Although I'm an atheist for some time now, I recently started 'outing' myself by wearing the Scarlet A, this brought up a lot of talk on my work. People there don't quite understand exactly what an atheist is. Some of them don't believe in a God either, and thus are atheists, but don't want to be put 'inside a box'. I wasn't in the mood to explain to him that this was the same as being straight, gay or bisexual.

Someone even said that atheists are opposed to governments as well. No... Those are anarchists. Although a strict religious government (like in Iran) would not be my choice of course!!

Today the same colleague asked me if we had some kind of group session on sunday in a big building. 'An atheist church?' I asked. 'Yes', was the answer... [sigh]... No, we don't, but what we do is get really drunk, gorge up on all kinds of fancy food, take of all our clothes, and have a wild orgy!! Hey, why not, it's not like we're going to Hell for it!! ;)

The most troubling conversation I had at work was with a Catholic woman with teenage children herself. She told me that if her son or daughter came home and told her that they didin't believe in God, she would see that as a failure from her as a mother. I said that she should instead be proud of it, as she would have raised smart, and sensible children with a mind of their own. But no, that would not be the case.

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Comment by George on September 25, 2011 at 10:58am
This is the funny thing about language - the same words can mean different things to different people.  If a  person has been in an environment where they are told atheists are evil, communist, whatever, that's what they will associate when they hear the word.
Comment by Remko Wagemakers on September 17, 2011 at 10:49am
@Napoleon Bonapart, I wouldn't call them dumb. More likely misguided and ill informed. Some of them are, and that might be even worse, intolerant to another person's view on life and ideas. But I'm glad I found this website. I feel like I can finally share my thoughts without people ridiculing me.
Comment by Remko Wagemakers on September 14, 2011 at 6:02pm
Thanks to AnneT & Steph S. for the comments.

We just had a discussion at work today about what an atheist is. I stated that it was very simple. Someone who does not believe in any kind of supernatural god. While my colleague argued that an atheist doesn't believe in any kind of god AND that they 'fight' against religion.

Someone even said that because [an atheist] doesn't believe in a god, that also means you believe that you don't believe... Yes, I know, it doesn't make any sense in English eiher... I don't think I can ever really get through to them, as they just won't listen to my full argument. Well, their loss. Keep stuck in your dogmatic ideas. :)

BTW, I've just read the part in "The God Delusion" about the small Jewish boy who was secretly baptised and then taken away by the Catholic church to give him a 'proper Christian upbringing'... This was one of the most disturbing stories I've ever read.
Comment by Steph S. on September 14, 2011 at 5:20pm

Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary Unabridged

Here is Webster's definition of atheism:

atheism n 1 a: disbelief in the existence of God or any other deity b: the doctrine that there is neither god nor any other deity--compare AGNOSTICISM 2: godlessness esp. in conduct

disbelief n: the act of disbelieving : mental refusal to accept (as a statement or proposition) as true

disbelieve vb vt : to hold not to be true or real : reject or withold belief in vi : to withold or reject belief

Note that again, both strong (1b) and weak (1a) atheism are included in the definition.

Comment by annet on September 13, 2011 at 9:03pm
There are so many wrong notions of us. Dawkins talks about some of these things in the history section of the God Delusion such as the food and decadence idea from Epicurus. I had a similar person at work that said they wanted to write their will such that her kids had to stay in her church in order to inherit.  I did my best to talk her out of it.  Here she was planning to be a control freak from beyond the grave.



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