Why do we need labels?

The 19th century brought an obsession with taxonomy - everything had to be categorised and labelled.

In the words of a year 9 pupil:

"Why do I have to be labelled? I am just me!"

Society (the system, the state, the media) finds it impossible to deal with people who refuse to be labelled - which leaves the field wide open for "self appointed community leaders".

Just to state the obvious about us:

  • As atheists we are defined by what we are not, not by what we are. We are "not theists".
  • There is no such thing as "atheism" since there is no set of beliefs shared by "not theists".
  • Most atheists are confident that they have no need of the god idea to answer the big questions of life.
  • Most atheists don't need any label beyond this - they feel no need to proselytise or campaign about it.
  • Most atheists are not members of anything merely because they are atheists - many are simply "not joiners".
  • Most atheists are not members of Humanist UK - it would have millions of members if they were.
  • Most atheists adopt a "live and let live" approach to religion - though they are upset when terrible things are done in the name of religion. They get especially angry when religion tries to poke its nose into people's personal, sexual or reproductive lives - "we don't accept that your holy books should control our lives".
  • Most atheists are confident that most young people will reject religion eventually - despite what they are told at school - though they feel uncomfortable with schools which deny children a free and informed choice by promoting a single world view.
  • Most people are apatheists, they don't think about it much, it has no relevance to their day-to-day lives and they don't label themselves as religious or as atheists.

We don't like labels

We in DASH don't like labels either - we are individuals, we are just "us".

We call ourselves Derbyshire Atheists, Secularists and Humanists in order to be inclusive because some of us accept one or more of these labels while others accept none.

This may all sound a bit anarchic (it is - because we are all different!) but we are united in:

  • our opposition to the special privileges and influence that religions have in our society. We are happy for people to believe what they like - as long as they cause no harm and as long as they don't try to impose their beliefs, and the consequences of their beliefs, onto the rest of us.
  • wanting young people to make a free and informed choice about what to believe - which is why we support good Religious Education in schools while opposing faith schools. You can only be "free" if you are not pressurised and you can only be "informed" if you are exposed to a wide range of religious and non-religious beliefs.