Las Vegas, NV
At the round table discussion this past Saturday, the group discussed the activities that were presented at the new HALV meeting a few of weeks ago. At this discussion, there seemed to be a consensus that a community would be a good idea for non-religious individuals and families to gather. We discussed various subjects pertaining to the structure that this community might have. The groups attention turned to a name to call this community. The name of this community is the subject of this thread.
Now I am opening this particular thread on the assumption that members want to have the most all-inclusive name for the community so that as many non-religious people will feel welcome and participate. However, there may be a large segment of individuals who would wish to keep the community exclusive to a particular set of non-believers; ie: Atheists or Humanists. I ask that these individuals start their own discussion thread to hash out the pro's and con's of that position or a name for that community. This thread is for an all inclusive community name proposal only. Again, I'm assuming that a community can even be created.
Note that this is an open discussion of a name. We will not be making any final decisions on the subject. That decision will rest with the majority vote of the group, Board of Directors or whatever entity assumes responsibility for the organization of the community.
That being said, I proposed 'Skeptic Community' or 'Skepticism community' for a name. I think that the word 'skeptic' is pretty all-inclusive for a non-religious identity.
There were objections to this name because some did not want to be associated with the principles and ideals of 'Skeptic' magazine. To those who do not want to be associated with 'Skeptic' magazine, I can only say that skeptic is a generic word and is not exclusively owned by 'Skeptic' magazine, any more than 'Money' magazine determines what money means or 'Travel' magazine decides what travel means.
In the very rare occasion where someone in the religious community might question the association between the proposed community and the magazine, those whose views don't coincide with 'Skeptic' magazine could offer an innocuous reply such as, 'Oh no, they are the Eastern Orthodox Skeptics and we are the Roman Catholic Skeptics. (Really, is there that big a difference between their ideals and ours?)
On the plus side, I think that the word skeptic is very all-inclusive, fairly well identified in most people's vocabulary and would well describe the community we want to create.
So let's see where we can go with a name.
Las Vegas, NV
My personal perspective is that it doesn't matter. (Wait! Let me finish.) You can call me atheist, agnostic, humanist, non-theist, anti-theist, skeptic, free-thinker, bright, AND you can call me late for dinner, I don't care, they all fit, it doesn't matter (except for dinner, of course, but then I'll just eat out).
BUT, I do think that a lot of other people have associations with these words, and it does matter to them. And if we are trying to be as all-inclusive as possible, then these perspectives matter. I don't think the perspectives are necessarily fair or correct, and many times it is a lack of familiarity with that word usage, so the perspective derives from the previous & more common use of the word. I don't know how accurate I am, but my impression is that others think as follows:
atheist - immoral, unethical
agnostic - ok for outsiders, but some atheists feel strongly this word does not include them.
humanist - implies/is a philosophy in addition to absence of god, and is therefore also not as all-inclusive as perhaps we would like
non-theist - what's that? It's all Greek to me
anti-theist - hates theists
skeptic - always questioning, not a trusting person (and if you don't trust me, I don't trust you)
free-thinker - hmmm... sounds like a Mason. Secret society, anyone?
bright - thinks non-theists are stupid
My vote is for secular, for two reasons. First, as an existing word, the meaning is not only exactly what we want - the absence of religion - but clear to all. And second, it works tremendously well with my next point.
Driving home from the Round Table, I was trying to think of a word to replace church. What would we would call that building, that area, that space? And I thought Space was great. It applies the absence of anything, much as many non-theists feel strongly that theirs is not a religion, but the absence of one. And Space has scientific connotations. And if you want to keep a place, an area, for someone, you save a space.
Instead of going to Our Lady of Sorrows Church, we can go to Our Secular Space. (I only came up with Space.; credit to Rose S for coming up with Secular Space, )