In one recent discussion, a good lady, Dogly, said this about me:

“It is just that Madhukar seems to be trying to find a common set of beliefs or opinions among us all. I'm trying to convince him that that is impossible.”

Earlier, she had hardly participated in the several discussions posted by me but seems to have observed me from distance, because her observation is accurate.

My reply was obvious:

“I do not, cannot and will not deny that I would be very happy to evolve some commonalities in atheist character,”

I feel most annoyed when an atheist says that ‘atheism is nothing more and nothing less than not believing in god.’ I also find some opposition to me when I say that atheism is an ideal. This may be a result of a fear that calling atheism an ideal will turn it into an ideology, which, indeed, is to be feared! However, there is some difference between an ideal and ideology. To me, atheism is an ideal that every intellectual should try to achieve. Attaining this ideal would be the best proof of an intellectual’s intellectualism. This is supported by the result of a recent discussion that finally seems to have established that atheism is based on knowledge and not on ignorence.

Likewise, I strongly believe that there should be something like an “Atheist Identity” that should distinguish an atheist from the rest of the people, by his character. The religious faithful often try to say that being an atheist is being immoral. Why should anyone try to attach such labels to us? Why should it not be obvious to others that being an atheist gives some good attributes to one’s personality?

Aren’t there enough good qualities that all atheists can posses and that can be attributed to atheism? Whatever be the answer, it will not deter me from finding such a common character.

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Replies to This Discussion


Tom Fant

I really do not know from where do peope get ideas that are not even in my mind. I am not searching for an ideal atheist. My post is very clear about it. I just want to find if atheists can have some good common attributes. Kindly let me know if you have something on this line.

Atheists don't believe in god. That's it. If you want to find commonality, you'll have to look to another secular philosophy such as humanism for solidarity.

David Philip Norris

You may like or not like my idea, you may agree with it or may not, but you and others have to get away for a moment from set thinking, for a moment, to understand my idea. Just for example, some persons have said that I should join a group with attributes of my choice. Thinking just a little further, if there are several groups that have accepted some attributes, why should it be impossible to find some attributes that could be common to all atheists. One question one may ask oneself is that '"Is it possible that in the future, near or distant, atheists may require to have some commanality? If there is a very remote possibility, then why not start thinking about it now?"

I am not looking for any philosophy.

Madhukar, you are going to find yourself very lonely and no closer to what you seem to be looking for if you continue going about this in this way. At best you'll find yourself in an ivory tower. At worst, you'll have alienated all of the atheist friends you seem to be seeking to unite. So many have responded on this threat with this similar theme, that there is essentially one common attribute amongst atheists (that being the non-belief in god), that it's practically redundant to restate it. It's not that what you're looking for is impossible to find; it's just not practical.

When the Romans were besieging Masada, they faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle: the sheer cliff face protecting the Jewish fortress. Instead of going at the problem directly, the commander Lucius Flavius Silva built a siege embankment that led up to the top. The Roman soldiers then simply marched to the top. What happened after that is of historical debate; but the point is, this quest of yours is quixotic at best.

Your end goal of building community is admirable (and no one's saying that it's not), but you're making it much harder than it needs to be.


a·the·ism, noun. The theory or belief that God does not exist.

That's all she wrote.

David Philip Norris

At worst, you'll have alienated all of the atheist friends you seem to be seeking to unite

This is simply astonishing. How and why should any one get alienated because of differences of opinion? I never offend anyone by using any bad word too. If a mere discussion offends anyone then so be it. I am not trying to achieve anything because I know that I do not posses power to inspire. If at all, it is me who has any reason to complain, that everybody seems to be attaching some motive to what I say, many find a meaning that is not there and also give advice that is incorrect. Have you seen above that someone talked about me as being from a small place, needing some company etc? I have maintained my composure despite attempts to disturb me. Now if people do not like a discussion and want to feel offended, well.....

I have replied to some of your comments above. Have I used any offensive argument or language. Please let me know. If not, let us continue discussion, I have something to say to you.

If at all, it is me who has any reason to complain, that everybody seems to be attaching some motive to what I say, many find a meaning that is not there

Communication 101:  if nobody understands what you are trying to say, you are not explaining yourself properly.

and also give advice that is incorrect

It is not our fault that you want someone thing out of atheism that isn't there.  Is it annoying that you have to explain that you are not an immoral monster every time you tell someone you are an atheist?  Yes.  Is that what you want?  To have people identify qualities in you when you call yourself an atheist instead of false ideas?  Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that.  All a person should learn is that you don't believe in god(s).  Whatever emotional baggage a person associates with non-belief is their problem and not yours.  That is where education comes in or give yourself another label like secular humanist.


a·the·ism, noun. The theory or belief that God does not exist.

That's all she wrote.


That's a very bad definition.  Where did you get it from?  That definition only fits a certain type of atheism: strong atheism or anti-theism.

Most dictionaries give a much more accurate definition: the disbelief in the existence of a god or gods.  It's an important distinction.  One is the rejection of a claim of the existence of a god.  The other is the assertion of a positive claim, that gods do not exist.

We have been telling you the only commonality all atheists have is the disbelief in god concepts.  You claim to not want a philosophy, but that is want you are looking for.   The only way you will find commonalities is through "subgroups".  Those that share a philosophy.  Even then you will some get overlapping commonalities with other groups.

I am not looking for any philosophy.

If you're trying to add positive traits to atheism, then you're effectively turning it into a philosophy.

Aww, come on man.  Don't start that kind of nonsense.  I know plenty of atheists who are quite nonsensical.  That's a bit of a no-true-Scotsman fallacy you've got going there, you know.


Besides, he makes a lot more sense in other areas.  He's just got some kind of a mental block on this subject.

It could even be a language-barrier issue.  I've seen several things in this discussion which indicate that he's not perfectly fluent in English.  He's gotten caught up on a few words with multiple meanings, when it should be obvious to a native speaker which meaning was intended.  That can happen a lot, when you haven't yet learned to think in your new language.  If you're translating back to your birth tongue, you'll miss bits of meaning.

This could be part of his problem.


Anyway, there's no need to resort to name-calling.  That's just childish.  If you're frustrated with his continual lack of understanding, just go back to lurking, and the rest of us will be happy to keep beating up on him for you.

His confusion over usage of the word 'group' and a few other instances indicate a bit of a language barrier.  Plus, the way that he keeps thinking we're accusing him of things that he isn't saying shows a ... at least a bit of a comprehension issue.  He's missing a few of the links.


If you want to be able to call someone a stealth theist, go talk to Claudia.  You'll find several others who'll agree with you.  I'd be one of them.




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