I think we are all familiar with the I'm not a non-golfer argument. I can not identify with what I am not. I do not play golf, so a non-golfer is not part of my identity. This does appear to be a reasonable argument.
This reasoning did in fact apply to me before I came out of the atheist closet. Once I had to come out due to my son being sent to the principles office for stating he was an atheist, things changed. Now every day I have to defend my position of not believing in god. It is a daily routine locally with friends or in public. Now I promote the idea that atheism is a rational normal position on the internet so that it will be easier for others to come out.
This means constant study and research. I actively think about atheism more than ever as I am constantly in discussions concerning Christian history and in places that Christians frequent. As a result I am obviously pinned as "The Atheist". This is not because anything has changed for me in the last 20 years. It is other peoples perception of me that has changed. As a result I am seen as not one of them, rather as a person whom holds fringe beliefs that is different. I am separated by the fact that I simply do not hold to the beliefs of the majority.
A black sheep does not care that it is black, for that matter neither do the other sheep. It is people that care and make the distinction and perceive that sheep to be different. It is thus, externally labeled "the black sheep" and becomes known as such even though it is complete unaware of it.
I am completely aware of being "the black sheep" as an atheist. The difference is now I own the idea. I have been forced to invest much time and energy into the defense of not believing. I really have not problem with accepting that as I am not a believer of God I am something else. If there was no social pressure there would be no reason to even think about not believing in god, but that is not the case.
So where does that leave me? I could make the argument that I can not posses an identity of what I am not if I wished, But that is not the case. I am not a part of the majority sheepeople. I am different because I do not hold to actually believing that I should live my life according to mythology.
I am an ATHEIST. I do not believe there is a god. It is and has become part of who I am and what I am. It is now part of my identity. I can not be what I am not, but in a country with a majority of Christians what I am not, has become the definition of what I am.
Honestly, I believe this debate detracts from more important issues and is petty. I think that is the reason It has ate on me so much that I felt the need to address the issue at all.
What are your thoughts on the issue? Is it a petty conversation to have in the first place? Does owning the identity of atheist confuse theist? Why has the issue even come up?
Your thoughts are very much appreciated.
Sure, atheism is part of my identity. I think it is important, what I don't believe, because I want to oppose theists who might like to impose their views on all of society. By that, I mean that I don't want to have laws which are theologically derived, and imposed upon myself and others, (eg. abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage etc.)
It may well be that some, if not many theists, would NOT want to do that, but those particular theists add some weight to the effects of theists who are more judgemental, or who do want all of society to be like them, (and for those who differ, to be damned - in hell, or by the law).
If atheists don't stand up and be counted, and don't oppose lousy philosophy, values etc., then we will be partly to blame for any outcomes, due too our inaction or reservedness.
I am a scientist and lifelong atheist who is content with my situation which is that I don't believe in god or gods because there really are none except as fictions and fables in the brains of stupid believers.
People who are dead don't know they are dead. It is the same with people who are stupid.
Long time no see Terry! How are you?
Thanks Patricia. Not too bad, and always cheerful despite my prostate cancer which is a nuisance. About 2 years ago a problem developed with my A/N site. Suddenly I could not access parts of it, and no-one seemed able to help. Then suddenly, recently, an upgrade on my AppleMac to Sierra and High Sierra put it right again. Meanwhile I have been finishing off a book on atheism which is unlike all the others. It is just about ready for printing. How are you doing?
Glad to hear your cancer is holding its own. I remember your talking about it. I was gone from A/N for awhile & came back several months ago.
I'd love to read your book when its ready!
I am not too bad at the moment.....recovering from hip replacement, with the other side needing it within a year or so. Arthritis is no friend!
Nice to see your comment, Terry, I assume you have been busy with your most recent book. Let us know when you publish it,
How are you doing Joan? Bravely soldiering on, I know.
I have been doing lots of fieldwork on archaeology and writing books too besides trotting round the world lecturing. On top of that I have just about finished an atheist book written in an unusual fashion. It will be published soon, but every now and then I think of a further refinement to introduce---thus delaying it.
On another matter I think I should seek someone to take over the ORIGINS site, and get it moving again. Cheers to you and all.
I am the proud recipient of two new lovely homes, one with my daughter and her family in Newport, WA, and the other with my son and his family in Littleton, CO. I can no longer drive, nor can I keep up my big old house that is over 100 years old. My family scrambled through all my accumulated "stuff" of 42 years in that monstrous place, taking what they wanted and boxing up the rest to go into storage. Some of my stuff, everyone wanted and some of it no one wanted. I could not face the reality of selling or giving away to strangers, so they boxed the left-overs and we have it stored in a unit where they can get rid of it when I die. I don't own it, the stuff owns me.
Your wonderful adventure stories give us just a peek into your activities and whet my appetite for your next publication. Your book on atheism really sparks my interest. I know it will be insightful, especially with your knowledge of history.
That's touching, Joan, what you say about your personal house belongings.
My book on atheism begins quietly, and proceeds in three testaments. The first treats the origins of the Universe, stars , solar system, Earth . . . The next is the origins of Life. The third is the prehistory and history of humans ... but with a grand difference . . . . . .
I will watch for its publication!
Atheism is a currently necessary facet of my identity. It is made so by the fact that there are those who wish to superimpose another facet onto my identity, one which is artificial, invented, and has no relationship with reality. Yet, because of the paradigm which they have created and their dependence on it and the resulting requirement that EVERYONE agree with them, they need for me to be a part of their cabal. This is a problem, because I won't. I prefer that my life align with reality, however uncomfortable that reality may be. That alignment with reality has an associated label: atheism, and as long as there is a struggle between my paradigm and theirs, I will maintain that label.
I agree! The word "atheist" is an entirely honorable and responsible label, and those who do not like labels will just have to tolerate my acceptance of the term or move out of the way. Besides, I am much more than an atheist,
I also claim the proud title of liberal, even if some think of it as a bleeding heart. Yes, my heart bleeds for all those who suffer because of the greed of others, and I don't mind placing my soapbox in prominent places and challenging those who think they are entitled to the goods and services of others without fair compensation for their effort.
I feel sincere pleasure as a mother of three, grandmother of four, and great-grandmother of six. They all explore the Technology Age with curiosity and inventiveness that takes my breath away.
I garden with a passion, finding excitement in designing, planting, maintaining, and harvesting vegetables suited for N. E. WA State and at 6,000 feet altitude in Colorado. Cooking nutritious meals with an emphasis on ethnic foods that satisfy the pallet and the eye bring pleasure to adventurous eaters.
Having researched the lives of women in 32 nations of the world, I have first-hand experience with ethnic foods. Women in all those countries opened up their kitchens and their lives to me. Many of us share universal values of care for our families and preparing the next generation to fly away into the unknown future. We mothers also share the stories of the past from which future ages launch.