I stumbled across this while I was wondering about Reddit last night. Now I’ve made post about /r/atheism before, and how the place is really encompasses all the worst things about the atheism movement into one location; however, this particular post hit a nerve. Now, if you’re not already aware… I’m a southern boy who grew up in the all too southern town of Chattanooga in the southeastern section of the United States. I’ve had a chance to live in the Mid West, Visit the West Coast, The East Coast, pretty much everywhere but Alaska and Hawaii. I’ve at least moseyed on through most sections of the United States at some point. Now, having seen a lot of places, you meet a lot of different people.
One of the things that I have going for me is a complete lack of a southern accent. It means that I get to disguise who I am no matter what section of the United States I am in. I can go into the North and people assume that I am from the Midwest, I can go into the Midwest and people just assume I am from another Midwestern state, and I can go into various other sections of the United States and people just assume I’m simply not from there. In this way you can hear how people talk about the various sections of the United States; because, on top of being racist, the US also happens to hate various other sections of the United States. I guess there was simply to much land in the US so we figured that if we don’t get to officially be hateful or spiteful towards other countries, religions, whatever else that we should get a free pass on making fun of what geographical location within the United States that someone happens to live in.
Please understand that I’ll be the first to admit that there is a reason that stereotypes exist, and the south isn’t without those stereotypes; however, the kind of venom that post like that display is ignorant and incredibly reliant upon generalizations that could use some rational thought. If you are going to pride your self upon critical thinking, one of the first things you need to do is realize that requires you understand that making sweeping generalizations, one sided judgement, and the like makes you look intellectually lazy. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can make those generalizations all you want, and I’m not saying you should or should not. What I am saying is that by doing so, you are lowering whatever intellectual standards you might have had.
If you honestly think that the Religous Nutjobs of the world haven’t taken this moment to pin this on the “Wrath of God” than you need to take a second to look at their press releases :
The crazies of the world are no less convinced that it was God punishing humanity just because the South also happens to be incredibly religious. In fact, this is where I think it needed that people understand how the religious “borders” are drawn. I am of the opinion that a lot of Atheist are unaware of the divisions in the various churches. The South happens to be very religious… with two sects of Christianity. You see the thing is that most of the South is either Baptist or Methodist, with a suspiciously racial breakdown showing from who happens to be Baptist and who happens to be Methodist. I’d be even more curious to see if there isn’t a further financial breakdown between relative income and denomination with poor strongly favoring Baptist and wealthy to middle class favoring methodist. My point is that the Bible Belt is actually just the Baptist and Methodist Belt, there aren’t that many Catholics or really any other sects of Christianity down there. And if I may let you in on a little secret, among the religious not many folks like the Baptist. This is because most Baptist tend to lean towards that “fire and brimstone” thing much easier. The methodist aren’t so much disliked as ignored.
So no, the religious won’t hold anything back just because the south happens to be religious; because, as far as they’re concerned, the south is the wrong breed of religious.
It irritates me to see people make such sweeping generalizations without even a thought of the people who compose the area. Are there crazy people who have sex with their own cousins in the south? Yes I’m sure there are, just as there are crazy people who do it in the north. The traits that are commonly associated with the south could just as easily be applied to Midwestern farmers, English sheep herders, or really anyone who happens to be in a rural area. With DC, Baltimore, Boston, and New York slowly becoming a Super Metropolis on the east coast and LA, San Fransisco, and Sacramento becoming one on the west, it seems that people have forgotten that the stereotypes they are making aren’t unique to the south, they are unique to rural environments.
It seems ever since that whole Civil War thing that people are convinced there are no Urban Liberal cities in the south, there are no Atheist in the South, and there are no rational people in the south. Honestly that kind of shit is intellectually dishonest and hurtful when you’re trying to have a movement that embraces people. If you automatically assume that just because of the place someone comes from, it determines their thought patterns, you’re going to chase off people who would have been perfect for helping your movement along.
Now, of all times, is not a good time to be picking on the South for being religious. If you ever wanted to alienate and establish a stereotype of the “Asshole atheist” that’s a damn quick way to do so. What you can do right now is look at the folks down there who do need help, volunteers, and the like. It’s not time to be acting superior, it’s not time to pretend that you’re better than someone because of your geographical location, and it’s not time to pick on the south because of the magnitude of people killed. I don’t care if it was 300 or 300,000, right now cities like Tuscaloosa, Ringgold, Aspion, and others need help. The adult thing to do, and the human thing to do would be to put aside those petty differences and help them.
Places that are trying to help: