Tuesday, 10 November 2015

‘Preaching the Gay’

Recently, I had to block someone on Facebook for a completely different reason than I’ve ever had to do before.

I’ve had bullying on Facebook before, and back-biting, which has caused me to block people. But I’ve never had to block someone because of this before. It was weird.

I admit, I’d put up a post that was none too pleasant. I’d tagged some people in it, telling them I didn’t want to have their religion thrust at me any more – I realised I was beginning to post increasingly aggressive atheist posts mocking religion and didn’t want to end up with bad emotions between myself and my new friends. Why was I putting up these posts? Because I was getting defensive about my lack of belief – I was feeling that I had to defend my view point.

So, I’d like to take to a quote from Everyday Feminism on Political Correctness:

That quote can be applied to a lot of other things as well – in this instance I’m referring to the way said friends now have to engage conversation with me.

Before, I was getting told I should have joined in on prayer. I was continually asked to read from the Bible, to join in Bible and religious discussion. They were bigoted against my own lack of belief.

Now they stop to think, and in stopping, have realised their mistake. I’ve been asked recently if it’s ok to tell me “bless you” when I sneeze, which I think is rather silly question – in that, of course it’s only; it’s a common saying, it’s not offensive at all (it’s actually kinda nice because it says that the person is thinking of you) – but the fact I was asked meant that they realised and wanted to know how to do better. This makes them some of the best people I know – the willingness to change, in turn, showing compassion.

The point is that they now are a little egg-shell walking because they now understand that before, they would say, ask or tell me something bigoted, but now they stop and think – and realised that some things can be better left unsaid.

I think in these circumstances where you realise that you’re stepping on eggshells, you have 3 options:
  • Change your behaviour – you might be upsetting someone and not realise
  • Ignore them – in which case, I would say that you definitely are bigoted, simply because it ignores the harm you may be causing
  • Realise that you might be the one in the abusive relationship – you shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells all the time – there’s other signs as well and maybe you should look for them

 The thing is, I’d realised I was the one walking on eggshells to begin with.

Through school and college I experimented with religions because I was finding it difficult to swallow all the lies and logical fallacies all religions inherently have. The closest I came was paganism as it was the only big religion I’d tried that didn’t have some manipulative doctrine behind it. Even then, to me magick was about changing psychology, not about balls of burning gas millions of lightyears away influencing your life (which I have always thought was pretty arrogant to be honest).

I read the God Delusion and came to conclusion everything I’d been told about atheism is wrong – it’s not a religious viewpoint, it’s not a belief in its own right. It doesn’t have these things at all, in fact.

I’d realised that I’d been expected to conform, to have a belief because others do.

After a while, I started sharing funny pictures and articles I found funny, and scientific thoughts, that kind of thing. I’d discuss science and beliefs with friends, trying to figure out what they think and feel and compare them to my own, try to understand why clinging to a belief or trying to convert others is so important – unfortunately, I never did understand because all I ever got told were various forms of garbage.

One of my brother’s Christian friends had already taken it upon himself to try to “save” me, what with my sexuality. Now that I’d given up religion, he saw it was the excuse he needed to pile on more crap at me. And, yes, I do say crap – until you can provide evidence, if you’re trying to convert or convince someone of some facet of religion, then you’re doing nothing but manipulating and using potentially harmful lies.

It seemed that having another religion just meant I was misguided but still had the potential of finding God, so it’s fine. Not having anything at all was a big, big deal that needed correcting right away.

For the next 5 years, no matter what happened, whenever I saw this friend, God would come up in discussion and the next thing I knew I’d get a “whenever I needed help, I prayed to God…” speech. Without fail. Every. Single. Time.

I was later met with scorn by my brother and his friends because, clearly, it was me that was the problem – I’d goaded him into everything. Presumably, merely by telling him I don’t have beliefs – it’s like people assumed the correct response to this is “do you want some?” not “cool”.

I admit I took the piss out of his silly beliefs. Is it unfair to say ‘silly’ when it’s a belief? Of course not, but didn’t stop my brother and his friends getting ‘offended’ because I’d decided not to take this guy’s belief of dinosaurs living at the same time as humans and lived in peace with Man or “that being gay is a choice and they’re not ‘made’ that way” seriously. I feel I must point out that this guy also is a fundamentalist – denies evolution, believes forgiving is forgetting, faith fixes all and that God granted him a car when he prayed for one.

In mocking such blatantly redundant beliefs, however, it was decided by everyone that clearly, I deserved someone else’s (misguided – seriously, I was being told homophobia is ok because “love the sinner, hate the sin” bullshit) opinions shoved at me, because I’d obviously been asking for them.

I was being facetious, mocking and eventually dismissive of this guy and his opinions because I was, in essence, being attacked.

I suppose I should take some of the blame, as I should have been mature and just walked away every time. Thing is, that’s really, really difficult to do when this guy is your brother’s friend, tells the entire family about his ‘conversations’ with God every time he visits just for your benefit and will actively pursue you when you walk away or bring it up in every conversation that has a possible opening to it.

So when my boyfriend’s friends started to do similar things – ask me at least 3 time every evening of a Bible reading to join in; tell me off for not joining in prayers before meals; wait for me to arrive before Bible study starts, so I can ‘benefit’ from the teachings – I started to once again post defensive, mocking posts out of old habit.

Originally, I was very quiet when asked about what my beliefs were and didn’t draw attention to it because I was ‘walking on eggshells’ – at one point I was worried about going because I was worried about the oncoming onslaught of opinionated nonsense. I was mostly worried about potentially upsetting them as well.

As it was, by not making a big deal out of it I’d invited them to try to give me beliefs – they, instead of seeing having no belief as legitimate position, took it as a challenge. I reacted badly because of my past, for which I’m very sorry.

I don’t think my response is completely unjustified, however.

For some reason, we still, thousands of years later, hold up religious opinions – i.e. something based on any fact or evidence – as beyond reproach. Which is blatantly absurd.

However, this invariably leads to the idiots who think that:
  • It’s ok to criticise a situation they know nothing about
  • Think it’s ok to attack criticism – especially that of firmly held beliefs, which is just utter nonsense
  • It’s ok to attack criticism because I’m clearly a hypocrite as I “preach” in my own way – which is entirely wrong, as I’ll explain

To begin with, I had a couple of comments from a guy who – whilst he says he’s also an atheist – thought it’s ok to judge the situation I was without even knowing what it was. What was implicit behind his comments was two major notions: that commenting on or refuting a religious idea is bad because “that’s also preaching” (which in turn implicitly meant to me “sit down and shut up”), and that secondly, as he was also an atheist, that I should agree with him because otherwise we’d give atheists a “bad name”. This included in the part where he says he joins in prayers before meals. He also attacked a straw man of his design saying that people were free to post what they like on Facebook and I shouldn’t be trying to stop them.

I don’t think I was out of order in my post. Perhaps I should have spoken to them face-to-face but seeing how being face-to-face with them lead to multiple attempts to get me to “join in” I didn’t think that was going to go anywhere. If I upset them out of embarrassment or shame publically on Facebook, so be it – they needed to be called out. You’d do exactly the same with any other unfair treatment. To attack without knowing the details though, that’s bullying in its own right.

Just because you’re also an atheist, doesn’t mean I have to agree with you, or do what you say or even what every other atheist apart from me does. I’m me, not some bloody label I should conform to. On top of that – what, leave nothing unchallenged? Nothing at all? If nothing is challenged, nothing changes. I absolutely must question everything and criticise everything; that’s how good knowledge works.

And preaching? How does one preach atheism, by the way? Oh I put up a lot of atheist posts do I? That’s not preaching – if you’ve got me on your newsfeed that means you want to look at my posts. Also, you came here to make your comments. You didn’t have to.

Ah, so preaching atheism is telling someone a fact? Correcting their definition of evolution because they don’t believe in it? No. I have facts – I’m not pushing a “belief” or “opinion” on you when I tell you about evolution – I’m giving you facts that perhaps you don’t know. There’s a big difference. I can’t preach for one clear reason – I can’t tell you about something I don’t have. I can, however, correct you when you tell other people lies – something a few people have got annoyed at in the past. “Why can’t I post homeopathy treatments to a friend’s illness? Waaaagh!” Because it doesn’t work, dumbass. Because it’s a lie, and telling people it will cure cancer only harms them.

Look at point 5 here if that’s any help: http://atheistcartoons.tumblr.com/faq

Lastly, I wasn’t saying that they shouldn’t be able to post whatever they like – in their own profile. It’s their fucking Facebook. They can post whatever they damn well please – but thanks for creating a straw man to attack – a slightly flailing attempt to make me look bad, well done. It’s when they post on my profile, assert their opinions onto me or others that I get really angry.

He also then defined me as a “bigot” – using the dictionary definition of bigot to include “ideas and beliefs”.

Yes, absolutely I’m bigoted towards certain idea or beliefs. But then again, so is any morally thinking person: ladies, and gentlemen, I present to you the Ku Klux Klan…

Your comments to me are nothing short of the same defamation you accuse me of – though I easily did not make or say anything defamatory. In future, if you’re offended by something you see, keep it to yourself, yeah? Rather than coming over here, being a dick…

 But then that took another turn. And this is where I blocked someone… after accusing me for something I’ve never been accused of before.

A friend commented by saying that she thinks I am a bigot – as if somehow that was a bad thing, see above – and that also I’m argumentative and “closed minded”. She said that I shouldn’t be allowed to call anyone out over shoving their religion down my throat because I myself do exactly the same thing by “preaching the gay”.

Now, first – I don’t care if you think I’m a bigot. I am – to racism, homophobia, sexism and lots of other forms of discrimination. Just as I’m bigoted against Social Darwinism and Eugenics. As I said, any right-minded person would be. Fine. Call me one.

Second – closed minded? Seriously? Fuck off back to your hell-hole for not knowing how logic and rational thinking work. I’ve been accused oft his many times – and every single time by some “god-fearing” Christian or snake-oil “mystic” for not agreeing with their ludicrous ideas. I’ll repeat what every atheist everywhere says: prove it and I’ll change my mind. The problem is you can’t. Just because a person is a “mild” believer, doesn’t mean their beliefs are any less stupid/crazy.

But the last one? Preaching the gay? What the fuck does that mean? I’m not even sure but I guess it’s because I shared a few posts about equal treatment for gays – I stubbornly refuse to say “gay marriage”; it’s marriage, but until everyone has it, privileged to straights – about freedom of choice, and have a rainbow as my profile pic and cover.

OMG! I’m like, totally offensive! How dare I share posts about equality on an issue close to my heart!

As I said with my atheist posts – if you don’t want to see it, you can filter it out. That’s your responsibility to filter it, not mine to stop talking about it. Freedom of speech applies to me too.

But what exactly is preaching the gay? Oh, yeah I want to convert everyone to being gay, like it’s a choice? I know – it’s the famous gay agenda!

This is another thing I’ve been accused of before – but I’ve never seen it put to me that way before.

Apparently, I want to make everyone gay. I’ve been asked before if I’ve had any kind of sexual contact with people who’d say their straight. Yes, I have. I get hit on by straights, too. It happens more than you think to all sexual spectrums.

I think I’d like, possibly, to discuss my thoughts on sexuality in another post.

But when someone who was a friend started asking me about this, and I responded that people might ‘say’ they’re ‘straight’ but really are bi or gay behind closed doors, doesn’t mean I’ve “converted” them. It means that what happened between me and whoever is precisely between me and them and no one else. And no one should feel ashamed for sharing any kind of moment – intimate, sexual, close or otherwise.

His girlfriend then apparently went on a rant behind my back about because of this discussion.

Again, first off, if he wanted to do anything with me, maybe you should evaluate your relationship. Second, if it did happen, he could still say he’s straight, but behind closed doors, then maybe it’s another matter. But third – no. Eww. I’m not touching your sweaty, pot-bellied, snuggle-toothed troll of a boyfriend.

Yes, I know he’s straight. Clearly, being gay I have to fancy him cos he’s straight. Yeah….. No. Fuck you.

So yeah. Thanks for setting up something I have no part in, and linking it to me. Thanks for showing me to others as something that’s not what I’m about.

Maybe next time, learn the situation first? Use reason and logic instead of just throwing your opinions around like some spoilt brat? Maybe get to know me a bit?