I'm new to this community partially because I'm in disagreement with what being an atheist means. While I think it is refreshing to be among a group of people who have discarded some rather hard to palette beliefs, atheism has a certain amount of meaninglessness as a community, at least to me. After all, you won't catch me worshiping my beliefs or doing much to reinforce them. You will catch me playing video games, learning the bag pipes, and engaging in social mischief. So to me atheism is a bit like the miscellaneous drawer for beliefs and I hope it implies you have put more thought into what you believe -- believe is also a placeholder for a lack of belief.


It's tough for me to settle for any sort of group label, atheist included. What about you guys? These thoughts probably aren't new.

EDIT: 4/30/2009
I've come to the impression that belief and lack of belief are not good equivalents even in conversation. While I can understand phrases like "people of all faiths" encompassing all people, operating without a belief system can include operating without regard to belief systems in general. And in this case, it is a disservice to look at atheism as a lack of belief in place of where a belief would go.

Calling me an Atheist isn't enough, but then the same is true about many of the categories to which I fit. And in the same way you can call me a software developer but you would have to ask me to find out my actual set of skills, I don't have any belief in deity-types so calling me an atheist is very meaningful. At least this is where I'm at presently in my thoughts.

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I feel the need to add my 2 cents to this oldie. I think atheists share quite a bit in common. Sure the tip of the iceberg is our lack of belief. The name means that one is without the belief in a god. This being said, I think that when we live in this society it takes a certain mode of thought to bring about or maintain this lack of belief. This is what binds us. Every atheist that I have interacted with demanded proof or, at a minimum, a very solid argument to support an idea before they will take much stock in it.

"Skeptic" is likely a better term for that which unites atheists. Bugs, animals, trees, stars, dirt and rocks could all be considered Atheists. All of these things spend their entire existence with an utter lack of belief in god. Obviously, there is a deeper meaning to the word than its purely clinical definition.
I think those are excellent points. I really think there is a lot of room for atheists to sort of claim their name simply so that other members of our community will have a better sense of who we are and why we tick. I think there is as much room for us to figure ourselves out in an individual sense since we are the minority in many senses and we don't benefit from having our values reinforced by our elected representatives like the believers do. I think it's potentially very subtle to define yourself your way with the layers of systemic support of any Christian type of belief system in America. And maybe that is also just as true anywhere.

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