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Re: [atheists-27] Atheist or Bright?

From: Brian L
Sent on: Friday, August 9, 2013 2:08 PM
I'd like to share a different angle. My idea speaks to ones sense of purpose, community acceptance, emotional safe harbor, and how this relates to the choice of self-identifying labels. Many people may look for a world view that they can embrace without reservation. That's not a specifically head-centered activity. Brights, Freethinkers, are head centered labels. I like to identify as a Freethinker, but don't self-identify that way. Atheism is proud part of my identity, and it's a head centered concept as well, until well-linked with person story.

People generally relate to people, and stories about people. At this heart-centered capacity, some embrace Jesus and Mary, Mohammed, or the Buddha. Some embrace all of humanity, or all living creatures (biosphere, Gaia), or a vague image of a benevolent God.

Socially, many seem to choose an identity label stating that they are well-meaning. To this end, "I'm a Humanist" could serve as well as, "I'm a Christian". The underlying message hints at a person who identifies as a "good person", not intending harm, a good neighbor.

It would follow that a secular label that can be embraced at a social, emotional, and psychological capacity would be more than a heady ideal. I think that's the general disconnect with the term, Atheist. I would think that few people outside of these discussions could find in it something familiar and personal that may be immediately embraced.

Those who seem to embrace atheism at a heartfelt level, connect it with their own, personal journey. I think all the non-theistic labels discussed are useful, and varied. I feel that I can "embrace" the participants because they are my friends and allies - they all promote a natural world view, and work toward the separation of traditional religion and government. Going a few steps beyond in the concept, the idea of global community is appealing, but such a connection must first be embraced by the participants in a similar way.

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