The one thing that baptists, catholics, episcopalians, etc. all have in common is that they are christian. We have the atheists, agnostics, humanists, godless, brights, and (large number of) skeptics, etc, but we have no umbrella term that we can rally behind. We have a need for a term, any term that we can all agree on to find some commonality. There are vastly different philosophies between the various groups, (although maybe not as much as say catholics and YEC evangelicals). I agree with the "leaders" that atheist is a poor way to categorize something. ThunderF00t (of youtube fame) either came up with or is promoting PEARL

What does everyone think?


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I have always used "Freethinker" or "Freethought" as the umbrella term that encapsulates atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secularists, separationists, infidels, heretics, humanists, secular humanists, brights, non-theists, godless, etc.

This is why a lot of groups are now using Freethinkers or Freethought in their names because it draws everyone that has rejected religion, regardless of the individual word they may use to describe themselves.
It is unfortunate that we have to use the term Freethinker. I should be able to say I am an atheist without fear of repercussion. However, as well can probably all attest, we are received differently if we say agnostic versus atheist, and even more noticeably is we say Freethinker instead of "all of the above."

I should note that while I formed a group using Freethought in its name and consider myself a Freethinker, I proudly declare that I am atheist because that is the word that best describes what I am, or more importantly, what I am not.
Every nonbeliever has some term they prefer to represent themselves, and they often have a strongly emotional attachment to it. I prefer the term atheist, but I’ve learned not to try to convince others to use the term. I don’t care what terms others use, as long as they are not using it to mislead others about their true beliefs.

I do use the term “freethinker” sometimes because I admire die Freidenker of the mid-19th Century, and consider them to be our intellectual ancestors. After the failed revolutions of 1848, many came to America and were intellectual leaders of the German-American communities.

I think we should promote the term ‘atheist,’ even though there will always be atheists who refuse to use it.
"I think we should promote the term ‘atheist,’ even though there will always be atheists who refuse to use it."


I certainly do not begrudge anyone that refuses to use it on the grounds of fearing repercussions, harassment, discrimination, isolation, etc, but I definitely to not agree with the camp that says we should stop using it altogether. I am an atheist and proud to be one. Please stop telling em to not use it.

That being said, the "label debate" has been divisive in the past and we need to get over it. Call yourself what you like. Choose whatever work in the dictionary you think best describes your convictions, ideals, and conclusions.

Regardless of label or word, we can all work together toward the common goals of separating state from church and ensuring civil rights for non-theists.

Speaking of non-theists... I suppose that would be another word that would be a good umbrella term. Perhaps even "non-religious," as recent polling has put it. USA Today called us "unchurched."
You can tell by my username what my choice is.
Tough one to answer. One can argue how really free we are in our thoughts though, considering our ideas at some level are partially culturally/socially/biologically wired, depending a little on what view you take.

(the reason why I didn't answer properly is because I really got no answer which I would like or has been suggested so far)
I use "nontheist", because it is easier for others to understand what it means. Freethinker is a euphemism. I hate euphemisms.
I disagree, Chironex. In Germany, die Freidenker were anti-clerical radicals. Everyone in the erman states had to belong to either the Catholic or Protestant Church, but die Freidenker refused to pay church taxes and insisted that their beliefs were not determined by affiliation with any group.

After the defeat of the insurrections of 1848, many of them came to the US, where they played a prominent role in German-speaking immigrant communities., We have a few towns here in Minnesota that were founded by Freidenker. Maybe the most famous town was Comfort Texas, where the Freidenker who opposed slavery and scession were massacred by Confederate soldiers. The "Treue der Union" monument there is said to be the only memorial to the Union put up in any Confederate state. For American atheists, they are our martyrs.
Question: Does "Freidenker" literally mean Freethinker in German?
"Question: Does "Freidenker" literally mean Freethinker in German?"

yes, it does.

ETA: I don't usually use the term because the current german organization of that name seems to be run by silly old leftists who still believe that east germany was the worker's paradise.
Regardless, I still prefer "Nontheist" for the reason I stated below. (Freethinker: Too New-age-sounding)
Yes, it is the source of the term 'Freethinker.' It refers specifically to the anti-clerics in Germany who protested mandatory tax payments to the church (either Catholic or Protestant.) Many were atheists.




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