Ashamed to label myself an Atheist

I have been a “non-theist” for over 10 years now, but i would never label myself as an Atheist, and sometimes resort to call myself an Agnostic instead, even though it’s not a true representation of my beliefs, as i view Agnosticism in a friendlier light.

In my view the label has become more associated with hatred of religion, and less about the denouncement of theism. but i personally choose to maintain a level of respect and appreciation for the humanly ingrained concept of god and religion, even if i find it untrue and at times somewhat ridiculous, but i don’t see it as absolutely dangerous in its entirety as often portrayed by outspoken Atheist. Sure there are many religious loose nuts, but there are also many irreligious lunatics. Sure religion may encourage odd behaviour for some, but it can also help many unstable individuals find some peace.

I personally prefer not to be under the illusion of peace, but i can’t expect everyone else to be ready to accept this fact the same time i am. I am at peace that even if it’s a false, religions will be with us for a long time, and will in fact be a good source of peace and harmony for many.

So i am interested to know if there’s atheist authors or community who don’t thrive on provoking theists, as i believe thats not the only way to reach out to theists with years of deep rooted faith.

P.S as friendly and calm as he maybe, i still consider Sam Harris as a provocateur


I’m an agnostic atheist. I believe in zero gods and have no knowledge of any gods existing. You can lead a theist to reason, but you can’t make him/her think.

There was a point where i was a strong Theist and so were many other atheist, but i managed to walk myself out of it with reason and reflection.
Many theist would with the right attitude, but i find that many are put off by what seems to be aggressive and condescending modern atheist movement.

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“modern atheist movement …?”

I must have missed the memo for that one… perhaps you’d like to explain this “modern atheist movement”.

In my experience, the fact that we even exist (that people exist who don’t think god is real), already means we are going to be smeared with the labels aggressive, radical, hateful, and often much worse. I can’t say I recommend trying to appease someone who doesn’t think you should exist.


I think that comes with the assumption that the average religious joe, doesn’t believe you should exist as an atheist, but i don’t believe thats the case. i think the majority of religious people barely agree with the extreme bits of their religion, and just follow their inherited faith.

post 2006 neo atheism

I’ve not heard of this movement… does it have a hierarchy ? know a leader…a council perhaps ?
Is it orchestrated ,organized ,drilled or choreographed ?
Does it have “dogma”?
Does it have meetings, ordained meeting places ?
Are there uniforms ,special forms of address or secret hand shakes ?

Above all,does it have T shirt?

The Atheist Foundation Of Australia had all kinds or merchandise,AND they held an Annual Conference, usually in Canberra. Everyone was welcome. There wee lots speakers.I think they had Chris Hitchens once.

No, I didn’t go. I am not a militant atheist and have no time for those who are. As far as any kind of Atheist club or association, I’m with Groucho Marx

Sam Harris is a provocateur? Really I’ve heard the name of course, but that’s all. Has he broken the law?

Of what is he guilty? Trying to get the more rabid believers to engage their cerebral cortex?



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pro·​vo·​ca·​teur | \ prō-ˌvä-kə-ˈtər \

Definition of provocateur


2 : one who provokesa political provocateur

I truly have no idea what the ‘average Joe’ really thinks about me as an atheist.Couldn’t give a flying farnarckle as long as he isn’t abusive or violent. (We have anti hate speech laws here)

Australia is one of the most secular nations on earth. It is considered ill mannered to ask people about their personal beliefs, unless there is already a close relationship, so religion doesn’t come up all that much.

The Australian Labor party has a long tradition of open atheism among its members and elected officials, including several Prime Ministers.

But yes, I hold some believer sin contempt.These are the proselytisers, such as Mormons and JW’s. Even when a practising catholic, I always considered such people stunningly ignorant and arrogant.

Don’t get me wrong mate, i enjoy Sam Harris’s material, and agree with him on most fronts, i also find him to be the least provocative.
I am only wondering if there’s some outspoken Atheists thinkers, who don’t happen to view religion as the source of all doom for humanity.


I think almost certainly,at least in Australia .

IMO the people one runs across on atheist forums are atypical of the general atheist population.

I think the best word to describe the attitude of the average Aussie to religion OR atheism is indifference.

However,as a direct result of the child sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, there has been a strong ground swell of anger and contempt aimed the church.Not because of their religious teachings, but because a large number of their priests have been found to enjoy diddling little boys.AND because the church covered it up AND that the whole issue is systemic and seems to be centuries old.***

** Built on an aspect of Canon law most non catholics cannot grasp.IE that Canon law always trumps civil law. When a priest confessed to molesting children,traditionally he would be forgiven in confession, given a penance and possibly [but not invariably] moved. End of problem.

For centuries, no Catholic clergy could be tried by civil law, for any crime whatsoever.The person had to be handed over to the church for trial by a secret church body. Pretty sure the change of that law would have been seen as impertinence by the church and ignored a far as possible.

Even today,the secret of the confessional is still sacrosanct.A priest may reveal NOTHING heard in confession. In Oz, there is light at the end of that tunnel. I think it’s Queensland that has made it an offence for a priest not to report a crime heard in confession.

I really also want to see all religions paying tax,like any other business.

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The definition of atheist comes from placing the “a” in front of the word theist, indicating the opposite position. That in itself is not offensive, it is merely a description.

One either has one of two positions, they believe in a god, (theist) or do not believe in a god (atheist). If one takes any offense on just a descriptive word, they need to check their emotions at the door and figure out why they are offended. Just because a suspected rapist was described as wearing a baseball cap, I do not frown with distaste on all people who wear baseball caps.

Many atheists ( I am sure the great majority) live quietly, they do not voice their opinions, they just live their lives quietly and do not tell the world about their beliefs, or lack thereof. Any outspoken atheists have a certain opinion, and it usually is about religion. And usually not positive.

The christian bible is approximately 1200 pages, yet over 30,000 different sects have made 30,000 interpretations. Obviously this bible is not a concise book of instructions or guidance. My personal opinion is that the bible is one where anyone can derive any interpretation that suits their personal agenda. Pick and choose.

I was once a very spiritual person, being raised in a christian family. We read about all the positive and good things in the bible, and ignored the nasty stuff. But when I transitioned to becoming an atheist, I looked at the bible in it’s entirety. And from my unjaundiced eye, I saw a lot of nasty stuff from a petty and vindictive god, and the homicidal followers. I was no longer picking and choosing what I wanted from the bible. Yes, I still recognized the good stuff, but I also saw the nasty stuff too.

Religion once served a purpose, of providing a sense of community, offering a means of different cities and states to communicate, and providing guidance. If you edit out all the very nasty stuff from the bible. And in this age of greater enlightenment, all of the roles that religion has served can now be better served by other means. For instance, a suicidal person can now seek qualified and effective therapy, instead of being told to get on their knees and pray. And even a bowling league offers as much sense of community as a church.

If one was to visit any university teaching math or the sciences, the difference of now and a hundered years ago is profound, many great advances have been made and we understand people and this universe much more. If one was to visit a seminary, the difference between now and a hundred years ago is practically zero. Religion does not move forward, it does not advance humanity, it just clings to power and control. And if religion was unchecked by social pressure, it would drive humanity back to the dark ages, one of suffering and ignorance.

@ark06 If my words seem harsh, please remember I am not attacking you personally, I am attacking the message. This is how we can have a civil discourse, because we must be able to exchange opinions.

I do believe that religion in this modern world is more negative than positive for humanity. So I will attack religion, not quietly sit silent.

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First, welcome to the site.

Second, it appears you have no clue as to the meaning of the word “Agnostic.” So your interpretation of “Atheist” is probably just as bad. But let’s continue and see what you have to say.

The Fact that you do not see it, is not anyone’s problem but your own. IT IS DEMONSTRABLE!
Christians are willing to sacrifice their humanity for faith in an Iron Age faith in magical beings.

Exodus 21 People can own slaves as property. Probably why slavery is still legal in the USA.

Homosexual should be killed

Witches should be killed

People caught in adultery should be killed/

Unruly children should be beaten and killed.

Women are inferior to men

You deserve eternal torture and punishment for not believing the way they believe.

Morality is dictated by a book and a religion and not internalized according to the world around us.

Justifying the butchery of their god is insane.

Substitutional atonement is a fucking lark. The supreme being of the universe could think of no better way to forgive you than by sacrificing his own son.

Symbolic cannibalism is a fucking joke.

The very concept of “Original Sin” is an immoral teaching that holds you personally responsible for the torture and death of their god and makes you deserving of Hell.

The very idea that you have the power to offend a God is insane. And should you offend the all powerful creator of the universe, he is going to take some fucking time out of his day to fuck with your life. BULLSHIT

The idea of an all knowing god is BULLSHIT. He chose to create this world exactly as it is and with perfect foreknowledge already knew how everything was going to play out.

The difference between you and their fucking god is that if you were in a room watching a Girl getting raped, you might actually have the balls to do something to stop it.

Holding people responsible for the sins of their father, spreading feelings of guilt and requiring atonement is fucking insane.

How many more exampled do you need before you realize how fucking blind you are to the issue at hand?

People deserve respect - NOT RELIGIONS - and when people can not distinguish themselves from their idiotic beliefs. they get offended. Too bad!

No fucking shit! “Delusion” is probably a better word for it.

Being ignorantly blissful is not peace and harmony. Most of those people are locked up in psych wards. The village idiot is always smiling. You don’t get to be at peace or blissful all the time. There is a real world out there. There are problems you will have to deal with and not all of them will be fun. Throwing up your hands. turning it all over to God and then pretending it is taken care of so you can be at peace is not a fucking solution.

NO ONE HERE PROVOKES THEISTS. YOU ARE BUCKBOARD FOR SAYING SO. Atheists are not standing on street corners shouting God is a fraud. Atheists are not knocking on doors. Any theist that enters this site does so on their own free will. And when they spout nonsense. just like the bullshit you are spouting. they get called on it.

Then you are as blind and delusional as your post suggests.

ON A SIDE NOTE: Agnostic is not an alternative to atheist.

Do you believe in a God? Yes or NO. If you say “No” it does not fucking matter what you call yourself you are an atheist.

Agnosticism is not about belief. It is about KNOWLEDGE. Everyone is Agnostic. Christians are agnostic, atheists are agnostic, Buddhists are agnostic, absolutely everyone. Agnosticism is KNOWLEDGE ABOUT GOD. So given that there IS NO KNOWLEDGE what do you BELIEVE?


No theist has ever been kidnapped and forced into this forum at gunpoint. They enter at their own volition. The title of this forum is clear and not misleading.

But the price of admission is risking being offended. Adult discourse requires being willing to offend. I was slightly offended at your OP, “Ashamed to label myself an Atheist”. You were willing to offend me. You came in here willing to provoke atheists.

So suck it up buttercup, strap on your jockstrap and don’t go all “I am offended” nonsense.


Why do you assume agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive?


I don’t see all theists as dangerous, and I’m not sure I’ve heard an atheist claim they are, and even the most outspoken atheists, like the late Christopher Hitchens, whose book proclaimed "religion poisons everything, was careful to point out that not all theistic beliefs are comparably pernicious. However I fail to see the problem, each person is entitled to speak their mind after all.

Well that’s seems like a false equivalence fallacy, unless you can produce some tangible reason or objective evidence that non-belief in any deity is a contributory factor to such behaviour?

Do you think on balance the world is better off with theistic beliefs, as that seems to be what your statement is implying? If so I’m not fully convinced, and I would need to see some objective evidence to support that idea.

Again I’m very dubious, can you demonstrate any objective evidence for this idea that religion makes anyone more moral, as your assertion implies? In my opinion if someone needs the threat of hell, or the saccharine promise of heaven, in order to desist from violence then in my opinion they are at best amoral, or at worst extremely immoral, and given the religious texts most adhere to as divinely inspired, contain all the evidence one would need to be an evil amoral automaton, I find your claim pretty dubious. In my experience, and I’ll admit it is by necessity limited to those theists I know well, they are good or moral despite their beliefs, not because of them.

Well I;m not sure what you mean by provoking, but you should read some of the contributions by most of the theists who come here, I think you will find it very edifying. Reach out how exactly, regarding what? In my experience theists are pretty closed minded, and though I’ll admit there is no polite way to tell someone their most important belief is an unevidenced delusion, I still find most seek us out to attack our lack of belief, and even the meekest versions of this get pretty hostile when confronted with objective critical observations of their theism.

Again I don’t see the problem, as I don’t see how Sam Harris or anyone else for that matter, is obliged to temper their contempt for unevidenced superstition in order to protect the sensibilities of people who believe he is going to be tortured forever when he dies, just for not sharing that belief.


So, if a “belief” is passed down through generations and is “ingrained” … YOU

WHY? Which aspect of this “passed down superstition” deserves “respect”? A woman “knowing” her place (subject to father and husband - actually, any male)? So do YOU have an appreciation and respect for Saudi’s systems of belief, or is their form of “superstition” and passed down “belief” undeserving?

EDITED to add: “these” beliefs you respect have real world consequences through politics and societal acceptance.

What exactly is “provocative”? Asking questions? Asking for an acceptable level of evidence that’s falsifiable? Not accepting as “reasonable”, logical fallacies or “personal experiences and hearsay”?


Just a further thought. In the USA, the President caters to a portion of the population that holds a poor level of reasoning and supports belief with a low level of evidence.

Is it “provocative” to ask questions and determine “what type of reasoning” a person uses (and whether it’s consistent in all their decision making) and point out that various standards of evidence are applicable to various types of claims?

To be challenged, and “uncomfortable” and “humbled” in realizing that a person or an institution may, in FACT, not “know” …this is what leads to growth and questioning and curiosity and discovery…

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Ephesians 6:5
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

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If I were a Christian, all the horrendous persecutions perpetrated by the Christian church since the Edict of Milan in 325 AD, the countless physical assaults, tortures murders and massacres of non-believers of every other group of people, of every colour and creed, right up to the present day, would be greater cause for shame for me, if I were a Christian.
Before the rise of Christianity there was a greater, widespread tolerance in the ancient world between differing religions, which the “tender loving mercy” of Jesus’s followers swept away in an unforgiving, unceasing storm of violence against heretics and sinners that comprised the sort of heinous murders of modern psychopaths and which Saint Augustine meekly defended as ‘merciful savagery’, justifying the dominance of sword, club and firebrands over the ignored “power of Jesus’ love and the influence of the Holy Spirit”.
Many Christians, continually pleading they are a persecuted sect, remain completely and wilfully ignorant of the horror the religion of baby Jesus committed against humanity, physical and psychological, over the centuries. They continue to persecute and discriminate today against anyone who does not share their faith.
I am happier to be an atheist.


Hyperbolic bullshit I assume? At no point have I heard an atheist assert, “religion will be the doom of humanity.” Atheists in the form of scientists, explorers, and rationalists have managed to drag religions and the people that follow them out of the ignorant darkness of delusional Church pews and into the light of reason. There is no indication that this will not continue.

The religious, on the other hand, happen to follow a tradition of ancient archaic Iron Age Bullshit that leads them directly back to the Dark Ages. Their superstitious nonsense supports spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, and other magical beings that can directly influence their daily lives. They believe in the personification of evil, an entity that can enter them and force them to do wrong, and they believe this while at the same time spouting ignorantly that they posses a free will. They assert, anyone who does not believe as they believe will be tortured for eternity. This is not doom, it is utter and complete ignorance. It is the embrace of total and complete ignorance. It is the denial of the natural world around us and the acceptance of a delusional fantasy.