Sunday, September 03, 2006

"Jewish Atheist"

It's interesting to see how different people react to my Blogger name. I'm not talking about the "How can you be an atheist and a Jew?" people or even the "Are you an atheist or agnostic?" people. (To the latter group, of which there are incomprehensibly many: Could I be any more clear?)

I'm talking about the various abbreviations and take-offs on my name people choose to use when they address me:

Jewish Atheist

Can't go wrong with spelling out somebody's full name. Perhaps a little formal, it's at least polite and respectful. Makes searching very easy, so perhaps they're being thoughtful. Nothing at all wrong with it.


The way I sign my emails, this is what most people who seem to like me (or at least know me pretty well) use as a nickname for me. Feels familiar and affectionate.

Mr. Atheist

I get this one a lot, somehow. I sense a little bit of mocking with it, although not necessarily with ill-intent. After all, it is a little silly to have Adjective Noun as a nom de plume. Some people also seem to use this form to emphasize the "Atheist," which they treat as if it's an insult. (Kind of like that Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode where an older White man introduces himself to the (Black) Bankses as Whitey, "on account of my white hair," and later when Mrs. Banks gets mad at him, she begins, "Listen, whitey." Except that I'm using Atheist because I am one and they're using it the same way, only as an insult. So not really like that episode, after all.)


I think two groups of people use this abbreviation. One is simply calling even more attention to the "Atheist" part, using it often as an insult. The other simply doesn't want to acknowledge my Judaism. Ironically, the latter group is usually made up of Orthodox Jews who necessarily believe that Judaism comes from having a Jewish mother (which I do) or converting.

Athiest or Jewish Athiest

These people simply don't use spell check. It's an easy mistake to make ("-iest" being a common word ending in English) and exceedingly common. I don't hold it against them unless they do it repeatedly. In which case I assume they just don't care a lot about spelling, which isn't the worst thing in the world.

Jewish Guy, Jewish Man, The First/Second/Third Commenter, The Guy Who..., etc.

I suspect these people are afraid to use the word "Atheist." Maybe they think that's how you catch it. Or maybe that God will get confused and think they're atheists.


Baal Habos said...

JA, haven't gotten any Atheist Harasha?

rod said...

Do Orthodox atheists accept Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist atheists or are they considered not true atheists?

Jewish Atheist said...

lol, both of you.

rod, they're okay, but the agnostics are wusses without the courage of their convictions. ;-)

Flippy said...

If they're born of an atheist mother, they're accepted. I qualify! My mom used to waver, but the world around her has convinced her to become a hardcore atheist. As if spending part of her childhood in Nazi Germany wasn't enough...

UberPropagandist said...

Moreinee Harav Jewish Atheist Shlitah
It is with fear and trepidation we address your holiness: Please forgive our past transgressions! We will try our utmost to be careful in the manner with which we address you from this day forth.
May we be zoche to see moshiach tzidkeinu bimhera biyomeinu, umen! and have a Merry Labor Day!

Sadie Lou said...

You've always been JA to me.

Juggling Mother said...

I use JA because I am lazy & never spell check:-) I'm glad it makes me a friend;-)

I didn't realise there were people who though atheism was catching just from writing the word! What a strong "belief" it must be - or perhaps they consider their own beliefs so weak as to be easily wiped out by your atheism? *chuckle*

dbackdad said...

Personally, I like calling him Jewizzle Athizzle. :-)

skcorefil said...

I like to call him Erik.

Laura said...

I just use JA because I'm lazy.

wil said...

I like "Mr. Atheist". It's funny.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

I get BEAJ, Atheist, AJ, Bacon, TAJ, the Jew, and Racist (I get that from Palestinian supporters).
One religious Jew has me on his blogroll as Bacon Eating Jew....he is in denial of my Atheism I think.

Chana said...

Hmm. I think I call you Jewish Atheist the most. :)

Mark said...

I'd have been tempted to use a Mr honorific as it is my custom over at my blog (and I apologize for mispelling theist, you'd think I could spell that right, no?).

I've normally used (and like to encourage) the use of Mr/Ms Patronym because the small distancing from familiarity often discourages other ruder familiarities and hopefully raises the level of discourse. On the other hand it is probably more often seen as just snooty.

How about Mr JA?