The “A” Word

© The Unassuming Atheist

In our society, we tend to reduce words that we should not say aloud, or at least in public, to their first letter. The “N” word comes to mind. “The “L” word (Lesbian) even spawned the eponymous television show. Then there is the “F” word, or otherwise known as the “F-bomb” as well. We also have the “C” word… but I’ll let you figure that one out. I find this an interesting phenomenon. It sort of reminds me of how any scandal has the moniker “gate” at the of it as an homage to the Watergate scandal in the 70’s.

 

Now we have the “A” word. OK, let me get this straight. While in mixed company in a public social situation, saying the “N” word versus the alternative makes perfect sense. It is a polarizing and generally offensive word in most situations. I get that. But the “A” word? Really? Who are we offending with that one? Is that not a benign enough word to say fully?

 

What does the word Atheist (oh, I’m sorry, the “A” word) mean that is so offensive? Are we, as Atheists, afraid to say it for various reasons? Is “Non-believer” a less shocking term? How about the word “Secular?” Is that less threatening? How about “deity denier?” Could you even say that in Florida?
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Faith: It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

© David Teachout

 

As a human being I’m interested in broadening the understanding of my experiences and increasing my knowledge by identifying what I’m ignorant of and then looking to fill in the gaps. My humanity also determines the limits to fulfilling those desires. I have particular interests by virtue of being me, not every subject draws me the same way. I have time limitations so I have to choose on a daily basis what to read, what to study and plan accordingly for the future. I have career limits, in that my professional obligations concerning psychology direct me to continued education along paths associated with it and not, say, that of electrical engineering. I also, though this is controversial and not without a great number of caveats, have limitations on my intelligence; there are items I study which I struggle to understand while other people have already passed me by. All of these limits are part of being human, but none of them determine prior to the inquiry itself whether I could understand by virtue of that very humanity, they are only particular limits of my own.

 

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As an atheist I am confronted often by the simple declaration from religious adherents of “you have faith too” or in its more arrogantly adolescent form: “it takes more faith to be an atheist.” The confusing nature of this argument becomes immediately obvious when I inquire as to just what is meant, resulting in some example of the form: “you have faith that x will happen” where “x” is filled in by the sun rising tomorrow, the continued love of friends and family, or other such. From the days of my own belief, I can recall the apologetic of referencing wind or air when attempting to describe how the Holy Spirit works. Then, as now, the response to such attempts is to point out that the examples being referenced are not at all comparable.
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Christianity is a Religion, Deal with It!

Recently one of my favorite atheist bloggers Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) posted a video blog discussing the question “Can you hate religion but love Christ?”.

 

My experiences with people who claim to follow Jesus but not be religious differ slightly from Mr. Mehta’s in an interesting way- while he seems to have encountered people who reject religion and also the label of ‘Christian’, all the non-religious Christians I have known are still happy and proud to refer to themselves and identify as Christian.
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