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
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 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.