Downeast Humanists and Freethinkers Message Board › What term do you use to describe yourself to others?

What term do you use to describe yourself to others?

user 54714352
Bangor, ME
Post #: 2
I am fascinated by the decision process in deciding what term a person uses to describe themselves. Do you consider yourself Agnostic, Atheist, non-religious, non-theist, etc.? Please explain why this term is relevant to you.
Doug B.
user 8862280
Franklin, ME
Post #: 175
Interesting question. I've never been shy about using atheist to describe my view of the existence of gods and goddesses. I am simply without a belief in them. It has been helpful though to give the person I'm talking to a chance to let me know what they mean when they use the term. That can save an awful lot of "talking past" one another.
Abbie M.
Bangor, ME
Post #: 180
I haven't been asked, and if I do, I'll say something like "How much time do you have?" If they are really interested we could have a substantive discussion.
Nancy G.
user 8856801
Group Organizer
Bar Harbor, ME
Post #: 288
I have no aversion to the word "atheist"--but usually first must explain what it means. The most common misperception is that it means someone who KNOWS there is no god or gods (of course one has to be on the same page as to what is a god!) We can't KNOW that. I always say that atheism just means a lack of the belief in a god or gods. You either have the belief or you don't, so many more people are actually atheists than think they are.

But depending on the situation and the question asked, like if someone wants to do something on a Sunday morning and asks if I go to church, I might just say "No, I'm not religious."
user 54714352
Bangor, ME
Post #: 4
I agree with you, Nancy. So many people do not understand the definition of the word "Atheist." Depending on the person I am speaking with, I may make a joke to soften the word. When I told my sister that I was an Atheist, I said to her not to worry, that I was not a devil worshiper! LOL! Others, I may just state that I am an Atheist, and leave it to them if they have any questions. Most people do not. I wish they would, because then I could get into a conversation to try to open their eyes to reality and reason. There are times, depending on the person, that I may simply say that I am not religious. Recently, an elderly neighbor of mine asked if I was religious. I told her I was not. I was afraid if I used the word, "Atheist" that I may have brought on a heart attack! LOL!
Richard M.
user 63509372
Ellsworth, ME
Post #: 1
I use the term "poly-possibilitist" - a definite conversation speed bump, but I wish to convey the importance I place on a mind that looks everywhere but rests nowhere.
Henry (Hank) F.
user 11965985
Ellsworth, ME
Post #: 8
I refer to myself as a non-theist. I don't object to the word atheist, it just is so loaded with emotion that I prefer to use words that close mental doors a little more slowly for the listener.
user 54714352
Bangor, ME
Post #: 5
Now that our world has expanded through technology through the internet, we are exposed to great speakers such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, (the late, great) Christopher Hitchens, Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty, etc., that the stigma of being an Atheist will someday become a thing of the past. Not the near future... but at least there is hope! I understand that for many people, that they are ignorant to the definition of what an Atheist is. I am hopeful that we can turn that around and help to educate others when we have the opportunity. It is not easy, but I do believe that we need to do this to make a positive change in this world. I want others to know that we are not devil worshipers, Communists, etc. We are people of good morals that just happen to not claim to have a knowledge of a god. We are free thinkers that keep an open mind to possibilities. We need to put a positive spin on Atheism and let others know that we are not people to fear. I realize that "coming out" is not as easy for some as others. We all have our own personal circumstances. I do think that it is a positive move to do so, when a person is ready. It is good for us as an individual and for society.
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