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Author Topic: Reject "atheist" label

Posts: 1007
Reject "atheist" label
on: October 26, 2019, 15:24

Readers here will be familiar with the fact that 'atheism' and 'atheist' are theological terms for disbelief and non-believers in gods. There are no words for other non-believers, such as disbelief in witches or in astrology as they don't threaten religion like disbelief in god(s).

There was an interesting article in the Economist Magazine last week (19 Oct issue) about home schooling in China. In it was the sentence "Chinese schools promote atheism". Really? Surely all that is necessary to "promote atheism" is to do what all schools do regarding witchcraft and soothsaying - that is to not promote them.

Of course it must be recognised that the Chinese government suppress all religions that don't support Chinese nationalism and the Communist Party of China (CPC), but that is because the CPC suppress everything that doesn't support nationalism and the CPC. Chinese schools do not promote or teach atheism, they suppress religion and the difference is very important. The CPC suppress all superstitions whereas western schools don't overtly regard belief in gods as superstitions.

The point here is that I often feel non-believers shoot ourselves in the foot when we do not realise that religious and theological terms condition people's speech and so, indirectly, condition one's thinking. The (anonymous) Economist writer is obviously partly unaware of the implication of what he wrote due to that conditioning.

The only way to oppose this effect of theological and religious terms is to not use them and point out what is wrong with them when they are used. So, I have a first or given name, not a Christian name. I am not 'an atheist' because that is sometimes seen to imply a dogma or creed taught in place of a religion. I simply don't believe any of the gods and 'higher powers' currently defined. This is why I would prefer AtheismUK to be HumanismUK, or some other title free of theology. I understand AtheismUK is a help from the point of view that some non-believers don't identify as humanist, but our name is self-impeding by using a theological term. Folk need to be aware of that.

Posts: 35
Re: Reject "atheist" label
on: October 27, 2019, 10:50

Hi Alcuin,
please explain why you think the name of AtheismUK is 'self-impeding'.

Posts: 1007
Re: Reject "atheist" label
on: October 27, 2019, 11:03

If my first post above doesn't explain it, I don't know how to do that. We are using the language that conditions people to see atheism as some sort of 'alternative belief'.

steven k-
Posts: 19
Re: Reject "atheist" label
on: January 8, 2020, 10:41

You make a good point. "Athiesm " is seen as very threatening in the eyes of believers and implies to them a host of negative qualities including immorality, communism, evil, weirdness, and so on. Better to just explain " I'm yet to be convinced" on the existence of an all seeing all knowing omnipotent immortal all powerful personal God who is invisible .

Three Legs-
and a-
Posts: 45
Re: Reject "atheist" label
on: March 1, 2020, 19:31

Does it really matter what believers think of Atheists?

Let's face it. If someone wants to believe in some deity or other based on, er, well, nothing whatsoever, who gives a flying fart what believers think, because, actually, if someone believes in a load of nonsense based on sod all, they can hardly claim that they actually 'think".

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