.... He was an atheist. By supporting and praising him, are you an atheist, too?
Dear sf, I don't know whether you wanted a detailed response to this point, but I find myself unable to resist giving you one. This topic is of very great interest to me, that is why. Also, since this has nothing to do with the topic we were discussion, I am presenting my response as a separate thread. If there is any interest to discuss this topic further, I will be glad to participate.
First, let us get the obvious point out of the way, no, my status as a theist or atheist is not derived from my support of EVR as a reformer and a great iconoclast.
Now I want to address the question, "Are you an atheist?"
The answer depends upon what is meant by the word "atheism". If atheism is defined broadly as the opposite state of "theism", i.e. opposite to the state of belief in a personal god who cares about human affairs, then, yes, I am an atheist.
But, if atheism is defined as total disbelief in any supernatural powers, then as a rational person, one has to hedge a little. In as much as a negative cannot be proved beyond doubt, it is impossible to rule out such a power with absolute certainty. So, we have some who call themselves Agnostic. Agnostic does not mean, not sure whether god exists, it is the state of certainty in the belief that existence or non-existence of god cannot be proved conclusively. Then, logically I have to say I am an agnostic, but only in a very strict logical sense.
So, if we put these two together, I am an Atheist with respect to personal gods, like Rama, Krishna, Jesus, etc., and a reluctant Agnostic with respect to distant, uncaring Brahman like the advaitic nirguna brahman. The reason I am reluctant is because my opinion is, the existence of even a distant and uncaring supernatural power is extremely unlikely. But I cannot prove this negative. So, I am having to reluctantly concede that there is a remote, slight, chance that there may be a power outside the material realm.
If we take a look at the Samskritam terminology, नास्तिक (nastika), that refers only to the state of belief in the Vedas. आस्तिक (astika) is one who puts faith in the Vedas, and नास्तिक (nastika) is one who does not. So, Kapila, the proponent of Samkhya, did not believe in any god, was an आस्तिक (astika) because he believed in the Vedas. But, the Tamil Saivas and Karnataka Lingayats, who are quite theistic as they believe in Shiva as personal god, are नास्तिक (nastika) because they reject the validity of the Vedas.
I think all of us are born as just humans, like all other animals are born as a member of their respective species. But, as we grow up we get labeled as this or that, a Hindu, a Brahmin, a Saivite, a Vaishnavite, an Atheist, and so on. I don't like any of these labels. I like to think of myself as just a human, a freethinking human.