Nobody Likes a Critic…

A few months ago, I was banned from an atheist website for calling people out on their anti-Christian prejudices.  Today, on a conservative Christian website, I took part in calling out people on their homophobia and prejudices against other religious/spiritual perspectives.  That part of the thread was deleted, including all of my posts and most of the posts by people joining both sides of the fray.  The hateful comments before and after that part of the thread remain.

For the record, I’m an atheist and I’ll call out people on their prejudices—believer and non-believer alike.  I’m not a big fan of hatred.  It makes me cranky.

I recognize the perverse irony in these complementary events.  I smile at the sense of having come full circle in my ability to make people of diverse philosophies quite uncomfortable.

Moral of the story: regardless of people’s politics or personal beliefs, people don’t like being called out on their prejudices. There also seems to be a corollary: prejudice defies the boundaries of politics and personal belief.

Human beings are an odd lot.  Sometimes it’s really strange living as one of them…

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~ by timberwraith on April 21, 2010.

5 Responses to “Nobody Likes a Critic…”

  1. I call you out on your prejudices against bigoted people! Or something like that.

    I have made a similar observation about folks and their prejudices. Prejudice is actually a function of the brain – pre-considered (or simply learned-and-not-considered ideas) ideas because we don’t have the brain power to think about everything at every step – and it’s really the pre-considered ideas that don’t actually make sense, or no longer make sense, that are the problem.

    And you’re right to cause that discomfort. Skepticism is all about dislodging bad ideas.

    Of course, if you can manage to do that without also getting banned in the process, you can be more effective. And therein lies the rub. =^_^=

  2. The conservative Christian comment thread was on an article about Jennifer Knaapp at Christianity Today. Jennifer Knaapp is a Christian music artist who recently came out as lesbian. The thread was filled with bible-based bigotry against LGBT people. So, I decided to dip my toe into the water and challenge people on their prejudices.

    The thing that really made me happy about this thread is that many LGBT Christians started to speak up after I started calling people out. It was so wonderful to see. Sadly, everyone’s comments—including the most neutrally worded posts by Christian LGBT people—were deleted.

    Honestly, I don’t care if a person wants to believe in a God. Just do so without beating up on people—especially people who have been beaten upon by much of society for a very long time.

    I’ve encountered plenty of Christians who have a strong ethic against being prejudiced toward others, Christians who are fine with LGBT people and people of other faiths. So, I know that prejudice is not a distinctively Christian phenomenon and given the behavior of some atheists, I know it’s not a religious phenomenon. I’ve seen some fairly toxic atheist websites on the net. Not cool. Not cool at all.

    I agree, that there is something in the way our minds are structured that leads people into prejudiced, tribalistic thinking. We tend to remember things by breaking information into large chunks and forming associations between those chunks. This system doesn’t allow for filing away experiences with very much accuracy. Hence, our perceptions of past experiences are extremely rough approximations and are prone to over-generalization. When you add our tendency to form social groups and thus create insider/outsider tensions, you wind up with the perfect storm for prejudice and bigoted strife.

    I wish this stuff were taught in some fashion from Elementary School onward. Would we be a more civil people if we recognized our limitations? I’d like to think so.

  3. It’s a dogmatic phenomenon. Or, more simply, a human phenomenon.

    I think you are right – teaching kids about our own limits and our psychology likely would make for a more tolerant, better thought out society.

    I taught a class at a children-at-risk group home called “examining advertising” – it was really a critical thinking class carefully titled to sound like an “easy A”. Kids who took the class were more likely to improve in other areas of treatment: Group not taken the class,70% or so “graduated” the program. Group taken the class, 86% or so graduated. Too small a sample and no blinds, so take the results with a grain of salt. Still, it would seem to support the idea.

  4. That’s what you get for stirrin the pot and making people uncomfortable. Heaven forbid they should have to step out of their comfort zone and grow a little. =)

  5. Howdy Rachel! Long time, no blog interaction. 🙂

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