Writes David Niose on Psychology Today:
If you don’t believe in any gods, you are an atheist, right? This definition seems pretty basic, not the kind of material that requires an advanced degree in theology to understand.
But apparently it isn’t accurate. In fact, as I circulate in the secular movement on a daily basis, I frequently meet nonbelievers who are unwilling to identify as atheists.
Of course, there are other words that might describe those who don’t believe in deities — agnostic, humanist, skeptic, etc. — and quite a few nonbelievers prefer one of those terms as their primary means of religious identification, but many reject outright the atheist identity even as a secondary or incidental label. “Don’t call me an atheist!” one such nonbeliever recently told me. “I refuse to identify according to what I reject. I don’t believe in astrology or unicorns, but I don’t label myself according to that — so why should I identify according to my rejection of god-belief?”…