's enough stigma, baggage, assumptions, misrepresentations, and misdeeds associated with that label to fill
large a truck! It's been made into a 'bad word'. But just because people have contorted its meaning, that doesn't mean that I am no longer a
feminist (One who wants equal opportunity, rights and legal treatment for women and men.) I won't just discard the label because people have stupidly
or purposely distorted it for their own needs. And that's just my stubbornness, I'm sure.