Why should I call myself an Atheist?

Uploaded by Doubter5 on 06.05.2012

>> Brian: Well, thanks for going with me tonight. I thought it was a very interesting speaker.
>> Julie: Me too.. But I don't know why he thinks that I need to use the term Atheist
to describe myself. I admit that I don't believe in god, but I'm not an atheist!
>> Brian: That's interesting that you put it that way. What do you think an atheist
is, exactly?
>> Julie: Well, isn't an atheist a loud militantly anti religious person? Someone with a political
agenda? I'm not like that at all. I'd rather just call myself an Agnostic.
>> Brian: You could call yourself that of course, and it would be true! But it only
means that you don't know wether a god exists or not. It doesn't say what you believe. Gnosticism
refers to your avowed state of knowledge, not your beliefs.
>> Julie: But if I'm an agnostic I'm just saying that I don't know if god is real. Isn't
that the same as saying I don't believe in god?
>> Brian: Technically, no, you're still only talking about your professed Knowledge. Not
what you believe. If I say I'm an atheist, it simply means I don't believe in Gods. Nothing
more than that. But I can also be an Agnostic as well. So, I'm an agnostic Atheist. That
just means that I don't know absolutely whether gods are real or not, but I don't believe
in them.
>> Julie: Ok, I think I understand. And between you and I, I guess I'm technically an Agnostic
Atheist also. But I still don't know why I have to call myself that. Why is it important
that I use the atheist label? It's got such negative baggage attached to it.
>> Brian: But where did that baggage come from in the first place? It came from religious
people claiming that Atheists are terrible people. It says right in the Bible that we're
"Fools", and they tell each other all the time that we're worthy of hell. We have to
fight that. We know we're good people.
And if we knuckle under to their pressure, and don't try to clear up the negative image
of us, then we're giving tacit approval to their claims.
And we're leaving our fellow atheists hanging out to dry, by saying that we're not with
>> Julie: But I hear in the news all the time that Atheists are loud, anti-religious, jerks.
>> Brian: Was Katherine Hepburn a jerk? What about Bertrand Russell, or Douglas Adams?
Or Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, or Arthur C. Clarke?
Sure some atheists have been loud and jerkish, but are we not human? And over the centuries
we've been put down, marginallized, imprisoned and even killed for our disbelief. I would
say we have good reason to be loud. We have good reason to shout from every roof-top on
the planet. But when one of us does speak up, there is no shortage of people ready to
jump down their throat and call themn loud and abrasive.
And you aren't a jerk. Most atheists aren't. Actually most atheists are just like you,
not even speaking out at all. They are in the closet, not sure what they should call
themselves. And many have good reasons for staying in the closet. Many would risk losing
not only friends, but jobs and family as well, if they spoke up about their disbelief. Heck,
some Atheists are preaching in churches now.
>> Julie: What?
>> Brian: Right, Daniel Dennett and Daan Barker have a program for Atheists who are still
preaching, and who cannot come out because of the potential loss of income friends and
So you see that the media, who is made up of mainly religious people themselves, have
biased your opinion of Atheists. Normal people who just don't believe in god. And that's
why all of us who can, need to stand up and be counted. We can no longer afford to sit
down and shut up.
So, it's important that when poll takers, and census people ask us what religion we
are, we need to actually check the box that says none. If we want to keep this country
from becoming another Theocracy, like Iran or Iraq.
>> Julie: Well, I have notice the Religious Right becoming more and more active and demanding.
Especially when it come to women's rights.
>> Brian: Yes, and right now it's contraception and your right to choose, how much longer
before they'll try to take your vote away, and your right to drive a car. All we need
to do is be silent, not speak out, and we can see those rights slowly eroded, in the
name of God.
Ever notice that Judaism, Islam and Christianity are all patriarchal in nature? They want women
to be quiet and subservient. They claim it's out of respect, and for protection. But even
if it is, the end result is that women revert to being a second class citizen again, like
the were a hundred years ago.
>> Julie: Well, if I do start using the Atheist label, what if I start losing friends?
>> Brian: Well, I found that friends that I lost when I started using it, were not much
of a loss. But the surprising thing was, that other people who don't believe in god, had
always assumed that I was religious because I was silent on the question. And they stayed
distant. Now it turns out we have a lot in common. And not some supernatural stuff that
we never could agree on, but real tangible stuff that makes a difference in this world.
Besides, I know you were born into a religious family. It must give you a great measure of
pride to have been able to finally get past all that indoctrination and brain-washing,
and finally come to freethought. You must want to let people know.
>> Julie: Yes, that's true. It does give me a good bit of pride. But I've always just
kept quiet about it.
>> Brian: Well, now's the time. Atheism is growing everywhere, and we need every voice
to carry the momentum.
>> Julie: Well, I'm still not convinced. But I do see your points, and they are good ones.
I guess I'll have to think about it. All in all it was a very interesting evening. Thanks!
>> Brian: My pleasure! Lets do it again sometime!