Being an atheist doesn't mean you worship "satan" or kill babies. So why does the word that merely means a lack in belief in an, in my opinion absurd, God make people cringe as it does? 

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Not really Tom,the christians try to spin it like that but the truth is that many,but not all,

of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were

atheists, and the concept was to create a separation between church and state.

our Religious right is trying to rewrite american history,the creeps can't tell the truth

about anything.
"It is logically impossible to worship Satan and be an atheist."

Now, let's not be hasty. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan and, apparently, promoted individualism and materialism. He claimed that his religion had no spiritual basis (thanks wikipedia).

Just because your brand of atheism doesn't include baby sacrifices or howling at the moon doesn't mean that it is logically impossible to be evil even without religious inspiration. :)
Yes, well, those of "faith" are pissed that their god hasn't struck the heathens dead.
Our very existence implies their god's impotence.
They seethe with that anger and frustration.
That an atheist exists at all is symbolic of nearly everything that they don't understand about the cosmos.
Combine that with T.A. Dahar's observation of the immense investment, emotional and financial, that those of faith make, it should be no mystery why atheists are vilified.
I agree completely! But is it not a most religions place to love everyone equally? Not to speak badly about your neighbor? If religions lived up to what they preached, I believe that Atheism would not have this negative connotaion.
Know what you mean Jez ,you just have to stand up to these bible punks sometimes.

I had a local bunch try to run me out of town once and i still live at the same address!

Don't let these jesus creeps run over you!!!!!
Some people see atheists as humorless, because they don't want to waste their time praying or going to church just to go along with people, maybe. It's seen as the "extreme" position and being agnostic is seen as a more "moderate" position. I think people are also just insecure; most religious/spiritual people are not completely sure of their beliefs, it seems, but they want to believe--therefore someone who asserts that these beliefs are false is threatening to them.
I think this makes the most sense to me. I agree with you %100!
Yes, very good point.
Brittany, I also like your point about religions not practising what they (literally) preach. Whatever happened to 'turning the other cheek'? Plus the whole point of Christian morality is that you have free will - if you sin, you will be punished for all eternity, AFTER you die - many Christians seem to think that you should also be punished beforehand.
If you want to go further, surely being encouraged to believe, or indoctrinated, also interferes with free will, and should hence be avoided.
And finally: surely praying is REALLY immoral - you're basically asking for divine intervention, but if God responds, you don't believe in him anymore (of your free will), you simply know he exists, completely ruining the 'value' of your faith. So what's the point of praying - you're asking God to do something that, according to your religion, he's not allowed to do. That's insane.
Brittany, kindly let me point out that no atheist should accept or repeat the theists' definition of atheism.

Okay Don, but must also kindly point out that I am an atheist no matter what I may have repeated. I never said I was accepting this definition and I apologize for using the word "lack." I was attempting to write this discussion quickly before I went to bed. I understand your point, but believe you are focusing more on the word "lack" improperly placed in my quick definition rather than question at hand.

Nevertheless I will agree with you, it is sad that these dictionaries contain these discrete biases.
And yet, for all its baggage, the word is not going away. That's why we must stand by it on positive terms.

Agreed, we can change it to any word we like, the baggage will just come along for the ride. We need to own the word and turn the perception around.
I'd suggest that the response you get to professing atheism will very much depend on where you express it. In my experience here in the UK, saying that you are an atheist normally just generates a response of "Really? So what?". Atheism tends to fall under the theological label of "Other", along with New Agers and Church of England.

However, you do have to be careful. I work for an American company and some time ago we had a visit by a group of WASP executives. We took them to lunch and a couple decided to pray before the meal. This caused a few discrete smirks and wry smiles among the Brits. One particularly sniffy manageress decided to comment that the UK was obviously not as christian a country as it used to be. They were therefore somewhat taken aback to be told that they we "breaking bread" with an atheist (me), 2 agnostics and a pagan. When I added that I used to be a communist but was now an anarchist, well, from the looks on their faces you would have thought they had descended to one of Dantes lowest Hells and their souls were in peril...
It was I who let the atheist out of the bag. Have to say everything was very polite afterwards. We still went for lunch for the rest of their trip and they still preyed.

However, I've always wandered how it might of played out if it had been me who was in the US. Never been to the States, but from what I've read, declaring oneself to be an atheist over lunch is not done in polite company.

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