I've heard many so called atheists refer to the "soul" as if it actually existed.  

My question is:  If you believe humans have a soul are you really an atheist? 

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Good one patricia.  Thats the only sole I have as well.

It seems to me that the most common definition of atheist is "without theism".  Theism generally includes the belief in a spirit, a soul, life after death, heaven, hell, and one or more gods.   In my opinion, belief in any of those things means one is not an atheist.

Pat, besides the sole on your plate, I hope you have one keeping each foot dry.

Idaho Spud gives the common definition of atheist, i.e., the one generally used in the common vernacular by most people in the west. But literally the word means "not a theist".  Theism is actually only one of several non-falsifiable belief systems on tap that go under the rubric "religion". 

Thus pantheists and deists are atheists under the strict or literal definition of "atheist".  But as you indicate the common understanding of atheist means, in the positive sense, a philosophical materialist and thus ANY so-called supernatural or paranormal beliefs disqualifies one from being an atheist, including all the disrespected pantheists and deists. Lol.

This is why I only acquiesce when "accused" of being an atheist and upfront prefer to self-label as a "philosophical materialist" (when asked what "my religion is").  If the person asking is ignorant of the label then I explain it to him or her.  If they continue "Well, then, are you an atheist?" I certainly say yes.

IOW, I don't think "atheist" should be the go-to word as a preferred label.  It is like calling oneself a "non-republican".  Why not just state upfront that you are a liberal Democrat?  You can then explain further if someone requests that you do. 

IOW - continuing the analogy - I am a liberal Democrat in positive terms and a non-republican in negative terms.  I prefer to be positive, if given a choice.

Do you see my point?


I think I see your point James.   I prefer to call myself a scientist.

Yes.  I am scientific rather than religious.  I like that as a starting point in conversing with the religious hoi polloi.

To be more precise I actually consider myself a presuppositional and provisional ontological materialist. I suppose that's just a fancy way of saying I am of a scientific mind rather than religious.

Reply to, James G Lee:

Thy rant thesaurus wrecks!

Atheists say a lot of things, but any reference to religionist terms is suddenly questionable. I refer to my soul many times, but surely don't mean that thing I learned about in Catholic School that can black marks on it be subjected to original, mortal, venial and cardinal sin. Not that thing that if we are not baptized goes to limbo if we were just born and died. Oops, they abolished limbo. My "soul" is my psyche. Of course, being an R&B, jazz musician and black, obviously I have a whole shit sack of soul. I like filet of soul. Wrong? I don't like my stuff resouled or my soul stuffed. When an atheist is heard by a religionist mentioning soul, heaven, hell, angel, devil, God, etc their theistic predilection takes over and wrongly assumes you are speaking of something they make believe in. Oh, you looked, you looked, you dirty crook, stole your mother's pocketbook. I'm going to tell. They have nothing better to do. Heart, soul, character, essence or whatever you like, is that inner fire (competitor, never sat quit--whatever it is that keeps us individuals). It has absolutely nothing to do with theist bullshit and I've already wasted too many words.

Anyone don't believe in soul?  

With a lady, pour the cognac, turn the lights down, put on Barry White.  

If you don't know what soul is by then: cut it off and pickle it!

Im'm a Soul Man

I once heard a professed atheist woman cry, "Oh my god I'm co..ing!"

You don't suppose she was really praying do you?.

Dr. Darrel Ray does urge listeners to his "Secular Sexuality" podcasts to have an orgasm today, or to give someone an orgasm today.

(No word on what you are or aren't supposed to cry out. :-)

As regards that, I think the following speaks to a general principle:




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