If I start the “I hate black people, bacon, short skirts, alcohol, Jews, Nickelback, solar panels, and Wednesday” club, two things will happen. First, we will be correctly judged as idiots by everyone else.
But secondly, we will find camaraderie within our group! We will love, laugh, live, care for, and be charitable to the people within our group. Within our group, human satisfaction may be achieved. Within our group, calm and peace is possible.
We may even form card playing groups, marry, have exciting parties, child play dates, and even form philanthropic societies. Utopia!
But no. It should go without saying, based on our name alone, that we are not actually a loving, caring, charitable, equitable group. Specifically hating people, as a rule, means you can’t be loving. We could possibly be an island of internal satisfaction, but in all other interactions we would be a beacon of hate, divisiveness, ignorance, conflict, anger, subjugation, racism, bigotry, and judgemental piousness.
And you know what? If you don’t think bacon is a morally positive choice, then make your case. I may or may not respect that view. But you shouldn’t be forced to therefore also hate black people, alcohol, Jews, Nickelback, solar panels, and Wednesday! Why in the fuck should our concensus or disagreement on bacon (which is yummy) mean we have to agree on the other shit? I’ll tell you why. Religion or politics.
I only make this absurdley obvious point for one reason. And that reason is MOST RELIGIONS DO THIS! All political parties do this. The difference between a political party and a religion, therefore, is what you are expected to worship.
People turn away from religion because of the divisiveness. This means internally, shit is also bad. They play games to look like part of the group. But they don’t actually play ball. Have you ever noticed how Catholic families have gotten much smaller recently? Somebody, nay, everybody, is faking it.
This is also why people turn away from political parties. They generally have a set of beliefs, and the party forces inclusion of other beliefs.
Now, in my younger, innocent days, I assumed that people realized that their political party didn’t represent 100% of their beliefs. They voted as such to get most of what they wanted. But alas, this is not the case so much of the time.
I was arguing with someone about Donald Trump the other day. I was pointing out that he lies all the time in ways that are to the detriment of our country, lines his own pockets, governs like a spoiled child, doesn’t understand his job or most of the things he talks about, etc. The retort I got was something like “well he is busting up the corruption” and “walk softly but carry a big stick.”
I laughed after that second one. He intended it as a punchline to his deep belief that the President should be diplomatic but everyone knows what is in his pocket. “But Trump doesn’t do this”, I chuckled. “He talks loudly and boastfully, but has no stick at all!”
At this point, the gentleman clearly displayed a look of contorted pain as the world of cognotive dissonance came crashing down upon him. I was right, and more so, it meant his beloved Trump was wrong.
But dear reader, if you think he accepted that, guess again! He started yammering and trying to make up excuses on the very spot! He was almost incoherent! I spoke up. No, no, no, no, no! I cried! Don’t change your deeply held beliefs because you just realized Trump works against them! I pleaded. But, but I’m not…. Yes! I interjected! You just said a president should walk softly and carry a big stick. Diplomatic but with power. Trump yells and calls names, but never has a backup plan. Don’t change your own beliefs because of Trump!
I relate this story not for the sake of noting Trumps utter failure as a president. No, I note it because in politics and religion, it is expected that your beliefs must change to fit the group. This gentleman’s deeply held belief stood in stark contrast to the person he has pledged loyalty to, and he chose to try and modify his belief to fit the deity.
I have seen religious people do this all the time. They have a solid belief. They also proclaim to follow the bible verbatim. So I find a bible passage or even a story that absolutely is the exact opposite of what they claim to believe. Tapdancing ensues.
I personally don’t understand why people do this. I mean, I KNOW they do this, and I could give you any number of social reasons why they do. But I personally can talk to someone or be in a group, and of that person or group says something I don’t agree with, I speak up. Maybe I just feel liberated from social pressures for various reasons or something. But then again, this is probably why I am an atheist.
I’m an atheist because I refuse to hate people just because you tell me I must. I’m an atheist because I use my own mind to find the truth, not to find the way that makes me fit in. I’m an atheist because herds are a two-edged sword. Loving internally, hating externally.
If you are willing to cause pain and suffering unto others to make sure you fit in, there is a church calling you. But if you wish to live with a liberated mind, you seek truth over comfort, and you call the shots as you see them, you too could be an atheist.
The Spartan Atheist