What’s the end game ?

Out of a sense of curiosity about what people think and how they rationalise (no I’m not American, ‘rationalise’ is spelled that way where I was educated!) their thoughts, I am currently dabbling in online discussions over matters of values, beliefs and attitudes. It’s a rather interesting experience now that I have finally happened across a  ‘Facebook’ page which seems to genuinely welcome calm discussion.

The group is, as individuals,  able to post whatever topics they feel are worthy of exploration, and there seems to be a small group of folks willing to contribute to the conversations in a very positive manner. There is, however, a pattern emerging – a pattern of returning time and again to the arguments (not really debates) about faith and non-faith perspectives. This seems to be a very passionate subject area for many of the contributors – most of whom are from the USA. I get the strong impression that this is much more of an imperative issue in the U.S. than here in Canada.

Feelings run high – I have been taken to task by a couple of people who seem to become increasingly irritated by my position when it doesn’t fit into a pigeonhole they have created. I have been told that I ‘should’ believe this and ‘should not’ believe that, and when I decline to obey these rather infuriated instructions, I am told that I am not reasoning in an acceptable way! It’s really quite surprising at times how people get so worked up by another person stating a belief position and then refusing to change that position in order to fit in with someone else’s  beliefs.

Why should it matter to someone whom I don’t know, will probably never meet, and whose life I will probably never interfere with, if I don’t fit into their definition of atheism or agnosticism? Where does this arrogance come from whereby a person can feel entitled to tell me what I ‘should’ believe depending upon their idea of either position? It leaves me shaking my head in wonder at what is hard not to label as a lack of common sense, or even a lack of intelligence. What kind of environment creates someone who rails against organized religion for it’s dogma and oppression, yet whom also insists upon me fitting into their view of the world?

Where does this kind of attitude take society? What kind of society creates (if it indeed does) this attitude?

The approach seems to be “Be like me, think like me, or F*** Off!”. What a scary, dangerous and potentially destructive tribal end game that could turn out to be.

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