I flip the meaning of this word by using it as a primary self-identifier and then challenging the misperceptions that arise. We are a growing portion of the U.S. population, and will only be able to exert influence to improve our culture if we speak up.
I know what you mean when you say that the religious see "atheist" as a bad word, at least here in America. We're the hated minority. Here's the answer...
IT'S NOT THAT YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD -IT'S THAT YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING. That and you're also in direct contradiction to what the religious are investing their lives in.
If someone says they're Buddhist on the other hand, hey there's no problem. Buddhist don't have a god, but they do have teachings to follow. The Buddhist has a glass that can be shown to be full -like all the other religions. The free-thinking atheist has a supposedly empty glass that could potentially be filled with all the bad things in the world.
With a supposedly empty glass, they can point at the atheist and say "you have no moral guide", "you don't see the truth we see", "you can be corrupted easily", "how can anyone trust you"...
Stay tuned though, soon you can fill your glass with Orderism -an ideology for the non-theist.
"I'm an Orderist"
Actually, it's not that I don't believe in anything. It's not at all that I have an "empty glass". Orderism? How does chaos fit into that? lol.
oh i know you're a good person. the ability to reason that allows someone to resist the magic sky-fairy, is the same reasoning that keeps us out of jail. And your glass is full of good stuff -but THEY can't see that.
They say Americans can't have an atheist president -well why is that? It's because of the reasons I stated before -no one can be sure where the atheist president is coming from -he might be under control of the devil for god's sake! LOL.
I'm writing a book, and a website on Orderism. -choosing order over chaos in every case (good over bad, reason over superstition...). It's a big subject and actually has some DEEP metaphysical hints. What this will mean to you is that, we can simply leave the religious people crying by the wayside, as we build the fantastic.
People are generally "lazy thinkers", they stop thinking when a suitable answer comes to them. Couple that with the fact they WANT to be led, and NOT be leaders themselves -religion just swoops in to save their day. So ya, we have to kick religion out and fill the void with something the smart and not-so-smart can agree on.
I actually am starting to really like the term Freeist. I'm not defining myself by what I am not as in atheism. I'm not agreeing to blindly follow any doctrine, sorry but as much as I like John's Orderism at first blush its still imposing an external structure on my beliefs.
I like Freeism because it reverses the nomenclature onto the theist. If they are theists and I am not then I am an Atheist. But if i am a freeist them automatically they are anti Freedom. I really like that distinction.
I like that :), Freeism. I also agree with it. It's a paradox to try to get a "free-thinker" to join doctrine.
But the masses WILL be led by something, they would soon collect under a flag (they'll form order out of the chaos, SEE).
That's great James Kz! Our fundie neighbors have said several times that our kids, now 18 and 20, have turned out so well, and they look kind of stymied when they say it. lol. You can see they wonder how us heathens did such a good job. :)
I feel a lot of pride with remaining true to my convictions regarding atheism, skepticism, free thought, critical thinking. It's hard won. I've had to put up with a lot from religionists. People can use whatever word they like, for marketing, and social change, and acceptance. But for me, I stick to "atheist."
Many people from minorities spend decades throwing around the terminologies that they want used to define themselves. I think discriminated-against people have a right to do that, and it's natural. Self definition can be liberating.
But for me, I'm atheist. Proud to say it.
Good for you Sentient Biped! I love your answer!
After reading the posts in here, and thinking, I must ask, Whatever gave you the idea that "atheist" is a "bad word"? It never was.... except to the ignorant.
"Shit" is a semi-bad word...and the eff-word; if you ever read the Crank Mail in Freethought Today, you'll see that xians use those words, and worse, when attempting to communicate with an organization that is devoted to defending the First Ammendment.
Makes ya wonder, doesn't it?
I was just reading the crank mail in FFRF's paper last night and laughing. Most of the haters can't even spell!