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An atheist is still in a theist paradigm.

In describing yourself, when you use broad categorizations, such as I'm black or I'm white, or I'm a chemist or a I'm a physicist or I'm an electrician, or I'm an atheist or I'm agnostic or I'm religious or I'm Jewish, you are saying that the questions that these are answers to are important to you. They have meaning and value, and are worthwhile ways of categorizing yourself.

My idea is that we should be careful of the categorizations we have for ourselves. I, personally, am religious, so I give that question a lot of weight, but for someone who is atheist, or someone who doesn't tend to consider religious questions and such, it seems as though the question has little bearing, though there may be exceptions. It is not applicable in one's self concept. If you characterize yourself as an atheist, you are still in a theistic paradigm. So, my idea is to stop thinking of yourself as such.

While I am thinking particularly of this instance of religion, the idea has wider applications too. For example, in talking of one's skin colour. It is at times useful in helping to identify someone, but otherwise the distinction made between people with different skin tones is usually not an actually relevant question, not to say that heritage and ethnicity (important in the cultural differences and the genetic differences that are consistent across a particular group) aren't applicable.

My idea is mostly related to self concept though. To other who give value to those questions, it is entirely valid to answer them. Religion may not be important to you, but to your associates for which it is, you can still tell them that you are atheist, though if that was the case for me I'd say 'I do not adhere to any religion or believe in God', so as to still come from somewhat outside of that way of thinking.

Individuals of the TED community, what thinkest thou?


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    Oct 19 2011: AETHISM:
    1.the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
    2.disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    Aethism is the non belief of god. Nothing else. It is not a philosophy, it is not a religion, it is not a group or society.Also, our brain is forced to categorize people into groups whether we try to or not. Girl-Boy. Black-White-Latin.Our brain has to catergorize people in order to remember and organize them into its complex memory.

    So, I'm not sure what you mean when you say "My idea is that we should be careful of the categorizations we have for ourselves."
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      Oct 19 2011: Atheism is a worldview.
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        Oct 19 2011: that is utterly wrong. I would love to hear your vindication for such a claim.
        • Oct 20 2011: I would first like to hear why it is wrong. How are we expected to debate a claim with a statement like "that is utterly wrong".

          Prehaps you could say why you believe that the point is wrong so that we might better understand your point of view?
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        Oct 20 2011: The reason why it is incorrect to state that atheism is a worldview or philosophy is because a disbelief in a higher deity is just that. Nothing more nothing less. One not believing in god is not going to have devastating effects on the world. One misconception about atheist is that they are morally bankrupt. This is false claim being that western religions in particular do not have what we would deem to be good moral precepts. Atheist are just like your everyday human being. We work, we go to school, we get married, we have families. The only difference between an atheist and a theist is this belief in God. we do not believe that there is a God watching us, giving us salvation and life. Atheist can indeed be spiritual (in the context of having transformative experiences, meditating, contemplating, etc)

        Secondly there is not philosophical basis for atheism. It does not have certain values, beliefs, standards, etc that can be followed. There is no book giving guidelines on how to be an atheist. Atheist simply believe that there is not enough evidence for a higher deity and that god does not have anything to do with human affairs. Plus having a disbelief in god does not get me through the day, there are other motivating factors. All because I do not believe in god does not mean that I do not value life.

        to sum things up, weather or not God exist, life goes on. We should enjoy it the best way we can.
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          Oct 21 2011: If anything, knowing that we will die and that there may not be anything after we die is a great motivator to spend what little time we have on this world to be a good human being.

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