Ah, Mark Twain....one of my favorite notable quotables. I could go into a long list of awesome things he's said, but you can do that yourself on Google. There, I've made that even easier for you.
This is one of the quotes, I always smile at, but quickly worry about. I've always been an outsider and it's gotten to the point where I am comfortable being one. It's something I've always taken pride in. However, lately, I find myself with the opposite problem: I can't seem to feel comfortable in ANY group.
It has become second nature to me to always look at the opposite side of any given argument because after being shoveled bullshit for most of my life, that is how I find the truth. I often end up choosing the opposite side of what's popular, not because I get a kick out of being contrary, but because I do genuinely believe what is opposite of popular most of the time. I do sometimes play devil's advocate, or act contrary on purpose just to get people thinking or talking, but I am usually very candid about it. I'll preface with, "Just to play devil's advocate," or, "Just for fun, think of it this way," or, "What would you say to people who say the opposite?"
In other words, I'm rarely ever just trying to get someone's goat. I think only really stupid, immature people do that.....that is to say, there are lots of stupid immature people out there. If you don't believe me, go on reddit some time.
...or anywhere else on the web where people can interact semi-anonymously.
Still, although I do argue candidly "for fun" at times, I find myself uncomfortable when I actually agree with a decent amount of people. This makes it difficult to maintain friendships, to continue social groups, to even start new social interactions, to vote, to make decisions, to commit to anything. It seems like whenever I just start to feel like, "Hey, these people are on the same page as me," I have to find some flaw in it.
When I was in Catholic school, I couldn't go along with Catholicism. When I was in high school, surrounded by Baptists who insisted Catholics were pagans, I found myself going along with Catholicism. When all the Baptist bullies finally left me alone about being Catholic, I decided that being pagan was what I "really" believed (I'm sure at the time I believed it, but whatever any teenager believes, even if it is deep within their core at the time, they're still teenagers and can only be taken so seriously). Then, when I got to college and met other pagans, I though, "Well, this is pretty gay," and went around as a general agnostic, one that didn't know there were groups for agnostics and atheists out there. Then, once I met a bunch of agnostics, I felt like they were just wankers who pretended to be intellectually superior but were actually just refusing to pick a side as an insurance policy (I still feel that way, btw). I am now pretty well committed to being an atheist...if one can commit to being nothing.
I've been reasonably active within the atheist community. I attend a monthly atheist meeting and organize a monthly atheist social. I've attended a few major atheist events including lectures, gatherings, convention tracks, and Reason Rally. I've met some really kind, intelligent, loving people with diverse interests that seem to accept me.
...and there it goes again. I'm starting to feel uncomfortable. I'm starting to find the flaws. The main flaw I seem to keep noticing is that atheists are kind of a bunch of socially awkward cockmasters. They think they're superior to everyone, they think they're better educated than everyone, they think if they whip out terms they heard in debate class this one time, that they're smarter than everyone, they think they get to determine when a discussion or thought process is over, they think that everyone who isn't like them is a retard, worse, they use science in the same obnoxious way religious people use religion: as an excuse to be cunts.
"Herp, me man, you woman, science say me number one, me sleep with 500 women, but you no sleep with other men, you be mom, you like be mom, you do laundry now. Derp."
These things wouldn't be so bad if not for the socially awkward part. It would be one thing to disagree, but all terms of civility have been wiped out of discussion it seems. It's like people don't know how to talk to each other anymore. I don't believe this is a specifically atheist problem, but it seems to be magnified within the atheist community. I also don't want to give extra credit where it is undue. This could be a vocal minority of dingleberries. Most of the atheists I meet in person are nice to me (except for one particular local group that SEVERAL people I know quit because it was full of cockmasters).
There's probably some serious psychological shit going on with me, because it really is MY problem and not everybody else's, and yet I know it's not just me. I am not the only one to feel this way, to write about it, or to publicly discuss it. It's actually been quite the buzz within the atheist community over the past couple years, most notably with the statement, "Don't be a dick."
Sadly, the idea doesn't seem to stick....oh look, I'm a poet and I don't.......wanna be.
I understand theists and general hippies that believe anything as long as it doesn't involve science-but-it-worked-for-these-three-guys-this-one-time-and-there-are-tons-of-books-about-it can be very annoying people. It's particularly annoying when they take these ignorant ideas to places like Congress or doctors' offices....but then there's everybody else. A very small percentage of Americans are medical professionals or lawmakers. Hell, a very small percentage of Americans are even voters. The number of religious/woowoo people and general retards directly affecting your personal life and freedom is quite small (not that the small amount of them shouldn't be smacked into shape immediately and constantly). On a personal level, mono e mono, there is no reason to treat people like they are less than you.
We all came to "reason" different ways. Some of us were raised in extremely religious households. Some of us thought we were psychic. Some of us had parents that raised us with reason. Some of us still cling to our religious lives even though we know it's an act. We're all at different places and it really hurts my heart to see people being so hateful to each other about it, particularly toward people that are on the same team! I get more hate mail from other atheists than from theists...and I've publicly said bad things about Islam.
People that aren't on your team still deserve respect and kindness. Just because some people are devoutly religious doesn't mean they will stay that way forever. Even if some people do, that doesn't mean they're uneducated assholes that are out to get you, to force you to believe what they believe, to force you to spend money on their beliefs, to change your textbooks, to come into your house and examine what positions you're having sex in, and to throw your condoms and birth control pills in the microwave while they're at it.
So many atheists are fans of calling themselves "humanists," but seem to pick and choose who they treat as human. It's shameful, offensive, and not helpful to anybody!
Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm really wrong that people know how to treat each other well. Maybe I'm trying to shoehorn humanity into the image of goodness. Maybe people really are just a fat load of stupid pricks that are only out to serve themselves. Maybe that's why, every time I think I've found a group of folks that isn't, I am quickly disenchanted. Maybe it's time to pause and reflect.
Image stolen from patheos.com, who stole it from icanhascheezburger.com, whoPin It
likely definitely stole it from somebody else.