I think you will agree that in this particular country, the title/term of "atheist" takes on an inherently negative connotation, right?
A poll recently found that a little over half of this country would trust a fundamentalist Muslim before they would trust an openly-honest, admitted atheist. WTF is up with that? What have atheists done that merits not being trusted before an individual or individuals who would strap on a bomb to themselves to accomplish the lesser jihad?
The different title goes back to our long history of being discriminated against in this country. I know some of you at this point are rolling your eyes at what I've just posted, but it's the truth. 's sake, if it weren't for the US Constitution and SCOTUS in this country, to this very day, I, myself, could not legally hold political office owing to the Mississippi Constitution which specifically prohibits people without faith in a deity from holding office. From Mississippi Code, Article 14, Section 265: "No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state."
Think of it as a way of us advancing ourselves without all of the negative vibes that come with the title of atheist. Personally, if someone asks me my religious beliefs, I tell em straight up that I am a weak-position atheist. I don't bother with the name/title of Freethinker but some of my ilk does. Another comparison that you might take into account is the Christian habit of calling their deity "God" rather than calling him by his true name, Yahweh or YHWH, owing to the fact that YHWH reminds people of the OT, which is hardly the most complimentary part of the Bible. By calling YHWH "God", Christians are able to wipe clean all of the more detestable parts of the Bible that come to mind with their particular deity to anyone who has studied the Christian religion in-depth. By some of my ilk calling themselves "Freethinker", they are able to remove the negative connotations/vibes that come with the title of atheist.
I can definitely see your valid point, but on my behalf at least, I don't try to deceive anyone with the term. Freeman opts for the term Freethinker.
Wow, talking about dedication to the cause. Impressive. I love your sincerity & loyalty towards your belief. Your almost religious about it. I hate to see such combative conversations on the subject, because I know it just pushes you further away from Christainity & further strengthing your stance. But maybe one day you will have a change of heart-(swap teams)- & God sure could use that dedication & loyalty. Some of the strongest Christians have previously been Athiest. Some I know personally. But who am I to judge. I do not judge-I just pray . And it works for me.