In one recent discussion, a good lady, Dogly, said this about me:

“It is just that Madhukar seems to be trying to find a common set of beliefs or opinions among us all. I'm trying to convince him that that is impossible.”

Earlier, she had hardly participated in the several discussions posted by me but seems to have observed me from distance, because her observation is accurate.

My reply was obvious:

“I do not, cannot and will not deny that I would be very happy to evolve some commonalities in atheist character,”

I feel most annoyed when an atheist says that ‘atheism is nothing more and nothing less than not believing in god.’ I also find some opposition to me when I say that atheism is an ideal. This may be a result of a fear that calling atheism an ideal will turn it into an ideology, which, indeed, is to be feared! However, there is some difference between an ideal and ideology. To me, atheism is an ideal that every intellectual should try to achieve. Attaining this ideal would be the best proof of an intellectual’s intellectualism. This is supported by the result of a recent discussion that finally seems to have established that atheism is based on knowledge and not on ignorence.

Likewise, I strongly believe that there should be something like an “Atheist Identity” that should distinguish an atheist from the rest of the people, by his character. The religious faithful often try to say that being an atheist is being immoral. Why should anyone try to attach such labels to us? Why should it not be obvious to others that being an atheist gives some good attributes to one’s personality?

Aren’t there enough good qualities that all atheists can posses and that can be attributed to atheism? Whatever be the answer, it will not deter me from finding such a common character.

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Replies to This Discussion

I feel most annoyed when an atheist says that ‘atheism is nothing more and nothing less than not believing in god.’

Anything "more" as well as anything "less", than "not believing in god", is just as much an intellectual dishonesty when an atheist does it as it is when a theist does it. 

...a recent discussion that finally seems to have established that atheism is based on knowledge and not on ignorence.

WTF?

Why should anyone try to attach such labels to us? 

Just speculation, but probably for the same reason you want to do it.

Why should it not be obvious to others that being an atheist gives some good attributes to one’s personality?

Because it doesn't...

Madhukar, good question. Yes, we have stumbled around this question for a long time and it has been a valuable exercise for me. 

Now, as to the new question, I am going to reword it a little bit so I can get my mind around an "Atheist Identity. Here is a first attempt: 

As an atheist, what behaviors and principles do I want to project?  This will probably change as I mull it over, but let me think a bit. 

Joan,

 How I wish that you should have entered this discussion earlier!  The results of a discussion may prove me to be wrong or right, it does not mattaer ,if the perticipants try to understand the subject and make meaningful comments. Most do not do and only a few do it. It is therefore diffficult to arrive at a correct answer.

The results of a discussion won't prove anything.

 

I think you're one of the few involved in this discussion who don't understand the subject.  Everyone else here understands that atheism is not a worldview ... not a philosophy ... just a negative response to theistic claims.

 

I'm not so sure she's on your side, either.  There's a huge difference between "As an atheist, what behaviors and principles do I want to project?" and "Aren’t there enough good qualities that all atheists can posses and that can be attributed to atheism?"

Of course you are correct Joseph, and that doesn't stop me from wanting to know what kind of a person I want to be, including being an atheist. I find that I am becoming more militant and rather like the feeling. Current political and religious events really piss me off and I want my opinion into the ether. I don't expect anyone to agree with me, but the important thing is the alternative being spread. I can actually say "I hate them." I don't mean I just dislike them, I think the political and religious garbage is just dreadful. Given that, is that all I feel? No!  Hence, my attention to the question. 

Madhukar, I have a worksheet on my desktop where I am attempting to define how I want to be as an atheist, so don't give up on me. I am just now answering my Feb 15 mail. 

There may be a right or wrong answer to this question, I don't know, but it is not the kind on which I would expect total agreement. People's experiences are so different, they have varying needs and wants, some are more wounded than others. 

Whitworth University's former president Ed Lindaman, told me that when we look into the past for answers to present challenges we repeat the past. If we want to create a better world we have to imagine a preferred future and then work toward that. His advice informs me on this question. 

Joan,

I have been in conversation for sometime with a person who calls himself a strong creationist. Naturally, we do have diametrically opposite views on almost everything. Inspite of this, the discusion has went on in a healthy manner and both of us have taken care to keep it that way. I have a similar experiance with three atheist sites. I myself do not use foul words. There are some persons here too whom I respect tremendously, like Steven Campagna, Tom Starbec, Greg LeGore among men and you, leveni, dogly for example among women who are careful with words. However, sometimes, after seeing, irrational and intemperate replies, use of foul words here, I feel that many persons come to A N with a club mentality and that they could be even tipsy when they are replying. This is going to cause loud noises, but it is a fact which many more will share, at least in their mind.

Why should I accept that atheists should deliberately, consciously invite adverse opinions?

I will cite a small incident that took place in my local atheist group. When one young man, probably out of habbit, used a word that is not accepted in educated and civilised society but is far less foul, a girl immediately told him to mind his language. To use any bad word in the presence of a lady is a taboo in our society. Is it bad? Why such a goodness should not be a part of an atheist character?

It depends upon the word, and it depends upon the situation.  I have no problem with profanity, used as an exclamation point.  If you throw the word 'fuck' into every other sentence, then you're doing it wrong.

Words used in a belittling, focused manner can be bad, even if they're not technically curse words.  Racist or misogynistic language is bad in just about every case I can think of, although I'm not opposed to gender-specific insults, when they're warranted.  A man who's acting like an asshole could be called a dick.  A woman who's doing the same could be called a bitch.

Part of breaking away from religion is losing your reverence for words.  It's the intent that's more important, not the specific verbiage used.

 

The thing about not swearing in front of women must just be a cultural thing.  It certainly doesn't apply here.  My girlfriend curses more freely than I do, most of the time.

More to the point, I find that to be a sexist standard.  If you're willing to use a word in front of men, then why aren't women capable of dealing with the emotional trauma of hearing that nasty word?  Women should be treated the same as men, except in very specific, medical contexts.  Any difference in the way you treat people should be based upon tailoring your behavior to a specific person, not a whole class of people.

"It depends upon the word, and it depends upon the situation."

I would like to add to this, even seemingly benign language can carry profane meaning, …depending on context. For me, this can register as far more offensive, because of the meaning, …the word? …is only a word.

"If you throw the word 'fuck' into every other sentence, then you're doing it wrong."

My only disclaimer for this would be the few skilled satirists who can get away with it.

"Part of breaking away from religion is losing your reverence for words."

Same goes for the authoritarian personality in regards to an entitlement to feel offended when words are not even directed to you, or to presume oneself to be the arbiter of which words are correct and which are profane.

This is just my opinion, but the kind of atheist character template being advocated for here smacks of authoritarianism, …which quite frankly; offends the hell out of me, as well as stressing my personal irony-o-meter needle to the breaking point.

"My girlfriend curses more freely than I do, most of the time."

This is funny because this is the case ...more often than not, that I've noticed anyway.

"My girlfriend curses more freely than I do, most of the time."

This is funny because this is the case ...more often than not, that I've noticed anyway.

 Well, unless we're playing a game of some sort.

I'm serious...

I can cuss with the best of them, but never around kids, never any stray F-bombs, C-bombs, etc. (though I don't recognize "church" profanities as profane, …might be a Canadian thing…). I don't think it's a conscious choice I make, just an automatic filter I picked up along the way.

Don't get me wrong (ex-wife/girlfriends/current S.O.), I'm not talking about "every second word" type vulgarity, …just sporadic li'l F-bombs.

Speaking of Canada though (the other one), Francophone cussing is all church related, probably an innate resentment of the RC church.. heh heh. 

My mom taught me how to swear when I was a kid.  She felt that if I am going to use the words it should be done properly.

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