Nicely explained, Don. I do think, without taking anything away from atheism, that metaphysical naturalism is more satisfying as a worldview- more positive, more useful. It's an attempt to examine the reasons for and consequences of human behavior with honesty and compassion. The atheism of some seems to be solely concerned with vanquishing theism. Perhaps I'm confusing atheism with antitheism.
Atheism cause and Atheism are two totally different things for me.
I'm not really in the movement, (Mostly because I'm fairly antisocial). I'm more of the type that wants people to think individually for themselves. If you are an atheist because I'm an atheist, you are being a follower. But if you are a theist and to you in your own mind came to that conclusion, I'll respect that better than being a follower.
I like calling myself an atheist. To me the world makes more sense w/o a fake deity and fake rules and fake meanings.
Oh, no, I apologize, but I wasn't saying that at all. Being part of a cause does not make you a follower, whatsoever. I'm saying my point of view about people in general, they don't have to be a part of church or a cause to be a follower. Some people follow their parent's set of views, their friend's POV, a clergymen, without taking time to think for themselves.
Hello everybody! I find this a fascinating question. It is because of discussions like these that I describe myself as a Humanist, rather than as an "atheist". The important thing for me is that atheism (whether it is a "thing" or not) does not commit you to any particular way of living or viewing the world. Strictly, it doesn't even commit you to a non-supernaturally-saturated world-view, necessarily - I have met plenty of New-Age atheists.
I prefer to describe my belief system in a way which actually articulates something about what I do believe in terms of how people should act and relate to each other - hence Humanism (sometimes with the prefix "Secular").
I agree, James--atheism itself is rather anemic as a world view. I prefer the term "Secular Humanism," as it indicates, at least in a general way, what one does believe in; "atheism" merely indicates a lack of belief in theism.
(I just needed to tidy up a glitch in the second paragraph. This post belongs right before Don's instead of right after it.)
Perhaps "absence" is a more suitable term than "lack"; "absence" is indeed a more neutral word. My discomfort with the word "atheism" has something to do with its rhetorical cargo: in English and French, at least, the term began its life as an insult, and, regrettably, it still carries that connotation in some circles. Of course, plenty of other terms started their lives as insults, and in many instances the "labeled" managed, nevertheless, to redefine the words for their own purposes or to give them a more positive valence: leveller, whig, tory, fauvist, consequentialist, and so forth.
Yet while the term "atheism" does some useful lexical work, I would contend that the word is itself deficient in many contexts, as it is defined as the absence of something else. That something else, theism, is still setting the terms of the debate, both philosophically and rhetorically. Thus, I prefer the term "humanist" to the term "atheist" for the same reason that I prefer being "healthy" to being "asymptomatic": as "healthy" denotes a state that goes beyond the mere absence of symptoms, so "humanist" moves beyond "theism" rather than merely negating it.
I view my atheism as more than it's definition. I view it as being an activist for our rights as non-believers - in mattters of church state separation. I view it as showing atheists as positive people who are regular humans, just trying to live our lives as happy as joyous as possible. I am always an Athiest, out and proud - the more people know us the less the stigma will continue.
Although I suppose my worldview would be better defined as humanist, I never use that word as many people have no idea what it means.
MG, I think atheism is not a statement at all. Instead, it's a word that refers to...
Don, you've made this point several times in this discussion, and you're etymologically right, but you sure can understand that, to many people, there's more in this word than its etymology. Why would all these people join Atheist Nexus if it wasn't the case?
To me, atheism is the word it is. It has nothing to do with citizenship (thank "Bob")! What I choose to follow or lead with as my worldview is my choice entirely, thanks to my atheism, which allows me to have a mind free of misconceptions about the way the universe workds.