So I’m writing this piece that talks about dictionary atheism and dictionary atheists — atheists who insist that “atheism” can only mean, and should only mean, “no belief in any gods,” with no other implications, and no atheist activism about anything else. (Except, of course, for the issues they think are clearly connected to atheism, like church/state separation.)
So I’m writing this piece that talks about dictionary atheism, and I want to talk about the opposite of that: atheists who use the word more broadly, for whom “atheism” can also mean the implications that they see as implied by lack of belief, or the communities and movements and organizations created by atheists, or the critical thinking skills and commitment to evidence-based thinking that led us to atheism in the first place, etc.
So I’m writing this piece that talks about dictionary atheism, and I want to talk about the opposite of that, and a question occurred to me: What’s the opposite of “dictionary atheist” What would be a good term for that?
I was thinking “thesaurus atheist,” which I like — but it’s a little hard to say, with all the th’s and s’s. What are some other ideas?
A few suggestions that were made on Facebook, where I first posed this question: connotative atheism; encyclopedic atheism; consequential atheism; extended atheism; practical, pragmatic or functional atheism; applied atheism (this sounds like a college course, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing); descriptive atheism (“as opposed to dictionary atheism, which is inherently prescriptive”); philosophical atheism; expansive atheism; verb atheism; Wikipedia atheism (“Full of helpful connections to related topics and subject to change without notice”); Big Picture Atheism. (This isn’t a complete list: it’s a longish Facebook thread.) Do you like any of these? Do you have others to propose? Your time starts — now!
Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.