Friendly reminder that if one more person compares asexuality to atheism, I’m going to explode.
It’s bad enough to have a sexual orientation likened to an ideological belief, but the worst part is that in the midst of these comparisons, atheism has at least once been defined as a “lack of religion”.It’s all right there in the name: atheism is the absence of theism. It’s the lack of belief in gods. There are further specifications about all sorts of different types, but I’ll leave it to the atheists to talk about that. Many atheists may not be religious, but atheism is not the “lack of religion” because theism is not the sole defining trait of religion and not all religion is theistic.
Buddhism, for example, does not require theism — and there are some who would argue that Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion, but regardless, someone can have a religion similar to (or based on) Buddhism without theism ever entering the equation. Animism, the belief in spirits, is another example of a religious belief that does not require theism. There is more to religion than just the idea that “at least one god exists”. In the same way that a romantic relationship does not need sex to count as a romantic relationship, a religion does not need theism to be a religion. In sum: atheism and religion are not mutually exclusive. Quit saying otherwise and giving the wrong definition.
a monotheist on the asexual spectrum who cares about specificity
There’s a lot more that could be said on the subject, too, thought I won’t get into much of it today. Apart from definition failures, I don’t like to see asexuality and atheism compared because there’s already enough of a misconception that asexuality is some sort of intentional ideological position — that it’s an opinion, a decision, a lifestyle, a state or perspective that can be chosen, a belief that someone can be swayed from. And so people think they can sway us from it. The decision to label oneself as ace is a choice, but regardless of what we identify as, no one can choose whether or not to experience sexual attraction. We can change the words we use to describe ourselves, but we cannot “change our minds”.
Really, you could have a much larger discussion about this topic, but for now let’s leave it at this: I don’t think the prefix is really what confuses people about asexuality, so even with correct definitions, it doesn’t seem like there’s much use in comparing it to another word when the shared prefix is about all they have in common — unless we’re getting into a discussion about intersectionality, which I haven’t seen happening.
Anyway, on a more positive note, thinking about this reminds me of how I came to the name of this blog in the first place. Can’t remember exactly how my train of thought went, but I must’ve been mulling over the prefix of atheism or something (not too long after I’d discovered asexuality and decided I must be somewhere on the ace spectrum) and I noted to myself that people don’t usually call themselves just “theists” very often. That’s mostly because many theists use more specific labels like Hindu or Catholic and such, and if the tag on WordPress is any indication, it seems like “theist” is a term that atheists use more often than anyone else.
Still, it seems a decent word, a useful one, an accurate one, one I wouldn’t mind calling myself. That’s about when it hit me: “I’m an ace theist.” I proceeded to start giggling like a child and was eager to tell my roommate. See, this is the reason why I seem like I don’t have a sense of humor: because I waste it laughing at junk like this.
Almost a year later, when I decided to make an asexuality blog, I knew exactly what to name it.