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Old June 30th, 2011 (8:34 PM).
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Gymnotide Gymnotide is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by Hassan_Abdillah View Post
I liked Gymnotide's post above, but then I read this:

And immediately found myself agreeing to it. Words are words, the only meaning they have are the ones we attribute to them. So I dont think there's no need to get so gung-ho about "labels". Most of the above atheist vs. agnostic vs. gnostic vs. so on debate was, I believe, semantic indulgence.
Agreed. However, there also must be some sort of arbitration about bending dictionary definitions based on societal misconceptions. It's one thing to interpret a phrase differently, but another thing to interpret a word differently; phrases are multifaceted and indeed act like poems, but words are something less malleable (but not always strict). I also agree that the discussion is based heavily on semantics, however, it's the semantic aspect that really matters... Hence, semantic. I will have no qualms with someone who says "I am atheist, and therefore don't follow a religion" but I will point out that they are technically incorrect.

The fact of the matter is that the term "atheist" has evolved such that it's effectively conglomerated with "irreligious," "secular," "antireligious," and whatnot. However, my goal (though it seems on the surface level to simply be overly pretentious) is to spread an understanding of the subtle differences between these terms. I feel that it's completely necessary to fiddle with semantics in this sense because what is addressed as "atheism" is often a multitude of things (few of which are properly labeled), leaving little room for specificity, as well as creating a misunderstanding of the topic itself. In this thread, grounding an argument without the proper terminology is inefficient--if you just say "atheism," but you mean "antireligious," how can we tell that you didn't mean "irreligious"?

"I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away."

Khaled Hosseini

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