"Realist" works, too, but as Loren said, I prefer being a capital-A, in-your-face, no-euphemisms Atheist. It's NOT a "bad" or impolite word as is the f-word. It's just a descriptive word.
The sad truth is that Atheist is a word that has been marred by centuries of religious indoctrination and misconception. It doesn't help that it's still going on.
Are you dealing with people who don't understand that using "a" as a prefix indicates a negative? I mean if you say, "I'm an atheist," you're not saying "I'm an a theist," are you?
That makes no sense. It's certainly atypical.
Heh! They're probably rehearsing their seasonal phoney outrage acts. You know, "poor little persecuted us...war on xmas...blah...blah....blah." Hoping to get their 15 seconds of fame on FAUX GNUZ. They love feeling persecuted; makes 'em feel important instead of insignificant.
Future, I read that at first as "goddess", lol. Yes, godless is really a good word to use.
In preparation for my appointment to the remaining term of a deceased village government trustee on December 3, I contacted the village clerk in advance to inform her I would prefer to take the affirmation of office, as provided by the Nebraska constitution, rather than the oath of office.
(She is also not yet aware that I am working with the folk in Lincoln on organising a chapter of the Secular Coalition of America here in Nebraska. Someone over here in the unpopulated western part needs to do it, so I guess that is me.)
We have never had overt discussions of my religious opinions (or lack thereof), as I don't bring them up unless someone else does first. (The JW's who have been working over the village lately astutely avoid my house - must have been the bumper stickers on our old car.)
On the other hand, we are the most popular house for the kids to hit on Hallowe'en - as an ex-Wiccan my wife and I always have the best candy.
The village clerk's response? "Oh, Travis (the village and county attorney) will administer the oath, and he knows you're an atheist, so he will administer the affirmation of office for you. By the way, you are first up on the agenda."
Even though this is allegedly the most religiously-oriented state outside the Bible belt, there is not much fun in being an atheist: not even a good mob carrying pitchforks and torches. They only care if I mow my lawn and pay my taxes.
And despite the divisiveness of the local board elections (an incumbent was ousted in a tie vote after a card deck cut), the board members still maintain I was the least divisive candidate to fill the term of its deceased member. Go figure. - James.
Coming from a tiny community in north central Kansas I can relate to much of what you say, at least I think I can. That was good commentary and fun to read.
I am sure I could inspire many, many prayers if I were to return home. They would wonder why I was still "a good boy," if I had turned to the other side.
I do digress. Good job and good luck with the affirmation. I did not know about such a thing.
All I know is that I haven't been able to come out as an Atheist to my religious friends yet. I don't even dance around the subject. I just nod my head when they say something about their god and change the subject. The most I could manage to say in that context - at this point in my life - is that I'm "not really religious." But more and more I've just been wanting to throw into conversation, "I don't believe in god."
But when I meet people who are non-religious I start dancing around the subject and then exclaim with glee I'm an atheist! When I'm sure they'll still accept me.
Atheist is still a bad word. But I hate Agnostic. It's such a cop-out.
I'm just beginning to learn about secular, humanist, and skeptic labels.