As atheists, lets make the 'ism' of atheism obsolete

I get really fed up of the word atheism. I do not follow any atheism guide, for none exists, I do not follow any atheism dogma, for none exists, I do not follow any atheism manifesto, for none exists. In essence there really is no such thing as atheism. I am atheistic, I was born and raised without the crap of supernatural belief systems.


In Wiktionary, item 3 places the ism of atheism in a category with "overtones of dogma".


It's up to us atheists to encourage the obsolescence of the word, since it is based on falsities, just as the N word was eventually dropped from most reasonable language. Sometimes language self-corrects as the decades roll along, sometimes language needs a little help. Atheism is pushed upon atheists by the religious majorities of the world with the sole purpose of bad-mouthing us. Let's stop it.


Atheism is nothing, we atheists are by no means homogeneous at all as a group. Most of our character is determined by our upbringing during our formative youth years. Atheists are all over the place philosophically, economically, politically, spiritually (gag), many atheists even chose to not even dump the religious values pushed upon us for 20 centuries.


Edit: To be clearer, my gripe is not with the root of the word, I am absolutely fine with the atheos component... it is the "ism" component, the doctrine, the philosophy, it is an etymological issue.

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"atheists do no "follow" anything."

That's not true. All atheists are human, and all humans have beliefs.

If you're going to argue that people should use words intelligently, you should do likewise.

Otherwise, people might assume that you are trying to load 'atheist' with your own radical and bitter individualism.

Beliefs without evidence are foolish. Opinions based on evidence are worth discussing, an opinion remains just that, an opinion. You want to bring beliefs into this... frankly, I'm not impressed.

I'm not 'loading' the word atheist, I'm proposing the opposite, that we consider unloading atheism, by dismissing it.

Sorry, I should have said "all atheists are human, and all humans have a value system" instead of beliefs.

Yes I know you want to unload atheism, which is fair enough, but "atheists do not follow anything" indicates you also want to unload atheist.

It's a trivial debate about word choice anyway. All atheists have values and who really cares if they use the word atheism when they really mean humanism? Everybody knows what they mean.

So, given your radical and bitter individualism, I presume you are really objecting to humanist groupthink, rather than wordchoice. So it sounds like you're trying to stamp out humanist groupthink rather than correct people's wordchoice.

Wordchoice or radical individualism: you should make it clear what you are arguing for.

Well that's because you, as a few others, confound the definitions of humanism with being an atheist. They are by no means one and the same. If some atheists want to call themselves Humanists, fine, that's their prerogative, but to assume that all atheists are Humanists makes no sense at all. Humanism was in its infancy strictly Christian, over the decades, some Humanists started to part ways with godly thoughts, now Humanism generally has the same value system as Christianity, but god is less popular still, though there are still plenty of Humanist Christians, just as there agnostic Christians.

You call me radical... I say thank you

You say bitter... I say realist

But please, do not confound Humanism with all things atheist.

Like I stated a few times... atheist I have absolutely to problem with, but atheism represents nothing that is definable as a whole.

Now you are loading humanism with fashionable liberal values. That's ironic, given your insistence on proper word choice.

Humanism just means human-centred. This is how most people understand it. People don't know the history of the word humanism. I don't even know it.

So why insist that atheism be value-free, yet humanism be value-laden? You are inconsistent.

For an atheist to be non-humanist, well I don't see how that's possible for sane people.

AC Grayling: "Humanism in the modern sense of the word is the view that whatever your ethical system, it derives from your best understanding of human nature and the human condition in the real world".

That's all humanism is, it broadly ecompasses any human acting out of self interest.

You're a hypocrite if you load humanism with a liberal value system. Humanists can be liberal, conservative, or nihilists like yourself. You are a nihilist humanist.

Humanism is an OFFICIAL thought movement. It has a manifesto, in fact, the official Humanist organisations have now gone through three manifestos. You may want to Google and read them. I did not 'invent' those manifestos, they've existed for quite some years, and I'm especially not in favour of any value system which prioritises human numbers versus a balanced view of humans within the earth's ecosystems.


Have you noticed how I'm able to remain polite even though you have for the last couple of posts made personal attacks? Calling me hypocrite does not reflect well on your contributions here I'm afraid.

I called you a hypocrite because you are inconsistent.

You want a literal use of the word atheism, but not a literal use of the word humanism.

I know some humanist organisations have manifestos but, as I said, that is not how everyday people understand the word humanism.

Ask a man on the street what humanism means and they will say: human centred, or acting out of self interest, or concern for humans in general. Few will actually know about the manifestos.

Do you know there are conservative humanists out there who reject the utopic one-worldism of "official" humanism?

So really you are fighting a paper tiger. The "official" humanist manifestos are not representative of the entire public.

You have unecessarily surrendered the word humanism when you should reclaim it for yourself. Humanism can be interpreted in many different shades, and you should simply advocate your own humanist interpretation. As of now, you merely have a negative argument without defining what you DO stand for. Being someone who says "no" to everything is merely being a rebel without a cause. That's hardly a way to bolster your view.
@emo ... Well there you go, at least you've admitted to rejecting 'official' Humanism for yourself and living your own personal definition of humanism (notice H to h). As for atheism (notice small a), there is no and never has been any 'official' ism. Never have a atheists sat together and decided on a manifesto or any value system. So there is no concept to reject. Since there is no concept to reject, I simply suggest dropping the word altogether. And no, I'll never value anything that is anthropocentric.

"atheists do no "follow" anything."


I think you are taking this sentence out of context. 


Again, I assume he is saying 'atheists as a group do not follow any one doctrine'. By reading everything before the sentence and everything after the sentence, I am able to understand what he means by it. 


I wonder if I am right here?


And again, maybe TNT needs to clear this up a bit and re-explain his position.


If we got rid of the "ism" at the end, I'm not sure what we'd replace it with. I always thought of it as just a form of the word "atheist" that we kept around for reasons of proper english that I didn't pay enough attention in class to expound upon.

I really think it only has world-view associations because theists have such a difficult time wrapping their brains around the god concept (or in our case, the lack of one) not being the foundation that lives are built upon.

It doesn't seem to be a problem that can't be remedied with a metric ton of repetition that atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods, period. Otherwise we're looking at reducing theists to the same frequency as bigfoot believers. Which I wouldn't object to. I think the former suggestion is more reasonably attainable.

Yes, well IMO atheist  is sufficient nomenclature, we don't need any ism word, for we don't ascribe to anything, which is our very principal :)

The "ism" isn't what signifies adherence to a specific set of ideas though. That's just the term itself. And the term is just a short-hand for an idea.


For instance, the word accupuncturist is used, but the word accupuncturism is not (which is what you suggest should happen with atheist-atheism). Does that make us think as accupuncturist as people who do not adhere to specific (and kooky) doctrines about health and metaphysics? Nope, we still think of them that way, despite the ism.

And for people who believe in the Norse gods, there's not even a word. Yet if I met a group of them, it would be perfectly clear to me that they ascribed to certain myths and legends; and I wouldn't need to call them Norsists or adherents of Norsism for that.


So if you want to stop using the term atheism, but will still use the term atheist... I doubt that's going to have much effect.


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