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The Names We Call Ourselves

When someone asks you what you are, in the context of religious views, how do you answer?

The options should appear in a random order to help eliminate any bias.

I know short answers rarely capture what people really believe so please feel free to expand on your answer in the comments.

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8 Responses

  1. I am a devout atheist with a love of the philosophy behind humanism. As a mother of two small children however the christian belief of heaven and life ever after can help when dealing with a child’s questions about death.

  2. I would have ticked the `All of the above’ category if you had one. In my experience, some individuals just want an answer to put in a box (hospital admissions) I usually say None, with an antagonistic drunk at a party I will discuss humanism, with my family I say Agnostic, with Irish Catholic nuns and priests I would state Atheist, with individuals of other religious groups, I will admit my skepticism of all religious beliefs, so it depends on the place and person.

  3. gildedtumbrils-> perhaps the oddest thing i have read this week… I suspect humor is hidden in there somewhere.

  4. Since the age of seven I have been a born-again atheist.
    I had a revelation, while standing in a stream watching
    sticklebacks, that all religion is droppings. Horse-droppings,cow,goat,camel and of course pig.
    The peddlers of such nonsense are dung beetles,
    It was 1940 and every day I awake I thank god I am an
    atheist.

  5. I certainly don’t deny my atheism – I just prefer the label ‘sceptic’, as it’s a catch-all term to explain the underlying rationale behind everything. Even though the sceptical community embrace religious folk, I don’t see how a true sceptic can believe any religious claims.

    I suppose I see the labels as an indication of intellectual interests, rather than ‘beliefs’, hence the nebulous comment I just left. Not believing in a god is a position that is arrived at by using the same critical processes as dismissing yeti sightings, homeopathic medicines, conspiracy theories, and alien abduction accounts.

    Like Sean just said, “to be defined by what we deny” is a curious phenomenon that many of us aren’t exactly delighted with, but struggling with the semantics of the term ‘atheist’ just retards the overall process of making the philosophies behind it acceptable to the general populus.

  6. I find this denial, of what is self-evident (to me) to be odd in people. If you do not accept that a a god. or gods exist – you are an atheist. Why the disconnect here?

    I accept that it seems odd to be defined by what we deny, but we are atheists for what i can hope is the correct (intellectual) reasons. I am also a strong sceptic and would also class myself as a humanist. I don’t see any stigma in the atheist label – more a badge of honour if i am to be honest – but i suppose any of the labels would equally define my world-view, but atheist has more bite – more shock factor, and i don’t mine for a second arguing the point.

  7. I self-identify as a sceptic (the option I selected), but I don’t like the notion of labelling myself. Truth be told, I’m even a little uncomfortable being part of MWH, because the finer points of my personal-philosophies are hardly going to match up perfectly with any institution, but the good fight needs a united force!

    About two months ago, before I was having my wisdom teeth pulled, the receptionist at the clinic was filling in my form, asking me standard questions about my date of birth, known allergies, etc., and when she asked for my religion I said ‘none’. She didn’t bat an eyelid and dutifully scribbled it down before asking the next question, with no noticeable interruption to her rhythm. That’s the kind of non-reaction I’d like to be the norm.

  8. I remember telling people I used to work with I was not cathilic, they all looked interested and asked what Religeon am I. I just kinda shrugged and said none. I would be slow to call myself athiest, or agnostic, or whatever because I think by putting myself in a box its easier for people who think I’m wrong to catagorise me in their own minds. We all know how theists like to be smug about the argument that not believing is a form of belief in itself, because since I cant disprove then I’m taking it on faith blah blah blah… so in my experience to simply tell them its never something I’ve really put any thought into, I just never took it seriously enough to consider is the best way to get a chin fapping long enough to smile politely and change the subject.

    You should see them fume 😉

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