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One of the earliest signs that a person doesn't really understand what atheism is comes when they spell "atheism" or "atheist" with a capital A in the middle of a sentence. In English, this is only grammatical with proper nouns and thus this signals that the person imagines atheism to a be a proper noun -- in other words, some sort of ideology or religion like Christianity or Objectivism. When you see someone inappropriately capitalizing atheism, beware.

Read Article: Capitalizing Atheism - Why Atheism Shouldn't be Capitalized

Comments
August 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm
(1) DyNama says:

i totally agree with your statement, atheism is not a doctrine, but i capitalize Atheist because Madalyn Murray O’Hair did. she used to do kind of odd principled things with language and one was capitalizing Atheist while refusing to capitalize catholic or methodist.

October 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm
(2) Fernando Aguilar says:

I have to correct myself. I acknowledge that atheism is not a doctrine or philosophy… My mistake.

However, I should still be able to capitalize it under the capitailization rule for capitonyms, since I can refer to the idea of Atheism (lacking belief in a diety/dieties) and those who cannot believe in deities; i.e., Atheists.

A fellow Atheist,

Fernando Aguilar

October 11, 2010 at 5:59 pm
(3) Fernando Aguilar says:

From Wikipedia-Capitonym; “A particular example of where capitonyms are prominent is in terminology relating to philosophy, religion and politics. Capitalised words are often used to differentiate a philosophical concept from how the concept is referred to in everyday life, or to demonstrate respect for an entity or institution.”

Atheists do not have a specific idelogy per se, but they do share a common trait, i.e., non belief in (a) deity(ies). I capitalize “Atheism” when it refers to the philosophical concept of non-belief, or when referencing other members who share that philosophy… We are Atheists.

A fellow Atheist,

Fernando

July 15, 2013 at 12:10 am
(4) Jack F says:

Austin, I was not very happy with some of your earlier work here, but your writing just keeps on improving. Well done. This one is particularly poignant, much like the ‘atheism is a choice’ canard.

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