I'm new to this community partially because I'm in disagreement with what being an atheist means. While I think it is refreshing to be among a group of people who have discarded some rather hard to palette beliefs, atheism has a certain amount of meaninglessness as a community, at least to me. After all, you won't catch me worshiping my beliefs or doing much to reinforce them. You will catch me playing video games, learning the bag pipes, and engaging in social mischief. So to me atheism is a bit like the miscellaneous drawer for beliefs and I hope it implies you have put more thought into what you believe -- believe is also a placeholder for a lack of belief.

It's tough for me to settle for any sort of group label, atheist included. What about you guys? These thoughts probably aren't new.

EDIT: 4/30/2009
I've come to the impression that belief and lack of belief are not good equivalents even in conversation. While I can understand phrases like "people of all faiths" encompassing all people, operating without a belief system can include operating without regard to belief systems in general. And in this case, it is a disservice to look at atheism as a lack of belief in place of where a belief would go.

Calling me an Atheist isn't enough, but then the same is true about many of the categories to which I fit. And in the same way you can call me a software developer but you would have to ask me to find out my actual set of skills, I don't have any belief in deity-types so calling me an atheist is very meaningful. At least this is where I'm at presently in my thoughts.

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Likewise, the only time i really think about this sort of thing is when I'm on this site or in a discussion with some religious nut. I think not believing in a god/spirits/higher power etc. makes us a group only because there are so few of us...perhaps if only 5-15% of the planet DID believe they would all be lumped into Theists. There are many ways roads to non-belief.
I am currently living in the Bible-bumping south. I am aware of my status as an atheist almost constantly, if only because I need to have a care with my words.

One of the main reasons atheists in America are trying to form atheist communities is so that the atheist voice can be heard politically. As atheists we lack religion and lacking religion, we lack ideological standpoints that many people gain from their religious beliefs. We also lack the organization, the sway and the money that would persuade our lawmakers to listen to us. Yes I spend most of my time reading science-fiction or listening to psychedelictrancediscohop music but you can sure as hell bet that when something like Prop 8 comes up or one more idiot wants to put religion in schools or some other religious bullshit, you can hella bet that I'm going to be thinking about and applying my atheism.
I have no problem with evangelical atheists. Or discussing atheism. I've been putting a lot of thought into finding that balance between discussing my lack of beliefs and just being able to hang out with people who are just fine with not knowing my values. That's sort of the source of this discussion.
I modifying my opinion after reading http://www.slate.com/id/2203614/?GT1=38001 . After all since one of the benefits of religious attendance is having a community, why should the godless have less of a community? After all the differences between individual Christians is possibly just as broad as the differences between individual atheists.
I think one of the only good uses for a community of atheists is so that we can gain a public voice. Strength in numbers. If religion was just something for the minority, there would be no need for this label. But because there are religious people out there trying to strip away the rights of non-believers and turn the government into a theocracy, we need to band together. :)

Atheists are herd animals just like church goers,we all want share our beliefs(or lack of).
Those are fighting words if you're being serious. Since I've never heard from you before I have to ask, do you really think the absence of a belief is equivalent to a belief?
No, I obviously don't think a belief and the absence of one are the same.What I was saying (in an admitidly slightly obnoxious way) is that like minded people tend to seek one anothers company.
True enough. My girlfriend has more of a live and let live approach than I do. But when I hear her needlessly cursing the significant proportion of her facebook friends with bible versus for status messages, I realized I had indeed chosen wisely with her.
Your a lucky man!
There are very generlly speaking only a couple ways people are or become athiests. 1. they were raised into and unless nurtured and taught probally may just be following like the deists do . 2. They somthing and put everything into and nothing happend except maybe there faimlly died so they are scared by this and see the pointless nes of god and is actual control on earth 0 . 3. the person simply like doing bad things and no lighting bolt hit so he dosint want to feel guilty about what he does so he goes athiest . 4. the improtant one and as i believe true belief of atheism . Found it in himself and in the reason and understanding that fairy tales dont exsist but that good is truly good . I was born and raised catholic so it to along time and alot of books for me to escape it . I dont consider myself without belief . I feel over whelmed by it because to not believe in god just means you have to make the world better on your own and you have to be happy on your own . Those two are extremelly hard to combine and maintain unless you hold strong in your belief in man , in yourself , in good, and every tool to help know this .reasoning
So you propose there are 4 kinds of origins for atheists: the ones that are raised atheist, the faithheads whose religions have failed them, bad people who get away with bad things, and rational thinkers.

What's with the good is truly good comment and not considering yourself without belief? I'm all for you wanting to help your society of people. And I interpreted that to mean you are of the humanist moral persuasion. But your description begs the question: is the belief you hold simply that we have the power to make good things with our own efforts? That's kind of a loose way to use belief isn't it? Kind of like poetic license or something?


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