Why is atheist a bad word? How do we flip this word because I don't think I can (honestly) call myself anything else!

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Which one? All of them? Then it's "I don't believe in gods."
I personally love identifying my self as an atheist! Most especially because it is shocking to people; "Wow, this atheist is just a person like me." I typically wait for someone to identify themselves as religious and BAM! I hit 'em with it. Sometimes it goes badly, and I am condemned to hell, but I can't stand how outspoken some religious people are so I fight fire with fire and own my bad label with pride!

Yeah like booklover said - way to go Michael!

The most common stigma is a hangover from the Cold War era. The USSR was anti-religion, so anyone, anywhere who identified as an atheist (religion-neutral) was automatically considered a traitor, communist, un-American, etc.  And we still are by many. 

I don't understand why that feeling is strongest in the area of the United States that actually seceded from the Union about 150 years ago.  Ironic.  Back then they used the buybull to justify slavery, and now they use high school and college football games to advertise their piety.

Gag me with a spoon.

Felaine, a very old Valley Girl

Stephanie, Melinda, thank you. I just reached a point where it got old listening to them proclaim their religion with so much pride, so now I just bring the fight directly to their front door. A decision I have yet to regret, it was truly liberating. :)
Yeah I agree with Booklover - again! Just come out and let them see us for who we are.
Exactly. It's not something I throw around and thrust in peoples faces just for shock value, but the moment someone (in a perfectly "secular conversation" which has no reason to have anything to do with their religion) puts it out there I immediately return the favor. "god has a plan for all of us." "I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm an Atheist, I have my own plans." Simple as that, Melinda. Don't get me wrong, people can get real ugly about it real fast, but don't be intimidated and don't automatically give religion respect. Remember, they "know" us nons are going to be subjected to an eternity of the worst possible existence in hell and are, quite disgustingly, indifferent about it. Respect the individual, not the religion.

I can't help but to respect that Michael. Me being a youngin' dealing with this sensitive subject, I can only imagine what's yet to come for me in the future. I'm open about my beliefs and I am far from ashamed. No one can change that but it's also not respected. There's nothing wrong with the Atheist title. Everyone is just so caught up in the fact that we don't value christian/muslim/catholic/jewish/etc. beliefs, they forget to respect us and at least TRY to understand our values. it's immoral to say the least.

I just cannot push myself to respect religion "just because". People have a right to believe anything they want, but they also have the right to be wrong. I suppose you could call me a reactionary to the individual proclaiming their religion, I won't blatantly disrespect someones beliefs, but I also refuse to back down when met with ignorance to reality. It's not in me, I will not avoid the conflict when confronted.

I have been saying for decades that I respect a person's right to believe whatever they want, but I do NOT have to respect what they believe. 

When Mormons come to the door, I snort and laugh at them.  I'd like to laugh at the Jehovah's Witlesses, too, but I live with one...my Aspie sister.  <shrugs>  Can't win 'em all.

They can dish it out...

Once, when I was working at JCPenney Advertising (in a large building that is the heart of the LA Garment District), Good Friday and Passover occured on the same day...and I wasn't aware of that.  I went out on the afternoon beak to buy a pack of cigarettes, and every damn store and restaurant was closed.  (Well the Chinese restaurant didn't have a cigarette machine... remember those?)

I finally figured it out, and came stomping back in the office and bellowed, "Where the eff can an atheist buy some smokes around here today?"  Quite a few jaws hit desktops and drawing boards, and the secretary/receptionist blurted, "But you're too nice to be an atheist!"  I asked her what that had to do with anything, went to my own desk. I looked at the three gay young guys in my department who were stuffing their fists in their mouths to keep from LOLing, and I started laughing.

Made my day.  I think that was when I finally came out of the Non-Believer's Closet after 20 years of keeping things to myself. That was almost 30 years ago...an amazing relief.

But "atheist" in itself is NEITHER a bad word, nor a good word, it's just a word that means a LACK of belief in any deity.  It's not necessarily a statement that there is no god, or gods.  It just means that you/I personally don't worship any, or pray to any.

That's why people who claim to be agnostics get on my left nerve...they think it means that they don't know whether or not there is a god, sort of a middle-of-the-road position, but that's what atheism is.  Agnostics (for the most part) don't go to religious services, or pray over their Big Macs, so IMO they're no different from those of us who come right out and say we're atheists...they're just too cowardly to do the same. 

If they don't know there's a god, how can they worship one?  THAT's the difference.



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