One of the raging debates in the atheosphere, not to mention the rest of the reality based community, is what atheists should call themselves. One might say “Well, duh! Atheists!” However for a number of reasons that has become more and more unsatisfactory.
First, there is the baggage, unjustified, but nevertheless there, that seems to tag along with the term. Negative connotations abound, from the fact that various mass murderers in history self-described as atheists, to the general feeling, again unjustified, that atheism is equated with immorality. Usually, it’s religious people who think the latter, due to the indoctrinations of their various cults, (I’m looking at you, Christians) and even if the sentiment is not rationally supported, it’s there. A stigma attaches to the word, and it’s hard to shake.
Second the term itself is simply the negation of the word theism, which by itself presumes and gives validity to the root word. As some of us have been discussing here, the term implies a lack of something that atheists feel no lack of. We are not missing theism, because theism is actually a virus that has attached to humanity that we have simply and successfully inoculated ourselves against. We’re deficient in theism only in the same sense that we are deficient in cancer.
Attempts have been made to find another term, the most well known being advanced by the Bright campaign. However, that term just hasn’t caught on, I think, because of its condescending implication that those who are not bright are, well, dim. It’s well meaning, yet ultimately falls a bit short of the mark of attempting to have the world accept and embrace a term for atheists as it did for gays.
However, I’m happy to say that in one of the comments in the discussion above, I think we’ve found a good word. The Exterminator, our resident wordsmith, has thrown into the ring the word:
making we atheists, faithfreeists, who regularly discuss their freedom from faith in the Faithfreeosphere. The pronunciation is with emphasis on the first syllable so that it rhymes and sounds like atheism. Thusly:
FAYTH ′ free izm
It has the advantage of being self-explanatory and self-defining. It’s not the negative of a positive worldview, it’s simply a statement that the proponent is free of faith, and instead uses logic, reason and critical thinking to structure his/her life. Initially, it doesn’t slip off the tongue as readily as atheism, since one has to get one’s tongue around those two “f”s in one word, but with a little practice, it works quite well.
I like the word. I like it enough to blog about it, and try to get it out there into the faithfreeosphere, and better yet, into the MSM (Main Stream Media).
I think others should do so too. Pass it along.
I’m thrilled to be the first faithfreeist to second your motion, SI.
Still, I am having difficulty saying “the Faithfreeosphere.” I guess that’s good; if you don’t have the stick-to-it-iveness to learn how to pronounce that word, you’re probably not self-confident enough to be a faithfreeist.
I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but I can’t endorse this label. I think it assumes too much about atheists, whereas the term “atheist” is always accurate, as it doesn’t imply anything other than a lack of belief in gods. Saying that someone is free of faith makes it sound like that person is rational in all areas of life, which is overly presumptuous. Not all atheists are as rational as many of us here in the atheosphere (including commenters such as myself) would like.
I don’t have a problem with trying to make theists more comfortable with us and whatever label we use, but I don’t think the label should venture into territory that it has no justification for being in. “Faithfreeist” is at least as presumptuous as “Bright”, IMO, and possibly more.
Let’s keep trying, although I’m not sure there can be anything else that would work if we don’t wish to be deceptive about it.
Not anything besides “atheist”, that is.
I’ll be sticking with “atheist.” Any baggage it has gathered is due to ignorance, and I’m not content to leave that alone.
Have to agree with vjack, though I’m happy to include it in a whole bunch of terms that seem to provide definition to how I see myself.
All single word definitions seem to miss the mark in one way or another. The problem for faithfreeist is that it does not roll easily off the tongue. I feel like Daffy Duck when I say it.
This grew out of a discussion about the definition for atheism, or more specifically a rejection of that “lacking belief” bullshit.
Well we know at least 21% of us aren’t free of faith from that recent survey, right? Sadly, I do think it’s worse since there are people who have faith in certain nonsensical things beyond religion like ghosts and psychics and lucky ties.
I’d say faithfreeist is a more discerning label, an elitist label if you will, and I’m quite comfortable with self identifying as an elitist. 😉
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It took a bit of getting used to, but I am already comfortably describing myself as a faithfreeist. The trick is to make sure you don’t have too much saliva in your mouth when you say it…
The thing about the term “faithfreeist” is that it doesn’t have to be synonymous with “atheist” (although the rhyme is a nice bonus for the poetically inclined among us). It implies freedom from faith, not disbelief in a god, and as such applies to our views on all manner of woo – reiki, qigong, shiatsu, crystal healing, ayurveda, homeopathy, psychic powers etc. etc. If anything, it’s a more useful term as it’s more all-encompassing, and sounds much better than “sceptic”.
I tried an experiment yesterday. Instead of atheist, I went by “candy”. Unfortunately, most people thought I was a stripper. On the plus side, I did make almost seventy bucks.
Still, I think I’ll be sticking with atheist and/or secular humanist. If I go with “candy”, I’ll have to buy more thongs. This one is all stretched out now.
And it’s hard to close a wallet that has 70 $1 bills.
I beg to differ. Belief in a god is based on… faith. No faith, no belief.
Modusoperandi said: This one is all stretched out now.
you have to be careful when wearing an IED
PhillyChief “And it’s hard to close a wallet that has 70 $1 bills.”
We have $1 (and $2) coins here. It’s exhilarating to have seventy bucks worth of coins jingling in a man-thong on a clear, chilly evening. I highly recommend it. The police, not so much.
Evo “you have to be careful when wearing an IED”
A rolled up sock in a banana hammock hardly qualifies as an IED. I’ve said too much.
I was born a crankyoldbastardist and intend to die a crankyoldbastardist. None of this wussy faithfreeist stuff, by gum! Besides anyone with a speech impediment is going to spew spit all over the place trying to say ffist.
I sort of like “faithfree,” – I like the appeal to liberty, freedom, etc. – but it seems to have the same problem as atheist: we’re defining ourselves in direct contradiction to those who have faith. Can’t we coin a term that doesn’t refer to faith, theism, belief, etc.? Just a thought.
Better than theismfreeists, I suppose.
Either way, I’m not sure that the likely connotations evoked by the term will be congruous with the intended ones.
Actually, if you Google the keyword “faithfree,” the program is convinced that you must have fucked up your spelling:
Did you mean: faithful
No, that’s not what I meant you propagandistic electronic theocrat.
I got: Did you mean: faithfest 🙂
It does appear to be a neologism, since all the references are from this discussion’s participating threads.
Perhaps we should just call ourselves FaithFuckers? We flip the bird at faith. We tell faith to go fuck itself. We fart in the general direction of faith. We hold it in contempt, have pure disdain for it, and in general, fuck it.
There, I feel better.
I suspect my old girlfriend Faith might take offense…
Was she the lovely lass that kept coming up in my google image searches for “faith free”, Ric?
Wait, let me go look… yeah, the blonde…
If the Lion would quit losing hot women he could stop complaining about lack-o’-lay.
So that’s what it’s called…
It worked as a marketing tool for McDonald’s fishburgers. Perhaps we should adopt “free o’ faith”, instead?
I think faith free is a healthy tag, a mental healthy tag, like how some foods are labeled as fat free. Keeping in line with food, I’d say people indulge in faithy crap for the same reasons they indulge in fatty crap, because it makes them happy and feel good, despite the obvious health risks.
You’ve been whoring for Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches ever since I’ve known you, and you have the sheer AUDACITY to write I’d say people indulge in faithy crap for the same reasons they indulge in fatty crap….
I’ve been an atheist all my life, but nobody is gonna take my lard away from me without a fat … I mean fight.