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Old 07-09-2010, 12:26 PM
 
134 posts, read 470,449 times
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Default non-religious/secular vs atheist

In looking over various polls I am reading that atheism, especially in the states still has a stigma attached to it. . Therefore, many people who are truly atheists won't admit it but would rather say that they are "non-religious".

To me, being "non-religious" means that they may still believe in some sort of "God" but choose not to follow a religion of any kind due to religion being man-made.

So, I'm trying to find a more accurate percentage of people (especially in the states) that are truly atheist meaning that not only do they do not have a belief in "God" of any kind. I understand that until atheism no longer has that stigma attached to it we may never truly know (as some people may still be too afraid to admit to it) but the latest statistic I've heard is that about 16% claim no religious affiliation but only 4% of them would truly identify themselves as an atheist. Might this be accurate?
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Many people think that atheism is the stance of being sure that there are no gods.

But most people who actually use the term to describe themselves are only using it in a similar way to saying "non-religious", as a simple lack of religion. Atheism is simply a lack of theism.

But many people will say "I'm not an atheist, I'm agnostic because I can't know for sure." Then when you ask them if they believe in any god, they say "no". By my definition, these people are atheist.

They are right to say they are agnostic because they know there's no way to know. But agnostic and atheist are not mutually exclusive.

If you are agnostic but don't have theistic beliefs, you are an agnostic atheist.
If you are agnostic but believe anyway, you are an agnostic theist.

I would guess that most of those who claim to be "non-religious" on the polls are actually atheists (lack of theistic beliefs), unless they actually have some theistic beliefs but use the term to specify that they don't subscribe to 'organized religion'.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Metromess
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LIYF: Great post. I am technically an agnostic atheist because there is no way to prove that there is no god. It's the only way I can be intellectually honest. But I agree with Richrad Dawkins when he states that the likelihood of there being one approaches the vanishing point. Therefore, I usually refer to myself as an atheist.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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There is no way to prove that there is no "God" or supreme being, however one can use logic and reason to RULE OUT candidates for the title which are far too primitive and/or absurd, such as the Biblical god, Allah, Zeus, etc etc.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:08 AM
 
16,311 posts, read 13,645,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westcoastcountryboy View Post
In looking over various polls I am reading that atheism, especially in the states still has a stigma attached to it. . Therefore, many people who are truly atheists won't admit it but would rather say that they are "non-religious".
If asked, which I find presumptuous on the part of the person asking, my response varies based on who is asking.

First if they are basically a stranger, and just blurt out "are you saved" (and here in the bible belt, it happens) or such nonsense, I simply blow them off by telling them I am a "god fearing atheist", then walk off and leave the to chew on that, if I respond at all.

If it is a business or social situation and where decorum is appropriate and they ask about what church I attend, I just say that I find 'organized' religion a big turn off, and leave it there. And yes, "organized" religion is really the ugly side of religion.

Friends I value, I'm straight up about my beliefs. If that is an issue with them, their loss, but in practice it hasn't really mattered to my friends.

Treat your religion like your genitalia, don't pull it out in public, don't force it on anyone.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:40 PM
 
Location: NZ Wellington
2,782 posts, read 2,336,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westcoastcountryboy View Post
In looking over various polls I am reading that atheism, especially in the states still has a stigma attached to it. . Therefore, many people who are truly atheists won't admit it but would rather say that they are "non-religious".

To me, being "non-religious" means that they may still believe in some sort of "God" but choose not to follow a religion of any kind due to religion being man-made.

So, I'm trying to find a more accurate percentage of people (especially in the states) that are truly atheist meaning that not only do they do not have a belief in "God" of any kind. I understand that until atheism no longer has that stigma attached to it we may never truly know (as some people may still be too afraid to admit to it) but the latest statistic I've heard is that about 16% claim no religious affiliation but only 4% of them would truly identify themselves as an atheist. Might this be accurate?
Because people have decided to make up their own definitions for the word "atheist", and people don't identify themselves with these new definitions.

With people continually demonizing atheist with post like these...
http://friendlyatheist.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/atheism-is-wonderful.jpg (broken link)



With lies like these, many people even atheist (but they don't know they are atheist) will treat people who proclaim themselves as atheist, badly.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Metromess
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Those are a travesty and are extremely misleading and offensive. Christians are at least as likely to think that they can "get away with it", since with a deathbed confession, all is forgiven.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Renton, WA
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I'm an atheist, but if you say that, a lot of people assume you're like.. angry at God or something. Something negative. I just say "not religious" as a way of opting out of the ENTIRE religiony situation. Religion is not part of my life. God is not part of my life. It's kind of like how skateboarding is not part of my life. I wasn't raised around it. It wasn't even in my head until I was almost a teen. (I had heard about heaven, and even Jesus, but I didn't comprehend that they were part of a complex organization of beliefs.) It's just.. not there at all, and there is no hole where it should be, or anything like that. I. Am. Not. Religious.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:33 AM
 
Location: Western Cary, NC
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These labels are discussed here often. I think the degree with which you accept the Agnostic view would place the person as an Agnostic or Atheist. Expanding that view I see the “Non-Religious” as a category which include Agnostics, Atheist, Secular Humanist and to some extent even Deist. The Richard Dawkins description of degrees of Agnostics views fits this topic very well, and as a person becomes comfortable with the idea we are not controlled by a supreme being the abstract measurement of their Atheist’s views advances from the “Weak Atheist” to “Strong Atheist”.
I personally see myself as a “Strong Agnostic”, or in Dawkins term an Atheist. I am also a Secular Humanist, and have strong “anti- theist” views. Each of these could label me, and each would be correct, the choice of which I would use would be based on the environment I was in, and the point I was trying to make.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Pike Road, Alabama
4,852 posts, read 2,990,541 times
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Let's be truly HONEST here...ALL of us are Agnostics to some degree or another (and that includes ALL religious folk too)...because the simple FACTS are that NONE OF US KNOWS DEFINITIVELY what the SOURCE OF ALL is...THAT IS A FACT! Science may one day prove the Athiests were right or it may prove that the religious were right...but right now, at this time, WE DON'T KNOW one way or the other.

The religious will claim that it is god based on feelings, their conscience, what they are taught, meditation, prayer, etc. The Athiests will claim there is no god based on their feelings, their conscience, scientific evidence, etc. This is all well and good but it doesn't change the FACT that NO ONE TRULY KNOWS DEFINITIVELY one way or the other...no matter how much one blusters otherwise.

I guess this is what truly disturbs me about the whole mess. Some are extremely fanatical about their beliefs whether they are religious or not and they ultimately have no right to be considering it is all still UNKNOWN.

I don't have any problem with religious folk and their beliefs as long as they keep it personal and to themselves. The problems arise when they try to foist their brand of religion down my throat and into my government, my laws, my schools, etc. and say it is the one and only truth to live by. We all know that this is patently false given their are as many brands of Christianity as there are people who adhere to it and this can be applied to all religions as well. I also have no problem with Athiests and their non-belief either...like the religious folk it is a personal choice to take that stance. Many factors play into why a person believes or doesn't believe and can mainly be traced to the environment and culture they are raised in as well as the education they receive. We live in a free country and everyone is free to worship any god they choose or not worship at all...that is what makes our country so great, why do so many want to change that?

Why is it that so many have trouble with the words...WE DON'T KNOW? It's not that difficult to admit that WE DON'T KNOW FOR SURE...and we can add to that by stating..."but my personal belief is...."

Any thoughts?
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