I'm a human being not an atheist. I don't like the term atheist per se. It's a label. I think any label does what all labels do if you over identify with it. Labels divide humans from the fact they are just humans and can cause divisions within reasoning. I was even completely unaware of the term atheist until I came upon a newly published book in Dublin called the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. In a sense, minus the very deep, knowledgeable arguments contained therein, I'd already been writing a book in my head that came to the same conclusion since I was 7. I did not believe that such a book would ever be printed or accepted by a publisher in my lifetime. However I did not go through life occupied with the fact there was no god rather since I had no reason to believe such a thing I approached everything on that basis minus any preoccupation with the question. I was and am only ever dealing with other human beings driven by that most imperfect product of evolution: the human brain.

While the term atheist may serve in specific situations and for specific purposes at the end of the day I think it is better to remember first and foremost that one is a human being and so are all others even beneath the sometimes titanium hard crust of religious belief.

 

I've also concluded lately that, at least where I come from (Ireland), there is such a thing as an Irish Catholic Atheist. That led me to re-examine the charge that atheism is a religion. I concluded that the accusation was wrong but only because it's a misunderstanding. There is nothing in terms of behaviour current and constant that applies to all humans who do not in their own minds believe in a source of otherworld controlling power to the extent that they can all be covered by the term Atheism. But the charge can be made that within a specific atheist collective mentality, as products of the culture they are raised in, there is religious behaviour. This manifests itself most clearly when atheists form organisations or at least it seems that way on my part of the planet. One would not want to be casting aspersions on atheist of other national cultures. Oops I think I've gone over my time.

Thank you and goodnight from a sod on the East side of the Atlantic

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I think it's needed in some situations but a lot of Irish atheists I've come across take it on as an identity in almost religious "us and them" terms.
Hey FXR, welcome to AN.
In the words of Sam Harris:
'Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, ‘atheist’ is a term that should not ever exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘non astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist’. We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.'

As to 'Catholic Atheist' - I've gotten into the habit of mixing things up when I swear, e.g. 'ah, for Allah's sake' or 'Krishna fucking Christ' etc. When people ask me what that's about, I say I'm an equal opportunities atheist...
Thank you. I dislike hypocrisy but I dislike it equally whether it's Catholic or Irish Atheist hypocrisy. I say Irish because I'm not in a position to judge atheists all across the whole globe. There seems to be an assumption (in Ireland as least) that if you are an atheist you are so much more rational than a religious believer and a great free thinker questioning everything. I think atheists can be as much victim to organisational direction as religous believers.
"I've also concluded lately that, at least where I come from (Ireland), there is such a thing as an Irish Catholic Atheist"

Reminds me of the old joke that circulated during the 'troubles'. A man drives up to a civilian roadblock and is asked whether he's a Catholic or a Protestant.
"I'm an atheist," he replied.
"Yes, but are you a Catholic atheist or Protestant atheist?"
I know what you mean. Living in Ireland I heard the same joke hundreds of times. I thought of it as a joke but now I'm beginning to seriously wonder. In The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins there is a section which deals succinctly with the idea of a missing link. There can be no such thing. But that also led me to examine the idea that in forming an atheist club/association the in a place like Ireland that the thinking is part of an evolving stream of though that comes through Catholicism. I'm finding Irish atheists are products of Catholicism to a great extent. For Pope you get Chairman, for Curia you get Moderators. For the Hierarchy you get the Committee. For Papacy you get Top Down decisions. For distorting the bible you get minutes of meetings being hidden. It could be almost a study in how religions form.

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