What Match.com taught me re: atheists vs agnostics
The RRS essay "Am I agnostic or atheist" reminded me of an observation I made last year while spending a little time on Match.com. I had always felt that the average person applied a definition of atheist that was at odds with the way I felt about myself - simply someone without belief, although I fall into the category of atheists who will also flat out claim there's no way the god of Abraham exists.
Anyhow, what I noticed was this - only a small fraction of woman who specified agnostics in their ideal match profile also listed atheists. Clearly the atheist label carries a lot of baggage. I had suggested to Match.com that they define the terms but it fell on deaf ears.
Even though I was fortunate enough to be influenced at a very young age by Bertrand Russel, Mark Twain, and rationalist writers like Issac Asimov & Carl Sagan, it took many years for me to just strip all the definitional mumbo-jumbo away and just say that I'm an atheist, where I had previously (an incorrectly) used agnostic. So I too had shied away from the atheist label, just like many people still do. In any case, I think that getting away from hair splitting on these definitions will help alot.
PS The women I referred to were in the mid 40s to mid 50s. Would be interesting to know whether this phenomena existed for younger women (and men)