Another word needed
Posted: 09 February 2017 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4335
Joined  2014-06-20

I came across a website recently that used the word non-belief (and non-believer) when referring to my or anyone else’s position on a god or god-like figure (or even an “intelligent designer”)—though it is a commonly used term. I and others who have no belief in god have used the term on many occasions, usually for lack of a better word, but it suddenly occurred to me that there is a good argument that there is something fundamentally wrong with it—at least from the standpoint of those of us who have no positive belief in a god or designer of any description.  Non-belief implies that theistic belief is the accepted standard and non-belief is a deviation from it. To my mind, that gives a lot of unearned and undeserved credit to the belief position. In fact, the word atheist does the same thing. It implies that theist is the accepted standard and atheist is a deviation from it.

I’m not sure if there is another word to use that is positive and not negative and doesn’t imply a deviant position. “Freethinker” and “rationalist” may be the best of a bad lot, but they are problematical, too. Neither specifically addresses the existence of a god (or non-existence, but there we go again with a deviation from the implied norm), many people don’t know the actual definition of either word and both terms have been corrupted.  I wonder if others here have any suggestions for a word that describes the “atheistic”  position without the implication that it’s a deviation from a norm. Any ideas? I fear we may have to use “free thinker” or “rationalist” with the burden of having to define it almost every time we use it, in the hopes that it will eventually seep into the vernacular.

Any opinions or suggestions will be appreciated.

Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 February 2017 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6640
Joined  2007-10-05

Choose any other word and we’ll have to define it any time we use it until it gets into the common vernacular. Most people’s default position is a god exists and they cannot imagine anyone thinking otherwise. The only common word to describe nonbelievers is atheist, and for the believers that word has bad connotations.

 Signature 

You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 February 2017 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1577
Joined  2012-04-25

You hit on what has always been my complaint about the Do You Believe In God question. It’s really saying, God Exists, and do you believe in him. Bad question. And of course what the really real meaning behind the question is, in the US at least, are you a christian. Maybe a better way to talk is to ask Do you believe in Nature? Or does nature exist? Or maybe Do you believe there’s something outside of Nature that exists? And some who believes is called a Naturalist, and someone who believes otherwise is called an Unnaturalist.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 March 2017 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2017-03-06
LoisL - 09 February 2017 02:09 PM

Non-belief implies that theistic belief is the accepted standard and non-belief is a deviation from it. To my mind, that gives a lot of unearned and undeserved credit to the belief position. In fact, the word atheist does the same thing. It implies that theist is the accepted standard and atheist is a deviation from it.

 

That’s because theism is the standard.
Atheists have to deal with it.

Some tried to get the coinage “brights” accepted… kinda backfired.

LoisL - 09 February 2017 02:09 PM

Any opinions or suggestions will be appreciated.

 

How about “anti-bull”?

(I’m new, so I don’t know if I can use naughtier words)


smile

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2017 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  237
Joined  2012-07-13

I am happy with the term ‘atheist’.  Since most people are theists, ‘atheist’ is both necessary and perfectly defines us.  It might give too much credit to the theist position, but that’s impossible to avoid.  ‘Brights’ was an attempt to coin a term that put us on equal ground with theists, but atheists are a tough bunch to rally (herding cats is often heard when trying to do so), so it was a short-lived experiment that fizzled out with no one noticing.  Also, with a new/different term, you’d have to define it to people all the time, and that makes you look like a weirdo creating a special name for yourself. 

Saying your an atheist lets people know you’re not ashamed of the fact you disagree with the majority of people.  I’m a quiet and friendly person, and when people find out I’m an atheist I am often the first one they’ve met (they’ve obviously met many, but I’m the first to tell them).  Since I’m polite and have an honest interest in discussing different beliefs, they inevitably leave with the fact that atheists are decent people and not SJW’s or militant or Satanists. 

If you give the term ‘atheist’ a good name, it will get a good reputation.

 Signature 

It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.  Edmund Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2017 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2017-03-06
3point14rat - 08 March 2017 10:22 AM

I am happy with the term ‘atheist’.  Since most people are theists, ‘atheist’ is both necessary and perfectly defines us.  It might give too much credit to the theist position, but that’s impossible to avoid.  ‘Brights’ was an attempt to coin a term that put us on equal ground with theists, but atheists are a tough bunch to rally (herding cats is often heard when trying to do so), so it was a short-lived experiment that fizzled out with no one noticing.  Also, with a new/different term, you’d have to define it to people all the time, and that makes you look like a weirdo creating a special name for yourself. 

Saying your an atheist lets people know you’re not ashamed of the fact you disagree with the majority of people.  I’m a quiet and friendly person, and when people find out I’m an atheist I am often the first one they’ve met (they’ve obviously met many, but I’m the first to tell them).  Since I’m polite and have an honest interest in discussing different beliefs, they inevitably leave with the fact that atheists are decent people and not SJW’s or militant or Satanists. 

If you give the term ‘atheist’ a good name, it will get a good reputation.

Yeah, like the gays who went before us.. let’s COME OUT.
Atheist doesn’t have to be a dirty word any more.

smile

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 March 2017 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2016-11-29

Atheism is colloquially a swearword. This is a result of McCartheism and the challenge to communism. That religion and economics have gotten scrambled within our propaganda machine would explain a lot. Still, publicly we know that religion is no longer very relevant. Well, amongst the spooks and moles this may not be the case. They are the control freaks who have been twisting the world up. Some are sadists who get off torturing their enemies. But you see that would be embedded in an assumption of what good and evil are; one defensible by an old book of old beliefs. I don’t think the youth are buying into that crap anymore. Plus there’s a reformist Pope that has a lot of the zealots left scratching their heads.

More to your point of awareness: In the ideal atheist world the term ‘god’ would not carry any heavy connotation and might not even exist. Again though in common verbal intercourse it does not show up in American society, so we may as well admit that we are essentially atheistic now. That’s a bit broad, but I think from my own local experience it holds. The holdouts do still exist and a mere five percent of the population can be responsible for a movement. Doesn’t help when the Trump cabinet all line up to the cross. The military Christian identity is still there too, but I suspect it is fading out. Don’t have much proof there though, and maybe it will be inflamed via the Islamic movement, but when the Abrahamic religions are exposed as branches then I believe we can anticipate that an atheist movement will be successful and can still tolerate the Abrahamics, though they really keep asking to be marginalized further. We exist in a technocracy now and technology has always been the ultimate distinguishing factor of the human state.

LoisL - 09 February 2017 02:09 PM

I came across a website recently that used the word non-belief (and non-believer) when referring to my or anyone else’s position on a god or god-like figure (or even an “intelligent designer”)—though it is a commonly used term. I and others who have no belief in god have used the term on many occasions, usually for lack of a better word, but it suddenly occurred to me that there is a good argument that there is something fundamentally wrong with it—at least from the standpoint of those of us who have no positive belief in a god or designer of any description.  Non-belief implies that theistic belief is the accepted standard and non-belief is a deviation from it. To my mind, that gives a lot of unearned and undeserved credit to the belief position. In fact, the word atheist does the same thing. It implies that theist is the accepted standard and atheist is a deviation from it.

I’m not sure if there is another word to use that is positive and not negative and doesn’t imply a deviant position. “Freethinker” and “rationalist” may be the best of a bad lot, but they are problematical, too. Neither specifically addresses the existence of a god (or non-existence, but there we go again with a deviation from the implied norm), many people don’t know the actual definition of either word and both terms have been corrupted.  I wonder if others here have any suggestions for a word that describes the “atheistic”  position without the implication that it’s a deviation from a norm. Any ideas? I fear we may have to use “free thinker” or “rationalist” with the burden of having to define it almost every time we use it, in the hopes that it will eventually seep into the vernacular.

Any opinions or suggestions will be appreciated.

Lois

Profile