I thought this statement was interesting and deserved a thread of its own. "If there was no religion, how would we know anyone was an atheist? The very idea of someone being an atheist was the invention of the theist. How else would they show a distinction between believers and non believers? An atheist wouldn't know he/she was an atheist until the theist told them so. So you see, we don't need anyone to validate our beliefs, that's for the theists." [From THE HOLY BIBLE thread] Does any one remember when a certain ethnic slur was used by the American racist community when it made reference to Americans of African descent? Does anyone remember when Americans of African descent began using the same term to refer to each other? "Queer" is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer scholars and activists began to reclaim the word to establish community and assert an identity distinct from the gay identity. People who reject traditional gender identities and seek a broader and deliberately ambiguous alternative to the label LGBT may describe themselves as "queer". [wikipedia] The term athéisme was coined in France in the sixteenth century. The word "atheist" appears in English books at least as early as 1566. The concept of atheism re-emerged initially as a reaction to the intellectual and religious turmoil of the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation, as a charge used by those who saw the denial of god and godlessness in the controversial positions being put forward by others. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word 'atheist' was used exclusively as an insult; nobody wanted to be regarded as an atheist. Although one overtly atheistic compendium known as the Theophrastus redivivus was published by an anonymous author in the seventeenth century, atheism was an epithet implying a lack of moral restraint. [wikipedia] At one point in history, the term "atheist" was used exclusively as a slur. Civilized human beings simply did not refer to themselves as atheist. They were "tarred" with it, even as recently as the 1960's. At what point in recent history did that change? More specifically, when did Americans begin self identifying as "atheist" as a form of solidarity? In a socio-political sense, is "Atheist" the new "Queer", or is "Queer" the new "Atheist"?