Posted on June 21, 2017
In some societies, "atheist" is a pretty bad word. Such a bad word that some people don't really know what it means.
An atheist is someone who doesn't particularly believe in any god. Some atheists are non-believers because they were brought up by non-believers, and others were brought up in a religion but stopped practicing and believing that faith.
Unfortunately, religion is such an important part of many societies and culture, non-believers are treated poorly, even beaten, imprisoned, or killed. And there are some labels used for them that show this prejudice: Apostate means someone who has turned away from "the one true faith" of a particular society - and it sort of means a traitor or turncoat. Infidel and heathen are sometimes used for a non-believer, but they can also be used for someone who doesn't believe the exact same version of religion that the speaker professes. Some people assume that an atheist is a pagan - but paganism is a religion, and although some pagans are atheists, most atheists do not believe in or practice any form of paganism. Some people think that atheists worship the devil - but atheists don't believe in a cosmic evil-doer known as a devil any more than they believe in a cosmic good-doer known as a god.
"I don't believe in god" is not the same as "There is no god."
Actually, some atheists are positive that there is no god, but other atheists are not absolutely certain on the god question. They point out that it's hard to prove a negative, and they also cannot prove lots of other "there is/are no ____" statements:
- There is no invisible house elf that steals my socks.
- There are no magically invisible fairies living in all of our gardens.
- There are no pan-dimensional hyper-intelligent beings that protrude into our dimension as mice.
None of the sentences above can be absolutely proven - BUT of course there is no reason to believe in the invisible house elf or fairies, nor in the celestial teapot or pan-dimensional hyper-intelligent beings posing as mice. In other words, in the absence of evidence for these things (and there is none!), it's not reasonable to believe in them.
Even if you are not an atheist...
...You can still use Atheist Solidarity Day as a day to raise consciousness of the prejudice and intolerance faced by non-believers. If it's not cool to be intolerant of Buddhists and Hindus and Mormons and Jews (and it's not), then it's also not cool to be intolerant of non-believers.
|The familiar "COEXIST" logo doesn't have a particular symbol|
for atheism, but the peace sign is not particularly theistic.
And science is a study of reality fully separate from religion,
so the Earth and Sun and outer space background also fit.
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