I’ve heard this quite a few times in my twenty+ years in business. I’ve had different thought about it depending on time and place – but I think it’s safe to say that most of my thought weren’t that nice.
It’s mostly a question of missing context and having the wrong audience. Allow me to explain.
Sorry about the strange title – a explanation will follow.
As my more vocal Atheist friends haven’t neglected to make absolutely clear to me, the Atheist Alliance International 2010 Copenhagen Convention is this week-end. I’m a big fan of James Randi and would really like to see him. But I’m not going, because I’m not an atheist. And I’m frankly beginning to be a bit tired with them – paying a small fortune for a week-end with a couple of hundred of them, isn’t my idea of fun.
But lets first take a look at what Atheist means (Wikipedia):
Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
So Atheism, is the negated form of “the belief that at least one deity exists”. I don’t think I want to define my self with a negative, if I can avoid it. The only place for such a definition is when, there’s a conflict with the positive form. But as I don’t have a problem with theists, I don’t need to define my self against them.