Minnesota Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › Atheist a great word

Atheist a great word

A former member
Post #: 16
While watching the Atheist alliance video feed of Sam Harris telling everybody they should abandon the word Atheist I managed to stay awake long enough to hear him finish. Then I thought about what he said about abandoning the word for a second than discarded what he said. After all wouldn't that be like abandoning reason, science, progress and going back to the dark ages? I like the word Atheist it's all great it reminds me of the natural world all the great scientists and all the great progress that has come from non-believers around the world. Besides humans tend to label themselves to identify with there beliefs or non-beliefs which is good that way you know where they are coming from. And I would have to get rid of all those science and philosophy books with the word Atheist in them also, what a waste of money that would be! So instead of abandoning the word Atheist I will embrace it and use it any time I feel the need to because I am proud to be an Atheist!
A former member
Post #: 22
I agree. He does raise a good point that it creates a conflict from the start when talking with a theist, and that a better use of time is stomping out non-reason where ever we see it. I'd have to say that conflict is diminishing. It's becoming similar to a Jew and a Christian debating a topic. Their theological differences don't matter, and are able to rationally discuss a topic without concentrating about those theological differences. I do still think that moderate religious adherents are in the minority, but we would do good to find common ground when it comes to civil rights, and science with those people. Also, letting those people know of the majority of evangelicals and fundamentalists that have a political agenda, and giving them a voice to counter their noise would be helpful.
A former member
Post #: 3
I wish it were a great word, but unfortunately I am experiencing my first incident of being shunned, just for uttering the word.

My 4 year old son recently started preschool. There are 14 kids in the class. Every second Thursday the mother's meet to discuss parenting issues. All of the mothers were discussing which church they belong to and "oh did you know so and so goes to our church". One mother turned to me and asked what church I belong to. I said I don't belong to one. She looked really confused. She asked what religion I practiced. I told her I don't practice religion. She was getting exasperated and asked well "What are you then?". I said a free thinking Humanist. She told me she didn't understand. I then said "I'm an Atheist". There was a collective gasp in the room. There was then some whispering and snickering amongst a group of three women who are clearly friends outside of school. These 3 woman have not spoken to me since. I am almost in tears as I write this as I now fear that my innocent 4 year old son is the one that is going to feel the brunt of my beliefs, i.e. not being included in activities with a select group of kids. I fear he will be left out and the whole point of him being there is to strengthen his socializiation skills, as he is clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the kids academically. (His teacher told me that, I'm not just being a delusional mother, haha).

Anyway, I wish I was making this up or exaggerating, but sadly it is true. I know this is just the first of these kinds of incidents to come. I really dont know what to do. Clearly there is no reasoning with these women because they have no respect for different views. I don't expect them to become atheists, but a little respect and understanding for my beliefs would have been nice.
Jack C.
user 3043821
Group Organizer
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 7
Karen:

I'm so sorry you had to confront such pig-headed intolerance. As a parent, I haven't been asked about my religion directly, but my objections to some public school Christmastime activities that got too close to promoting Christianity have made my beliefs (and lack thereof) apparent to some. I found that my daughter (now 8) did not suffer any isolation, but maybe that's because her circle of friends hadn't been indoctrinated with religious bias. Now that I've gotten to know their parents, I can say confidently that they never will be.

Perhaps those few bigots aren't representative of all the parents. If you find through casual conversation with your son that he is being ostracized, then it might be advisable to talk to the preschool's administration. As long as it's a secular preschool, they should be on your side (if not, let Minnesota Atheists know about it). But unless those parents are drilling hatred into their kids' heads daily, the topic of religion is unlikely to become much of an issue among 4-year-olds. Most likely you'll find that your son will pick friends that will accept him whether or not he goes to church.

My two nephews, one now a graduate student and one an undergrad, grew up just fine without any religious affiliation, telling whoever asked "I don't go to church." Their interests brought them together with like-minded friends, and their achievements (in music and computer science) won the respect of their peers.

As far as what I tell people if they ask my religion, before I say I'm an atheist I like to say that "I don't believe in the supernatural." Then I'll say "I don't believe in any gods." Both replies subtly suggest that the person asking needs to examine their beliefs before they jump to any conclusions about mine. Not that I'm ashamed of the word "atheist;" I just like to put the other side on guard first.

-Jack
A former member
Post #: 8
I am dating again, and when that discussion of what religion I subscribe to comes up on a first date, I don't say Atheist--I subscribe to the Malcolm X theory of dispensing knowledge--you have to drop a little bit on the head at a time...if you pour on a bucket, you will make them run away, drenched...so what do I say...I say I am a MATERIAL RATIONALIST.I then explain that it means I only believe in the material world and rational, logical, scientific explanations of the universe...that sorta excludes belief in the Invisible Guy in the Sky (who can do all things but can't defeat people in the valley who have chariots made of Iron (Judges 1:19))

A former member
Post #: 4
Thanks Jack for your kind words. The stories of your nephews give me hope. I have also learned a lesson about dropping the "A" bomb, haha. I like your reply to people when they ask your religion.

Thank you Eric for sharing your reply to the question of religion. I appreciate it and now have a better idea of how to handle this situation in the future. You raise a good point about giving up too much info too soon. I could be a little more subtle in other areas of my life as well, haha.

Thanks guys!
A former member
Post #: 18
I am dating again, and when that discussion of what religion I subscribe to comes up on a first date, I don't say Atheist--I subscribe to the Malcolm X theory of dispensing knowledge--you have to drop a little bit on the head at a time...if you pour on a bucket, you will make them run away, drenched...so what do I say...I say I am a MATERIAL RATIONALIST


So after this person does figure out that you are an atheist won't they run away any way? And since we are calling our selves something different maybe the christians will to such as I am a supernatural believer in entities I don't see. I would rather date or talk to some one with some rational thinking so I won't have to hide my atheism.
A former member
Post #: 11
Well, unfortunately, there are so few of us that using atheism as a criteria will mean a lot of dateless nights and years...I shoot for non-fundamentalists such as liberal theists--it would be great to find an agnostic or atheist, but those are far and few between....
A former member
Post #: 19
Well, unfortunately, there are so few of us that using atheism as a criteria will mean a lot of dateless nights and years...I shoot for non-fundamentalists such as liberal theists--it would be great to find an agnostic or atheist, but those are far and few between....


Well you must be looking in the wrong place because I am dating a woman that knows I am an atheist and she is fine with that, but she's heading that way also so that helps.
A former member
Post #: 4
Well, unfortunately, there are so few of us that using atheism as a criteria will mean a lot of dateless nights and years...I shoot for non-fundamentalists such as liberal theists--it would be great to find an agnostic or atheist, but those are far and few between....

I have yet to decide when I get back into the dating game whether or not I will leave the door open to liberal theists or will limit to agnostics and atheists. The inenvitable question will come up in the first date and I don't want to deceive anyone, but also want to stand pat on my atheism.

I dated a Quaker years back and wonder what her reaction would have been when she found out I was an atheist. This was back in 2002 when I was just somebody who wasn't going to church. Georgia has kind of changed that. Of course for me the relationship would not have been hindered by my beliefs, but for somebody who was as sheltered as she was, I'm not convinced she would have an open mind to somebody not believing in omnipotent caretaker entities. I'm forever curious about what would have happened.
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