I want to start off clearly with that oh so obvious defense, I am an atheist but… I read reddit’s /r/ atheism page because lets face it, it’s one of the largest atheist groups on the net, and it’s kind of the silly version of the freethought page, and I must admit that there are times when even I get a cheap laugh out of the goofy images of raptor Jesus and the likes, it’s just something that amuses me. But recently I had the unfortunate chance to stumble across a video that I can’t say I was too happy to see. It is below:
Now, I want to start off by pointing out the obvious, because this is the internet and in order to make it implicitly clear what you are getting at sometimes you have to point out those things that really need to be said. By the time we have reached this point in the video, this woman has been badgered by the audience for at least a moment of time, I don’t now for how much, but it’s been long enough to get the crowd to turn on her, I’ve seen it before, monkey group think is incredibly simple. You see, when we have decided that someone isn’t fitting the standard of behavior we’ll take one of 2 actions. If we are convinced they are dangerous, we will scatter [the flight response], if we are convinced they are a non threat [the woman in the video], than we will take the fight response. Now in a social situation, we do this through public humiliation, it’s just kind of the way the human monkey circle works. And that’s what you are seeing in this video, the audience has deemed to woman to be to different and they are shunning her so that her own fight or flight response will finally kick in. We as the external viewer are stepping in at pretty much the moment that her mind can no longer contain her anger. And judging by the speech patterns used by the cameraman at the very go of the video, they’ve been talking for long enough for him to be expecting a response from her. What I’m trying to say is that we are walking into this in the middle of the conversation and have no clue what was being said before hand.
Now with that out-of-the-way, the lady goes on to finally snap under the peer pressure, as no one is comfortable with her, and they’d like her run away or get lost, it’s how we as humans operate, it’s worked for a long time and it will likely continue to work. It’s this kind of behavior that makes group think so incredibly dangerous. Anyway, I’m getting distracted by group think and OLS classes. Now I’ve been in a few places where my religious views cause a lot of tension. Here in the United States, atheism is not seen as the social norm, nor is it accepted as such, It’s seen as a far left ideology [name me a major Right Wing Atheist]. And so having /r/ atheism is a nice place to fall back to so that I can step back and relax from the crazy that is the Sky Wizards cult. Now off to the post that got me just worked up enough to write this: here.
Reddit works in patterns, if you sort by best, the standard flow is 1 joke at the top followed by people attempting to claim upon that karma, this is followed by a series of semi moderate but readable responses of varying viewpoints, and then this is followed by generally lengthy post explaining in full what is or is not fucked up about the post. The joke and lengthy post used to be reversed in position, but I think my generation [ie when myself and those like me moved to reddit] probably fucked that up because we liked the -5 troll post and +5 funny post at slashdot more than we did the +5 informative [we’re a fucked up bunch who ruin things and had to tell our friends about 4chan… come to think of that, we probably ruined what we could have that too. Imaging finding a bunch of sick fucks and then pretending to be a sick fuck to blend in, remember when talking about 12chan didn’t result in a knock at the door by the child pornography section of the FBI?]. We finally moved to reddit once the point when we realized that the gap of kids about 4-6 years younger than us were flooding dig and it was time to jump ship. Anyway… I’m getting off track again.
Why am I mad about this post? Because this one-sided notion of how we deal with the christian crazy, the “Oh they’re being oppressed, they’re wrong of course because we’re oppressed”. Well no shit we’re oppressed, we have all kinds of social fuck ups pointed against us, you think for a second that I would mention my religious views when applying for a chik filet? But that’s the thing, we’re ok… you see, that’s the one nifty thing that comes with being half decent and intelligent. You learn to take the sticks and stones that early childhood throws at you because you’re different, that’s what defines us, if we don’t we’ll usually just off ourselves. I think that’s why we’re so amused that people can be trolled so easily [I’m not really singling out atheist in this bunch I suppose, just my generation of atheist]. We’re constantly spent days degrading each other, it wasn’t trolling, we were dead serious about trying to challenge those on the internet about whatever it is was we’d get into petty squabbles about. We’re so used to mud-slinging that it just kind of falls off like water on a duck. So why is that I have a problem with what looks to a pretty clear case of IRL trolling?
Because Christians in general can’t take it, their position is the majority and they’ve never had it demonized in this country, they’ve never been wrong about who or what they believe in. Imagine if for years you were told that you sleep at night and you stay in your bed [you do, don’t worry], but suddenly someone came along and was like “No duh… you’re dragged off into a different dimension]. Now imagine that it becomes the pressing crashing reality that the dimension shift actually is more logical, that science had been working day and night and slowly making the sleeping in your bed bit look like a pile of ancient superstition, it’d kind of throw a monkey wrench into you trying to sleep wouldn’t it? Well that’s a lot of what its like for someone to face the reality that maybe things aren’t as they thought they were. Humans have a nasty hatred of change, in fact that’s pretty much how our political system works: those who are for change, vs those who are against a change in the system. And now people are suddenly on their own starting to challenge one of the core policies of human existence, the presence of a higher moral authority. No one dragged us to that conclusion, very few atheist are atheist because of a single piece of evidence, and even fewer haven’t challenged their atheism [tell me you haven’t screamed out for a god? Asked a deity to just pop out and prove for a millisecond you’re not right?]. I don’t like the idea that I’m right about this, because it makes things a lot more on me, it puts a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, responsibility that isn’t an easy weight to bear. But I came to accept that responsibility, that my moral position would have to be of my own invention, that I would have to learn to respect life in all forms of my own time. In fact, while I’m hesitant to say it because of fears of backlash, I am confident in the nature that I stand on a higher ethical code than most within the christian faith or many other faiths… because I have to live with the consequences. I can’t go to some confessional, I can’t serve an eternal punishment, I have to live with what I do. And I think that what we are seeing here is those traditional views being challenged, thoughts which they thought for sure were moral obligations running in with the reality of the situation, that they aren’t just wrong… they were morally wrong. How damning would that be? You weren’t just wrong about the situation, that what you did wasn’t ethical? There are some people who can live with themselves like that, but I imagine it’s a tough thing to accept to yourself that you’ve been wrong… for a long time.
And that’s why I can’t sit back and get angry about the oppression, because I can deal with it, for the most part they just sentence me to their imaginary burning hole in the ground. I’m ok with that; because, I don’t need their moral code to distinguish right from wrong, I don’t need a judge to tell me that I shouldn’t have done something. They do
And that is why I think we so many go kicking and screaming running back to their god, because their asking the same question I am, and like me… they think they’re right, but unlike me they’re kicking and their screaming, it doesn’t produce the answer they were looking for. That god doesn’t come out of the clouds, it doesn’t tell them they are right. I got the answer I expected from my god, that it doesn’t exist, they aren’t. So they see into things, they want so hard to believe, they want there to be a god so much that they invent what is god and what isn’t. They begin to justify their political beliefs, because if politics swings their way than surely their god must think them correct.
And so, I’m sorry, I am so sorry, I wish I could change things for you, but I’m sorry… the world is the way it is, and morality is beginning to change and you’re likely wrong. So you won’t find me chasing someone who is crazy, who is bitter, who is estranged from society because they’re starting to be seen as outliers rather than the backbone of this little linear curve. And it is for that reason that I pity them, just as they pity me. They fear that I will burn in a burning pit for the rest of eternity, I fear that they may never wake up, that they will continue sleeping without ever realizing that they are no longer in their bed, and I can’t drag them out of it. I can do nothing to change it; because, they have to do this on their own.
God doesn’t heal amputees, but in order to push this society to the next level, I am going to have to start stepping on your beliefs; because, they are fundamentally bas ackwards. I’m destroying you’re temple because I have to, for the sake of the human race, that doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy putting you through that. So I say to you, don’t mock their beliefs because you can, mock them because you have too… because otherwise we will remain stagnant in our morality and that is the most dangerous thing of all. A tree monkey with a nuclear missile is still a tree monkey, we’ve got to evolve as a society, as a morality just as we do as a species if we ever want to be anything special.
My thoughts? feel sorry for her, know she is wrong, but feel pity for that creature because while it’s belief system in all respects deserves our discontent, the creature itself can change.