I don't know about the rest of you but I am of the mind that Atheism needs a new definition. I think we need to get away from the word "BELIEF" as much as humanly possible. Belief for us I think sends the wrong connotation and message because "RELIGION" is far too closely, attached to the word as well. "Belief, and Religion" are semantical cousins when it comes to how people interpret their meanings...no matter how many times you try and use the standard cold definition of each word. I think we need a new way to define atheism in a very short concise sentence as much as possible.

The definition of Atheism as it currently stands is as follows; Atheism: "The BELIEF that there is no GOD; DENIAL of the existence of a supreme being.

Atheist: A person who BELIEVES there is no god.

You do see the inherent problems with the words contained in these definitions?

They suggest that WE as ATHEIST's are simply in denial that there is a GOD.

First, I do not think any of us DENY there is a GOD. We state there is NO GOD. PERIOD.

We simply have not been convinced there has been any empirical, logical, or physical evidence proving the existence of a supernatural deity that is the existential driving force behind existence of the universe and mankind.

So my new definition of ATHEISM goes as follows:

ATHEISM: the stated contention that there is no empirical, logical, or physical evidence proving the existence of any supernatural deity that is the existential driving force behind the existence of the universe and mankind.

In my view...my definition lends far more credence to our hold that ATHEISM is more philosophy than religion. And like I said it eliminated the words commonly associated with religious minded persons. So that when you state your an ATHEIST and defend it...you don't use the word BELIEF. Because this to me is where the battleground truly is in society. Because the idea itself, the concept simply while it is the most fundamental and important..is just not how humans interpret and think about such matters. Different words true do not always convey different meaning because they are dependent on context...but different words convey different connotations different thoughts..different arguments..and may thusly lead people to new ways of thinking about religion/GOD. Which is what I think our point is...THINK. JUST THINK. That's all we want you to do, THINK. No more no less, you don't have to get up off the couch.

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I have no problem calling myself an Atheist because I'm simply stating I do not believe in falsities, rather I am a rationalist.

Like Ted stated it is a good conversation stopper when confronted by a fanatic and an intelligent person usually has a general understanding of what the term means.
I disagree with Sam Harris on that point. Atheists is what we are, period. It's to me not like not wanting to call a spade a spade. Your an Atheist. Done. Constantly trying to cower and hide about what we are, how we think, and what our basis is for the decision to have lead to one's atheism needs to be said and dare I say, celebrated. The more we keep running from what we are...we cannot solidify a position and fight back in what will become perhaps the greatest intellectual conflict in human history between reason and religion.
A lack of belief in something doesn't make you who you are. What you believe in contributes to what you are. You are are also an "afariest." Why not celebrate that? Is that what defines you, your afariesm? Are you running from your "afariesm?" Of course not, it too, is an unneeded term. We can have a individual term for every individual thing we don't believe exist. The list would be endless. Is this list of things we don't believe in what defines us? Of course not.

Atheism doesn't reflect something you are, it reflects something you are not. You are not a theist. Atheism is an absense of theism. It is of no substance by itself. The things that led you to not being a theist may have been of substance that contributes to what you "are" but these things are not atheism.
Then it sounds like the term should be "anti-theist"
There is a distinction between a-theist and anti-theist. Sounds like you are more concerned with your position as an "anti-theist."
Andre M Smith Jr: "I disagree with Sam Harris on that point. Atheists is what we are, period. It's to me not like not wanting to call a spade a spade. Your an Atheist. Done."

You can be an atheist and not be a freethinker. Examples: Mao and Stalin. Atheism is a pigeonhole, not broad enough for me.
Changing the definition of atheism isn't going to change how a person views an atheist.

So what is the point of changing it?
The whole issue with this thread is not about the definition of atheism, it's fine. It's the definition of religion which has to get another connotation. If we see religion as a mere umbrella term explaining peoples impression of the spiritual world (notice how i phrase that sentence as it does include a lack of belief of the spiritual) then I see no problem with the definition of atheism. Quite surprised no one actually mentioned this earlier in this thread.
But really, just because you "lack" something doesn't necessarily mean that it must follow that you also crave that in which you are lacking.

I lack a criminal history. Does that imply that I also wish I had a criminal history. Of course not.
Is that a common statement, "I lack a criminal history"? List for me all the instances in common speech where one states they lack something they don't want.
It doesn't matter if it is a common statement or not, what matters is what "lack" implies when it is used.

I sometimes hear people say they "lack motivation to...," yet it doesn't necessarily imply that they "want motivation to..."




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