“Atheist” Is Just A Word

In general conversation, the word “atheist” is, in itself, irrelevant. A non-starter.

In fact, the only time the word comes into play is in religious discussions when it is often used derisively to describe folks who simply live life and accept things as they come — individuals who see no need to attribute events or actions to any “thing” or any “one.” IOW… people who are generally content with the idea that “it is what it is.”

No special identifier required.

Yet there are multiple blogs and other online media that carry on extensive and lengthy discussions to discredit this tangential word.

For example, it is the claim of religious believers that “atheists” are prone to ignore the glorious wonders all around them. They adamantly contend it is more than obvious that everything humans see and experience is the result of some phenomenal guy-in-the-sky. In their view, there simply is no other way to explain who we are and why we exist.

By contrast, those who refute the existence of this “celestial” entity/being are far more inclined to view life as a result of natural forces present in the Universe. And based on this perspective, they tend to live each day without expectation (or testament) of any preternatural events.

Further, the claim by religious believers that there is something beyond this life is viewed by the “atheists” as an inherently unproven event. And any tales of “near death” experiences are instinctively filed under “Fiction.”

This is why scores of non-labeled individuals find joy and happiness in their daily living. They fully recognize and accept that their presence in this world is based on a combination of circumstances that came together at an opportune moment. They feel no need or reason to either credit nor acknowledge any extraneous “source” for their good fortune.

Ironically, however, while these same folk find no substance in the claims of the religious, some have discovered the benefits of following the advice offered by a fellow named Luke:

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”


Image by Thomas Mühl from Pixabay

50 thoughts on ““Atheist” Is Just A Word

  1. This is so good, that one like is not enough. So I have to reply.

    “This is why scores of non-labeled individuals find joy and happiness in their daily living.”

    Yes, exactly this.

    It gets tiring to hear the many accusations of evil against atheists. But there is nothing wrong with a live and let live outlook on life.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Speaking for yourself, of course, Nan. While I don’t think any being of any kind is in control of the universe, I do see life as much bigger than what we get here on Earth. You can say all you want about NDEs, and I certainly do say what I want about religious NDEs, I have had my own experiences — as you know — and I cannot deny them. But still I call myself an Atheist because that is an English word that I resonate with.
    There is nothing wrong with a live and let live outlook on life because that is how anyone who is someone lives anyway. There are those who need to believe someone else is in control, so let them believe that, because thinking it cannot make it so, just like not thinking it does not make it so. Whatever life is has nothing at all to do with how we choose to live it. Our beiief systems, or unbelief, or non-belief, matters not one iota. And that is the truth of life. Life is. And if life is nothing, big deal! We’ll never know.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I’m aware of your NDE, but the reference in my post to these experiences was based on the ones that believers say they’ve had where they see angels, Jesus, glimpses of “heaven,” etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, religious NDEs as I call them. But while that is what you meant you were not precise. You wrote, “And any tales of “near death” experiences are instinctively filed under “Fiction.”” You made a blanket statement that I had to dispute. I accept that you and a lot of people file my experiences under “Fiction,,” but not every atheist does, so your statement is inherently wrong. So, as I said, those words are “your words.”
        I do not deny that other people have NDEs, I just say what they see is coloured by what they are taught to expect to see. The power of suggestion is highly contagious. It is hard enough being somewhere that you never in your life expected you could be, so the mind can play any trick it wants to retain sanity. I never had much use for sanity, so maybe that allowed me to see something different.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Not taking offence, Nan. Just clarifying. You started the post by saying “In general conversation, the word “atheist” is, in itself, irrelevant. A non-starter.” So to me this is not a post about religious beliefs, but about the value of words. I don’t agree that the word “atheist” is irrelevant. If I start a conversation with someone I just met, I often throw in the words “atheist” or “atheism” to get a reaction. Even as you say, such words are anathena to the religious. So why not find out right away if a person is religious, and how religious they are. If they run away screaming, I just saved a lot of time. Better to get it out of the way up front, instead of leading them along and having them find out later. I’ve lost a lot of “friendships” that way. But I have also gained some good friends that way, even friends who are religious. So, I find the word “atheist” a very valuable word, and I have no compunctions about using it.
          When you write, and others too, I read every word. Maybe I make words more important than the writer intends them, but that is my nature. Most words have value. I like to understand that value.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Who cares what the so-called believers say? Besides, I once read (I think it was in a book by Starhawk) that people see what they expect to see. So Christians see Jesus & angels, pagans see various gods & goddess & perhaps fairies, & so on. Everyone sees the deities they’ve been conditioned to see & if you don’t believe in any of that, you see something totally different or maybe you see nothing at all. But honestly … what difference does it make?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Raina, I guess you missed the irony.

      Believers are certain there is an afterlife and they live their lives accordingly. However, according to their bible (in Luke, 1Kings, and Isaiah), one should not worry about the future! Just eat, drink, and be merry. IOW, we’re all going to die so why not enjoy this life!

      And THAT is what many “so-called” atheists do! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I often miss the way other people feel about things related to time and the future (my feelings about time are a little weird, I think) – I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t see how ‘believers’ are living their lives their lives in accordance with belief in an afterlife by rejecting that advice.


  3. One could make the empty claim that the only difference between atheist and a theist is space, but I’ve having none of any of it. What it comes down to is the difference between knowing and believing. When you don’t know (and who does?), I suppose you can believe what you want….which, in a manner of supposing, I guess I just did.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Our human brains manipulate us, play funny tricks and fool us all. That is the simple explanation for anything and everything that conjures any supernatural experiences including gods.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Once you understand that religion is merely a warm fuzzy blanket for people who are still afraid of the dark, the whole thing becomes comical.

    The ridiculous claims made by and for religion, comical. The lengths apologists will go to, tying themselves into pretzels attempting to defend their faith, comical. The extent that cranks, kooks, and crazies,(also preachers!) will go, arguing till blue in the face that they are right, only they get it, everyone else is doomed to hell and damnation, comical. Sad? Yes. Pathetic? Yes. And yet, still comical.

    The not so funny part is the power these simpletons have in politics.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Religion
      To the believers, it is true.
      To the wise, it is false.
      To the leaders, it is useful.
      Seneca the Younger

      4 BCE 69 CE ~ Understanding the false premise of religion is as old as religion.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Wise men come and go. Unfortunately religion hangs on like a god damn cocklebur on your sock.

        Or a fat tick on a dogs neck. Which is a more apt description IMO, as religion is a parasite upon humanity. Giving many conmen a means to gain something from nothing. From the shaman rattling bones, to the silly hats and robes, it’s been one hell of a con for as long as humanity has been around.

        We have come too far for religion to still be a cocklebur on our damn socks.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Religion was developed by a coward who was scared to go hunting dangerous animals. In order to stay part of the clan he invented invisible spirits that only he could talk to, and intercede with, so that he would appear useful and necessary.. He had no idea he was inventing teligion, though, he was just trying to save his own skin. But it worked, and other scared men copied him, until the clans all had cowards — and people who believed they were useful. And thus the survival of the fittest added a new category, the fittest bullshitter. And humanity has gone downhill ever since.

          Liked by 2 people

        • I always figured some early hominid bum got lucky with a prediction of some sort, that was mistakenly interpreted by ignorant humans, as some insight to the gods. Then they heaped rewards on the guy and he had a moment there, he had the moment to set them straight, thought about the newfound praise and free food, and lo, religion was born. Apologetics was born the following week when a new prediction failed.

          Liked by 3 people

  6. From a long time ago … To be Gnostic [nos-tic`] is Greek to know, or more accurately to choose to know. As a-typical (atypical) is to be not-typical, a-political (apolitical) is to be not-political, etc. a-gnostic (agnostic) [ag.nos-tic`] is to not know, or more accurately to choose, not to know.

    Let’s not get sidetracked, A-Theism (atheism) is not-theism. Theism is the fervent belief in gods or deities – religion. Atheism is not-religion. No Religion.

    Atheism rejects belief in an unknowable. War is not the answer. Next question.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Very good post Nan.

    Last night I watched a Bill Moyer interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. His explanation for the existence of god or gods was to explain the ‘gap theory.’ Mankind was quite happy to have things as they were until we reached the limit of our understanding of any particular subject. At that point, any further explanation was attributed to the gods. A person experiencing an epileptic seizure was, by the early understanding, inhabited by the devil. Anything beyond their early knowledge was attributed to some unknown entity, good or evil. In this day, this age of the expansion of our understanding of things, the notion of a god should have long ago been cast aside. The idea of god, Tyson said, should be directed at emerging civilizations.

    Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.”

    Liked by 4 people

  8. As a gloomier person who tends to cynicism, anyone who looks at the horrors of the world, natural and human, and attributes agency and a plan to some “god” can only conclude that such a god is a horror. “If a god of life and love ever existed, he is long since dead. Some one…some thing rules in his place. “ (The Masque of the Red Death). I don’t find theism, especially the Abrahamic versions, comforting at all. What is the Good news they blithely claim? I see horror. Better to accept the (flawed) reality without claiming a conscious monster pulls all the strings.

    Liked by 3 people

    • What “they” claim is that humans are born to suffer, and then they go about taking things away from humans so that humans end up suffering! How rich is the Catholic Church? How poor are most of its adherents. Remember when Catholics sold tickets to heaven to the rich? Princes and rich businessmen and wealthy landowners gave great fortunes to the Church to ensure their place in Heaven! When Martin Luther protested this kinds of “protection racket” did he stop taking money from the poor, or the rich? No, he just told people they had to work harder, and give whatever was of vslue to them. It was just another con like Catholicism.
      I will not talk about other un-Christian religions, I do not know enough about them to be intelligent, but they too have cons they run. It is the nature of the beast.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I feel the same way about extraterrestrial aliens visiting Earth as I do about angels and gods. If they exist and are good guys, they would be helping us. If they exist and are bad guys they would be screwing with us.

      It could be that they are just observing us, in which case, screw them, they are bad guys. If they are paying attention to what’s going on on planet earth, they are a sorry race for not helping. Come on, give us a bone here.

      It could be that they are screwing with us on a monstrous scale and we are not aware of it. If this were true, there would not be such an anarchistic society and Earth society would be living by their plan. If they could control the planet, they would control the planet.

      It could be that we are some sort of grand planetary societal experiment, in which case, screw them, they are bad guys. Their experiment sucks and is putting unnecessary and cruel hardship on sapient creatures. It is not possible for an advanced society to let a planet exist in such misery, sheesh, even some lowly humans have recognized the ethical treatment of creatures of lesser intelligence.

      Of course it could be that there are no angels, aliens or gods. This would go a long way explaining the situation we find ourselves in, here on planet Earth.

      As you can see, the inaction in every scenario significantly indicates that angels, aliens and gods do not exist.

      Unfortunately, this also means that if there are angels, aliens and gods, they are the bad guys.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Think I might pass on your fine offer Arkesatan. I have more than enough of them surrounding me in every direction and 200-300 miles deep in every direction on the compass too! 🥴

          Actually Chaz Stevens—the activist in the article you linked to—has it all wrong too, as much as he thinks Muslims do! HAH! 😄

          Since Yeshua bar Yosef, Chaz Stevens’ presumed Lord & Savior “Christ Jesus,” was unequivocally Sectarian Jew, spoke, read, and wrote in Mishnaic Hebrew (in Judean synagogues) and Syro-Aramaic out in public among fellow rural Jews… he is also tricking or trapping not only ignorant Texan/American Christians and presumably American Muslims as well, but he has totally duped, tricked himself as well by NOT putting “In God We Trust” into Mishnaic Hebrew and/or Syro-Aramaic! BWAAAAA! A phrase he nor any American/Texan Christian could read/understand nor many/most American Muslims. 😉

          An asinine idea, if I can say so myself, and especially so since Chaz has no clue himself!!! 🤣

          Liked by 1 person

  9. The word atheism is the most obvious antonym to theism. Like many words (e.g., criticism, propaganda, democracy, socialism, communism, etc.), it has been distorted by those who choose to manipulate words for their own purposes. In structure, atheism means “without a god” (and the word “god” is usually capitalized). In and of itself, it does not imply “what you see is what you get” nor “this life is all there is”. The concept of existing before and not existing after this form of reality doesn’t require the existence of a superior being. It might be as simple as “that’s just the way it is”.

    “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Liked by 3 people

  10. My two-cents worth Nan. While we Atheists and Humanists live life FULLY, with humility, gratitude, and gaze upon this Earth’s and the Universe’s overwhelming sophisticated, intricate (to the subatomic) splendor, as well as its daunting power and insensitivity to our own miniscule whims or superstitions—IOW, a wonderful balance, like it or not—this is all I say with a huge grin to anyone who doubts me and our world-view and life-perspective…

    “Life plays and swims in delightful paradox while the [religious] kill-joys go mad.”
    — Me, the Professor 🙂

    We just buried our 16-yr old family cat, Foster, today at 1:30pm. He passed away fast and peacefully last night about 10:30pm CST. He was very, VERY loved.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. My understanding, pardon me for butting in again… is that Atheism and Agnosticism deal with two different questions. One deals with Belief, the other with Knowledge. I think the same rather applies with Theism as well. It’s not that we believers “Know” or are “Certain” as Nan has said in the comments above… its that we Believe. We have Faith. Some christians like myself are even willing, under some scrutiny and even risking ridicule from both sides of the question, to admit we don’t “know” that God exists or that Heaven, however it’s described, is waiting for us after we “shuffle off this mortal coil”… but we Believe, we have Faith. If that makes us seem “juvinile” or fearful to those who don’t believe… I for one and ok with that. God is the one who reveals, convinces and convicts… not me. Just my 2 cents for the convo. Thx.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I must admit, Nan, I read your post several times and I’m still uncertain of your point. As much as I dislike self-identifying as atheist, it is the (only) word used to identify someone who does not or cannot claim to believe in any god.

    Your comment, “And THAT is what many “so-called” atheists do!” confused me. Am I so-called?

    I go to doctors, exercise (in some pain, usually), I take meds, I eat mostly well, but I had cake last night (just wanted some), and some may think I drink too much wine/beer and write too much poetry (and maybe I do). None of that is because I am atheist. Actually, I cannot think of much I do or do not do because I identify as atheist.

    If I had favorite parts of the Bible, they’d be in Ecclesiastes. I know Jews and Protestants do not consider that Cannon: I did. And of course I live well because, maybe not tomorrow, but I will die and I’d like to make the best of this life. If tomorrow I had a real epiphany and “found” god, none of that I said about how I live would change.

    Epicurean? If I am (and I could be), that would align philosophically with living well. But it would have little to do with believing a god exists. I’m stopping here before I get lost. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, Bill, I’m glad you asked because it has seemed apparent to me as I’ve read the various comments that I didn’t make my point. *sigh*

      Yes, “atheist” does signify a person that doesn’t believe in god(s). But WHEN must a person even need to use the word? ONLY In RELIGIOUS discussions (see my first paragraph). Otherwise, by itself, it has no meaning. And this was my point. It’s “just a word.”

      The use of “so-called” (with quotes) was just one more effort on my part to indicate that for all intents and purposes, atheist is just a descriptive word used by Christians to disdain those who reject belief in their god when really, it’s simply someone who accepts whatever happens in life without making religiously oriented value judgments.

      Quite frankly, in some of things you wrote in your comment, I felt like you “got my point” without even realizing it. 🙂

      Sorry for the confusion. At least you weren’t the only one!!

      Liked by 3 people

      • ((bows and tips my hat)).
        I’m Irish, Nan. It sometimes takes me a minute. Thanks for the clear up, and you’re right.
        We agree. I do dislike that fact that the ‘word’ makes belief and religion the default, when we are born without religion or belief.
        Also, I never use the term except when I write about it. It serves no purpose and I fear that most believers get it wrong anyway. So , why bother?
        Thank you for taking the time to show me the light (LOL) 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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