I Find It Very Hard
To Remain Polite
Your site has been a breath of fresh air to me.
I am not and have never been any kind of theist. I was not raised theist, and come from a country where somebody's religion is their own business: it is no big deal what anybody is.
But here in the U.S., I am expected to be Christian even though I'm not.
As you point out the majority in my adopted country use a definition of "atheist" that doesn't actually describe us, inventing all sorts of positions we don't have, based on presumptions that don't even apply to us.
I find it very hard to remain polite, especially after I've taken the trouble to correct them and they've ignored it, or worse tried to "prove" that I'm perjuring myself -- which includes accusing me of redefining the word to get around awkward questions that I don't even have.
Common courtesy demands that they grant that my position actually is what I explain it to be. But I shouldn't have to keep explaining it.
And I certainly shouldn't have to explain false trichotomies based on premises that don't even apply like "believe it exists", believe it doesn't exist" and "not know whether or not it exists", which are used to tell me I am "really" agnostic -- when the fact is that I haven't got anything to be agnostic about.
Part of the problem is that they don't realise that atheists and theists aren't even talking about the same thing when they use the word "God". Removing it a level because it's the subject of somebody else's belief (the object of their faith) changes the meaning completely. It is no longer the "supreme creator" but "something in somebody else's religion".
I've never understood why so many people don't grasp this; it's not just theists but a fair sprinkling of atheists and agnostics as well.
You describe indifference to religion and that gets misinterpreted as "indifference to the supreme creator".
I find this very frustrating and almost impossible to explain to people who've already decided we're something that we really aren't.
Anyway, welcome back! I hope your health has improved and that it's permanent this time.