What do you call yourself?

I have been contacting various groups looking for speaking engagements to promote my recently released poetry book. To my surprise, I’m actually having a lot of fun with it. I’m shy and definitely not a “people person”, but I’m becoming pretty comfortable with Zoom meetings. I’ve met a lot of nice people and some have helped me along the way. 

Anyway, I had been contacting atheist groups through the affiliates page on the American Atheists website, and after a while, I felt like I was hitting dead ends. My publisher suggested I try contacting humanist groups. I contacted a few groups today and I’m excited to see if they respond.

Humanism is a somewhat new concept to me. I only learned of the term a couple years ago after seeing a post on Facebook. I was immediately a fan of the AHA slogan, “good without a god”. That’s exactly how I feel about life and how I want to live. I’ve always called myself an atheist first but considering my actions and outlook, maybe humanist is a better description of who I am. 

What do you consider yourself? Atheist? Humanist? Agnostic? Secular? A combination? I’m curious and I’m sure there are more terms.


  1. says

    Humanist. I used to consider myself an atheist (and am still technically that) but after the ‘Deep Rifts’ that seemed to not merely ring hollow but have that hollowness celebrated by the bad actors. ‘Humanist’ means putting belief in social justice, kindness, and secularism first and foremost, and is freeing in terms of no longer feeling obligated to try to ‘deconvert’ people or at least argue with the religious. It accurately reflects that I would much prefer to associate with, say, a devout Muslim who supports freedom and equality, than an avowed atheist happily following the Jordan Peterson path to fascism.

  2. blf says

    These days, when there is a reason to say something, I say “non-believer”. It seems to be generally understood and is, in my opinion, to-the-point avoiding any connotations other terms might be construed with (or at least that I am aware of).

  3. Bruce says

    The nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics is the Freedom FROM Religion Foundation at forfeit.org in Madison, Wisconsin. As with many members, I am simultaneously a Freethinker, an atheist, a secular humanist, and an agnostic. I pay dues and usually attend several groups’ meetings each normal year. When asked how I identify, I use the word or words I think best for each conversation.
    In one sense, all the words here are synonyms. Yet there are shades of implication that are different for each.
    I think you should reach out to all such groups, both national and local, and see for each if your content is relevant to them this year. I predict that the answer will often be yes, but that it will be unpredictable. So don’t waste time worrying about it for a few years while you reach out and learn more about all such groups.
    Also, it is good to interact as you wish with each group, without feeling obliged to accept their views on other issues. All groups in any area are run by people, who may be illogical, and may have other issues that are unrelated. Or should be. Or that we need to work to make unrelated.
    For example, if a group of good people accidentally hires leaders who are secretly bigoted in some way, we still want to interact with the group, until it gets to the point that people think we might be endorsing bigotry. The “safe” thing is to never have group interactions, but I fear that’s letting the bigots win. So I tolerate minor foolishness, but am ready to call for deep rifts as necessary so that people don’t think most atheists are nasty.

  4. another stewart says

    Atheist and humanist are independent categories. I am an atheist*, a humanist, an agnostic*, and a secularist.

    * If I don’t cut the knot and call myself an ignostic.

  5. says

    What do you consider yourself? Atheist? Humanist? Agnostic? Secular? A combination? I’m curious and I’m sure there are more terms.

    I consider myself a nihilist.
    But. Nihilism has a bad rap. One of its implications is that the nihilist may choose to live with no sense of restraint because they are unconvinced by morality. But I think nihilism is the only intellectually honest world-view (I think that attempts to hang humanism on mutual interdependence are thin stuff) so I don’t pretend to have any beliefs at all. I do, however, make aesthetic choices: I prefer beauty to ugliness, kindness to cruelty, and redeeming my word when I give it. That’s all arbitrary, though. “It’s how I roll”

  6. robert79 says

    If you were to ask me what I believe: “atheist in the strongest sense possible”

    If you were to ask me what my values are: “humanist and socialist” (the last in the EU sense of the word, not the US caricature)

  7. StonedRanger says

    Im an agnostic atheist who is also a humanist. I see no sign of any gods, but if one shows up I have an open mind as long as its not the abrahamic god of the big three (christian, jewish, islamic).

  8. brucegee1962 says

    One of the things that bugs me is “You’re just an atheist because you don’t want to have to live by moral rules.”
    From now on, my response will be “I think morality is crucially important. It’s so important that I don’t want to leave it to a bunch of bronze age shepherds and carpenters.”

  9. publicola says

    I am a nihilist and a humanist. That may seem contradictory, but I think that, even though existence, on a cosmic scale, has no meaning, we can create meaning on a human scale. Our children, parents, loved ones all have meaning in our lives because we place a value on them. We can create meaning by serving our fellow humans. The Andromeda galaxy doesn’t give a damn if I help a blind man cross the road, but that small action creates meaning for him and me, and this is how we make our meaningless existence better.

  10. Dr Sarah says

    When the subject comes up I call myself an atheist/a humanist. It doesn’t actually come up that often, so mostly I call myself a doctor, a mother, a blogger, or just Sarah. (Sorry, that sounded more flippant than I was trying to be. My point is that my atheism is a fairly small part of my life.)

  11. Oggie: Mathom says

    I am a humanistic atheist who supports (I haven’t been very active — been a tough two years) social and economic justice projects.

  12. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    First and foremost, secular humanist. Also social justice warrior, strong atheist, anti-theist, anti-libertarian, and believer in John Stuart Mills’ Harm Principle and John Rawls’ Veil Of Ignorance.

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