Since it was brought up in the comments, I thought I’d bring back my statement on the “Brights.”
There’s a lot of noise on the net right now about The Brights, the idea that we can invent a pleasant new name for godless atheists and thereby improve our image. It’s being pushed by luminaries like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Here’s a nice quote that summarizes my opinion:
Perhaps the best of the available euphemisms for atheist is nontheist. It lacks the connotation of positive conviction that there is definitely no god, and it could therefore easily be embraced by Teapot or Tooth Fairy Agnostics. It is less familiar than atheist and lacks its phobic connotations. Yet, unlike a completely new coining, its meaning is clear. If we want a euphemism at all, nontheist is probably the best.
The alternative which I favor is to renounce all euphemisms and grasp the nettle of the word atheism itself, precisely because it is a taboo word carrying frissons of hysterical phobia. Critical mass may be harder to achieve than with some non-confrontational euphemism, but if we did achieve it with the dread word atheist, the political impact would be all the greater.
Guess who said that?
Richard Dawkins himself, as cited here. I have no idea what has happened to his good sense since.
I have absolutely no problem with the words “atheist”, “secular humanist”, “infidel”, “damned hellbound godless heathen”, or whatever names people want to apply to us. It’s very peculiar for an atheist to object to the terms “atheist” or “godless”, as if there was something negative about it. It’s even more pathetic to pick out some name you like, but that has never been applied to you, and ask that you be addressed by it—it smacks of a six-year-old who decides his name isn’t quite good enough, so he announces to the schoolyard that he’d like to be called “Spike” from now on. It’s laughable.
The argument that this is analogous to the appropriation of terms like “queer” and “gay” by the homosexual community is false. Those were used as terms of opprobrium by outsiders, and were seized and inverted by homosexuals to remove their sting, and as a mark of pride. This isn’t the case with “Bright”. It’s artificial and phony.