Why is atheist a bad word? How do we flip this word because I don't think I can (honestly) call myself anything else!

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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. 

Lol - I'm one homely goddess!

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.

Peter

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.

The problem is that atheism is defined by what it isn't. If there were no theists we would not even have to make note of our atheism.. So the problem becomes one of not having any positive aspects that it collectively stands for. While the claim might be made that atheism is somehow associated with logic and reason, it is not necessarily true. A person could easily be an atheist for an irrational or emotional reason.

Organizing atheists around a pure atheist flag is unlikely to provide sufficient leverage to gain ground in society. This is why groups like humanists and others gain a bit more traction as they have positive ideas (rather than negating) to rally around.

Good will and popularity come from what you do. Not from what you don't do. You don't go to Carnegie Hall for what you don't hear.

Dear spittin' image of Jesus,

Well said. Atheist is a one-word term that allows discarding without further thought. Suddenly, it makes me think of how we used to use the word "Chink" to lump all Chinese, and probably all Asians into one word. We didn't have to think, Chinks were lesser beings...end of story.

Atheists...evil...discard as not worthy of title human being.

Atheist as a bad word? I love it when a self-professed christian gets caught screwing others over and then I hear people say, "they were not behaving in a christian-like manner." They were behaving very much like a christian! They were screwing people over!! When someone tells me they are christian, red flags fly, bells go off, and sirens scream, all in my head.

I feel the same about people who declare their Christianity. My red flag whips into place.

Conversely when someone announces that they are an atheist I kinda like and respect them right away.

Me too Diane.

A word can neither be 'good' or 'bad', it's just a word, any negativity springs entirely from the minds of those who hear the word and attach their own negative/evil meaning to it.

Here are some other words that are neither 'good' nor 'bad', christian, jew, dendrochronologist and costermonger.

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