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View Diary: Atheist Digest '10, The believers' path to Atheism (212 comments)

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  •  Good catch. Diarist, what precisely is the (0+ / 0-)

    difference between "non-theism" and "atheism"?

    Atheism means lacking belief in gods. Nontheism means lacking belief in gods. What's the difference?

    Atheism is not anti-theism. If you had written, "often misinterpreted", at least we might think you are attempting to to avoid a term that has been associated with pejorative stereotypes - and attempt which, ironically, ends up perpetuating them.

    But, since you wrote "often interpreted", I'm confused. Do you interpret "atheist" as anti-theist"?

    So, what's the difference between non and a?

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 01:06:26 AM PDT

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    •  Many of the most vocal atheists are anti-theists. (1+ / 0-)
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      wilderness voice

      Christopher Hitchens, for example. In addition to being a nonbeliever, he is avowedly anti-theist, attibuting many of the worst turns in human history to religious belief. Many atheists agree with him.  However, the conflation of not believing in a God with anti-religiosity, has confused and distorted public reaction to the broad term "atheism". If it were up to me (which it isn't), I'd prefer to see a clear distinction since there are proud atheists of both stripes: anti-theists and not anti-theists, with many shades in between.  To me, non-theism is synonimous with atheism but without the added baggage of IMPLYING anti-theism.

      But all this is just my own point of view.  I don't think there's any "correct" way of thinking about this.  But I do get concerned that we don't create our own dogma traps, of the sort that many believers are so drawn to.

      All right, then, I'll go to hell. - Mark Twain

      by seethruit on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 10:06:05 AM PDT

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      •  You did not answer the question (1+ / 0-)
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        The question was not what misunderstandings do the public have about the meaning of terms, or what does one atheist or another believe.

        The question was, what is the actual difference between the terms "atheist" and a "nontheist"?

        I'd like to hear the diarist's answer. If the only answer is, as you imply, that he is afraid of what theists might think, and so is using a code-word, that tells us one thing.

        The diary, however, implied a material difference between "atheist" and "nontheist".

        What is that difference?

        Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 10:38:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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