Terry--and feel free to call me Linds, short for Lindsay--you mention: "... did you realise that the term atheist refered originally to Christians?"

Yes, Socrates (469?-499 B.C.E.) too, was called an atheist, because he did not believe in the gods on Mount olympus.
In my opinion, Socrates simply offered a concept of god which differed from that of the dominant one of the day.

BTW, by some, I have been called an atheist simply because I question traditional theism.

http://www.wku.edu/~jan.garrett/pgods.htm is an excellent site on the theology of Socrates. Here is a quote from it:
"Socrates is guilty of believing in deities of his own invention instead of the gods recognized by the city." (Apol. 24b) In effect, then, Socrates is accused of teaching new gods.

This point is often lost sight of because during the trial, when Socrates actually confronts his accuser, Meletus shifts his ground and accuses Socrates not of teaching new gods, but of not believing in any gods at all. Yet the charge that Socrates taught new gods was probably in the original indictment."

Interestingly, the Greek word for "I run" is the?; and the Greek word for god is "theos."

They saw the gods as, coursing, or running, across the sky--the heavens (Ouranos), above mother earth (Gaia).

He (Socrates) was, apparently, quite willing to pay his respects to the traditional gods, Zeus, Athena, etc.; all evidence points to him being a polytheist. He agreed with Homer and Hesiod that these gods had bodies and would never die. However, the gods of Homer were human-like and lived by their passions; the gods of Socrates behave more...well, more god-like...idealistically

One of the most important contemporary philosophers to try this approach is Charles Hartshorne. You might be attracted to Hartshorne's view if you find that the idea of a mind existing completely independent of a body makes no sense to you.

For Hartshorne, God is both immanent and transcendent. That is to say, God's divine mind is present in the physical universe as a whole but also transcends or surpasses it. Hartshorne's view is that the universe is in God, or as it is sometimes called, "panentheism" (from Greek pan (all) + en (in) + theos (god))... nothing is outside of Hartshorne's God; for the whole physical universe, including our bodies, is His body.

I like what Hartshorne writes, theologically.
Terry, in answer to my question,"What does atheism offer?" You answered,"I'd say a realistic view of existence."

I respond: Good! As a pro-theist/unitheist/panentheist I am all for being realistic. It fits in very well with what I mean when I write G?D, as in my signature.

Edited by Revlgking (02/17/07 08:30 PM)
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org