Anything But “Atheist”

In Letting Go of God, Julia Sweeney talks about her parents finding out about her atheism.

She says:

“I think my parents had been mildly disappointed when I told them I didn’t believe in God anymore, but being an ‘atheist’ was another thing altogether!”

That’s the idea behind this cartoon:

anything_but_that

(via Atheist Cartoons)

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean Sean

    Funny. My dad is a little like this. There just seems to be a line his brain won’t cross.

  • Onotheo

    I have been called atheist by some family members long before I became one. I though, what a ridiculous idea they have.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Not believing in g0d is OK but actually not believing in g0d is a line that you just can’t cross. ???

  • http://toomanytribbles.blogspot.com/ toomanytribbles

    i had a similar reaction from a contact on FB. she said, loosely, ‘i can understand your not being religious, but… atheist??’

  • AxeGrrl

    Onotheo wrote:

    I have been called atheist by some family members long before I became one. I though, what a ridiculous idea they have.

    *teehee*

    that’s kind of like those of us with gaydar seeing someone (often, it’s suburban soccer moms hehe) and thinking/saying: ‘hey, _i_ can tell they’re clearly gay, why haven’t they figured it out yet?’
    :)

  • Richard Wade

    The word has become a vulgar term. You can say you don’t believe in gods or anything supernatural, and many people will shrug their shoulders. But say you’re an atheist and they say, “Eewwwww!”

    There’s something about the very sound of the word as well. It’s a little ugly. Some words just have ugly sounds, and their meanings are often ugly too. Hemorrhoid. Phlegm. Sleaze. Puke. Smog. Muck. Scum. Turd. Phelps.

  • AxeGrrl

    Richard Wade wrote:

    There’s something about the very sound of the word as well. It’s a little ugly. Some words just have ugly sounds, and their meanings are often ugly too. Hemorrhoid. Phlegm. Sleaze. Puke. Smog. Muck. Scum. Turd. Phelps.

    I’d like something that (literally) feels good to say….like…..

    godlesssssssssssssss heathenssssssssssssss

  • Robin

    Kind of reminds me of my mom.
    Me: Actually, I’m an atheist.
    Mom: No you’re not.
    Me: Yeah, I am.
    Mom: Robin, an atheist means you don’t believe in god.
    Me: Mom, I don’t believe in god.
    Mom: Oh. Then I guess you are.

  • http://irresistibledisgrace.wordpress.com Andrew S.

    I much prefer the term “apostate” or “son of perdition”. Makes me sound like an evil villain.

  • ursulamajor

    The same thing happens with the term “feminist”. I’ve had huge arguements with women that run their own companies and make all the decisions in their families. These are women that clearly control everyone and everything they see. They vote, take part in local politics, work in women’s shelters and yet freak if you say that they are a feminist. “I believe in women’s rights. I believe that women are men’s equals. I dare a man to tell me otherwise. But I am NOT a feminist!”

  • Brett

    This came up when I “came out” as an atheist to my parents. They were much less upset when I explained that I didn’t dislike christians, I was still a good man by the standards they raised me by (with some slight differences that were nothing that couldn’t be found at a liberal church), and most importantly I wasn’t making any silly claims about “knowing” there was no god.

    I thought the third one was a funny distinct, but one atheists should take seriously. The difficulties with proving non-existence mean that we’re stuck with just knowing that god is unlikely. Very, very, unlikely. I wanted to bring that up because even fundamentalist Christians can be intelligent people that will catch you showing faith in a lack of God right after insulting their faith. They associated this behavior with the word “Atheist” because of past media exposure to atheists who felt that way.


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