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Euphemisms: Brights, Nontheists, Humanists ...

I've tried to like the appellation "Bright" as an alternative to "atheist" but I haven't succeeded. Nor am I fond of "nontheist", "humanist", or other euphemisms. And I'm not much persuaded by the argument that we should avoid "atheist" because we don't speak of "afaryist", "aghostist", etc. I prefer to stick with the old-fashioned "atheist" and "agnostic". The distinction between these two categories isn't rigid and one can oscillate between the two, but I dislike euphemisms.


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John Floyd on :

I differ in your aversion to "humanism" just a bit. I agree with those such as Paul Kurtz that "atheist" carries a negative (absence of something) connotation , and "humanist" seems to have the potential for a more positive connotation. I'm not sure it needs to be subdivided as Kurtz's "secular" humanism or E. O. Wilson's "scientific" humanism, though such adjectives do confirm the atheistic basis for their humanistic philosophy. You are probably right however in that "atheist" leaves less room for misinterpretation than does "humanist"

Anthony Campbell on :

I've never been happy about "humanist" and I was pleased to find that Thomas Nagel doesn't like it either. It seems to me to be too parochial. And I don't know that humanity is such an unqualified success either!

Anonymous on :

I think humanism is considered a philosophy, or even a religion, so its not really just a euphamism for atheist. Atheist is a general term while humanism is a specific group. I don't really like "brights", but I think its also a specific group.

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