I Hate Having to Define Myself

I personally would prefer that the name of this group (in my opinion) be "I don't believe that a god or gods exist(s)".  I hate having to define myself as 'atheist' or someone who 'doesn't believe in god.'  Both of these concepts imply that there is something to believe in or reject...that I am actively choosing to not believe in something or to believe in the absence of something.

My friend explained it very well I thought:  I don't think I should have to classify myself as a nonbeliever of Peter Pan, Santa Clause, or a god.  The only reason one would call him/herself an atheist is because the rhetoric and discourse regarding religion is founded upon the idea that the 'default' is belief in a conscious, supreme being and that it is necessary to define oneself by NOT believing in such an entity. 

In what other context do people have to define themselves according to the absence of something that is not proven, that affects nobody else, that does not implicate morality, etc?

This might offend someone and that is not the intention (I am only expressing these views to give comfort to those who feel the same frustration, not to start a debate).

Your thoughts?

Thanks!
av789 av789
26-30, F
7 Responses Feb 7, 2007

The only reason I think people describe themselves as Atheist is because they "actively" make the point of not believing in god, but there are plenty of people who passively do not believe in god and I wouldn't know how they describe themselves- "humanist" perhaps.. I don't agree that people "need to believe in something" as in something benevolent or a force of some kind. Educating yourself and enriching your brain is very rewarding.What is so difficult to understand about evolution? -if you have truly tried to research it it flows like poetry and makes absolute sense! To believe that something can come from nothing is so far fetched, chemicals and minerals can spontaneously combine- and so do amino acids.. Oxygen and hydrogen make water- it's makes more sense than thinking a god which has always existed created the universe ( how can something always exist? How can that make more sense than the universe begining from nothing?) but also science is looking into this "nothingness" and querying cycles of expansion and contraction over billions of years.. Our existence is minuscule. To be a human being is to be an intelligent animal- full of mechanisms developed by nature for survival, emotions, memory, empathy, greed, love- all derive from primal evolutionary drives to help us look after our children and social groups- they have become distorted my modern social living and life which people for years needed religion to navigate through, now we have the potential to understand how we came to be and the direction society should move in- this includes altruism and human benevolence, not spirits in the sky. Calling yourself an atheist might challenge others to think about their own viewpoint- people call themselves vegetarian because they don't eat meat- doing so is actively asserting your beliefs, but not everyone feels they have to label themselves. I like your point though and it's good to have a proper think! Peace.

Let other people waste their time doing the defining. When you defy their label, it will drive them crazy, and it will be fun to watch.

Thousands of years ago, people already have the belief that there should be a god, if not, nothing would have been made. When they face problem with water, they pray for rain. And that when disasters like earthquake, volcano, typhoon, etc occur, they believe they have made god angry. So they pray to god for mercy. So all these religious beliefs came by the thoughts of men. When Buddha went out to the world to understand more about life and found something, people made it into a religion. Buddha didn't say it is a religion but the people took it as such! <br />
But I do believe there is a god, if not, the huge universe, the galaxies, the stars, the planets, the plants, animals, humans, and everything else wouldn't be in existence. No science can ever explain how all these are in existence from totally nothing. Can you?

I agree that it doesn't really need to be said, and perhaps this is only because I am quite young and haven't really experienced the full extent of possibilities being labeled as an atheist may hold, but it doesn't bother me too much being called an atheist. As I'm writing this, however, I am starting to see how it is an insignificant detail in comparison to formulating opinions on a person's character, as this might be a better way to realize who others truly are. Understanding this, it probably could cause one to be bothered, much in the same vein as being described by one's origins might be offensive. <br />
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I am grateful to you for giving me something to think about. I am still in my youth, so it's nice to have my eyes opened a bit more. Always nice to find new meanings to things! Thanks again.<br />
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Cheers!

all of us have some sort of a belief, you wouldn't be human if you didn't. I myself believe in God but I wouldn't want to debate that with you. It is kind of funny but we all wonder around in this great big world needing to believe in something and some of us try to just rationalize things and no one really really knows for sure. But, I will tell you this, that is where faith comes in. I respect you for standing up for your beliefs and I can only hope that some of the people that believe like I do had that strong of convictions and walked the way they talked, tolerance not judgement is the key to understanding.

Anything we do or any stance we adopt will offend someone, so I believe (gee, an atheist with a belief!) you can breathe more easily now :)

I think you have come closest to my belief system out of everyone on here. I agree with you completely. I do not describe myself as an Atheist either and to be honest when people say this I have to cringe for much the same reason that you do. I dont mean to offend people either but it just amazes me that in this day and age there are still people who will hold blindly to their faith despite all we have come to know about ourselves and the world around us. I have to admit the idea of faith is certainly intriguing as it makes our impending deaths a little easier to take....lol. Any way I just wanted to leave this comment for you its nice to meet like minded individuals.