I don't agree that people should have to adopt the word "atheist" simply because the definition fits. Why can't a person just have self-definition/self-description without having to use a word that someone else created? For example, me and some of my friends decided to not have children. Yet, if tonite someone declared the word for not having kids was "nobabyism," then so what? Would I go around telling people I'm a "nobabyist?" Some people might and that's okay for them, but for me, if someone asks, I'd rather say, " I choose not to have children." So, if asked, why can't I say, "I don't believe in a theology." Why do I have to give that a label? If it's comfortable for you to give it a label, then great, go for it. It just bugged me that Matt said that not using a label when it fits is dishonest. To me, that's telling people how to live. Labels can be useful esp for debate or education, but I feel how I describe myself is very personal. And considering that most language was made up before I even arrived on the planet, why should I have to adopt a word just b/c someone else made it up? What if I decided to make up a word, let's say, "Bananapersona" to describe people who eat a banana every day? I wouldn't see you as dishonest for not telling people you are a "bananapersona"? Why couldn't you just be like, "Hey, I"m Matt and I like me some dang bananas?" I believe people should have total freedom to describe themselves in a way that feels right to them.
There is a huge difference between NOT using the label "atheist," to self-describe, even though you are an atheist, versus denying that you are an atheist when you are asked if you are an atheist.
There is, in fact, a label for couples without children. That would be "childless." You are free to say "I choose not to have children" when asked if you have children. But it would be dishonest to reply to someone who asks "Oh, then you're childless?" with "no." It would not only be dishonest, but confusing--considering that you are, in fact, childless. The correct response, based on your position, would be "I am childless, but I don't like labels. So, I just like to say I choose not to have children."
Some people don't self-describe as atheists, but when asked point blank, they also don't lie--they just notify the asker that they don't like to use labels to describe themselves. Other people who don't believe a gods exist actually DO deny, dishonestly, they are atheists. These people are either lying or ignorant about what they are.
I hope this helps.
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From the officers:
The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, February 4th, 12:15pm at the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadaupe. Chase Hunter will speak on "Inside Scientology 2: the Sea Org". The lecture is free and open to the public. The building opens at noon.