Should I know this about you?

I have asked this question of supporters of same-sex marriage in a critical way in the past.  I often wonder why it is important to you that I know your sexual proclivities.  I don’t particularly think this is information I essential for me to know regardless of your sexual identification, but it seems to have vital importance for some.

For one thing, it doesn’t really matter to me your sexual identity.  I have never given it primary status in my life and don’t see why it should be in yours.  For example, I wouldn’t include my sexual attraction to women in the “tell me about yourself” section of any questionnaire or interview.  For some reason this information is consistently offered unsolicited by gays.  It really seems to be a foundational part of who they are.  Personally, I see it as an invitation to confrontation — not necessarily intentional though.  “I’m gay, you better be OK with it.”  I think it’s offered to gain affirmation.  I mean, you must be looking for some reaction if you’re putting such an intimate fact about your personal life out there, right?  This is, of course, not an accurate way to gauge the acceptance of friends and family, and certainly not new acquaintances.  You won’t get many people willing to be called names if they hold a moral objection to your sexuality.

This phenomenon is trending to another minority demographic: Atheists.  Many people I meet feel it necessary for me to know they don’t hold the same religious convictions as I do.  But aside from in person submissions, I noticed this on the social media site twitter.  Atheists on twitter seem to really want other to know they are members of the free-thinking crowd.  I was amazed by the number of Atheists who felt it necessary to include it in their bio-blurb.  They hold the affiliation with pride, like a badge of honor.

To me, this doesn’t make sense.  For all the Atheists who argue that atheism isn’t a view or a belief, they sure do want people to know about it.  If not believing in God is akin to not believing in unicorns or leprechauns as many Atheists claim, why advertise?  If one’s belief that God doesn’t exist is non-foundational, why then is it something to be so proud of?

Why are these things about yourself such that you feel a need to put them on display for all to see?  I’m curious why gays feel their sexuality is a defining factor in who they are.  Why should I know this about you, what does it really say about who you are?  Atheists, if your denial of God’s existence is so trivial and non-informing to your worldview, why do you wear it like a coat of arms?  I get the impression from gays and Atheists who advertise these facets of their lives in such public ways that they’re looking for confrontation.  Almost like, ‘I dare you to challenge me on this’.

Am I wrong here?  What other reasons could you have for offering me this information about yourself?  Why should I know this about you?

Comments

  1. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Homosexuals are indeed looking for affirmation. Atheists are hypocritical by claiming it isn’t a belief (“it’s a non-belief” – yeah, right).

  2. With respect to the gay thing, knowing their sexual proclivities, or more specifically, the gender of the people they love, wouldn’t be a problem for you if not for your ‘religious proclivities’, which is to say the prejudices that cause you to try to legislate against their basic human rights. Stop hating them and they’ll probably make less of an issue out of it.
    Before you say you’re not hating them, divorce your wife and tell me it’s no big deal.

    Second, you never see all the atheists (or gays) who never say anything. It’s a simple cognitive bias. You see (or say you see) atheists spouting their beliefs at you (as if that’s a bad thing) and you decide that all atheists must be doing so. I’m here to tell you I meet atheists ALL THE TIME who tell me only because I brought it up (because it’s my job). The reason our community has little political power and social acceptance is that the VAST MAJORITY of atheists are quiet and inactive. They just go about their business. It’s like the VAST MAJORITY of Christians who don’t stand on street corners waiving signs or writing blogs. They just go about their business.

    Your irritations with all these differing viewpoints speaks to your persona prejudice and inability to tolerate diversity. Your perception that “Atheists on twitter seem to really want other[s] to know” is simple cognitive bias. Most quietly go about their business and you never hear about it.

    But if we talk about the minority of people who believe differently than you and feel the need to let you know about it, it’s for two reasons. First, it’s because you started it. Christians have churches all around with signs out front, crosses around their necks, political organizations, ads on TV, blogs, and billboards on the side of the road. You most likely posted some religious belief and they responded to what you said. So ask yourself why you are surprised that they responded.

    Second, we atheists get belittled all the time. At the very least, society has a low opinion of us. We speak up in order to remind people that we are their friends and family, that we have a rational basis for our beliefs, and that, if people will let us, we’d like to get to the business of living happy and healthy lives and helping others do the same. The gays have the more acute problem of fighting against legislation and culture that dehumanizes them.

    • Jason

      http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S2802104.shtml?cat=300

      This year Liberty Ridge has 15 weddings booked. Nuptials are a growing market for the 26-year-old farm, but owner Robert Gifford is adamant — they don’t host same-sex marriages.

      “I think it’s our right to choose who we market to, like any business,” Gifford explained during an interview at the farm Friday afternoon.

      It appears that will be up to New York to decide. The state’s Human Rights Law bans places of accommodation from discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation.

      “It seems like the women would have a strong argument that it is a place of public accommodation,” said David Fallon, a discrimination attorney with Tully Rinckey Law Firm who is not representing the couple.

      But because marriage equality is so new in New York — legal for just more than a year – there is no case law to support or reject the discrimination claim the women filed with the state Division of Human Rights.

      tell me again why this law wont affect churches and pastors?

  3. I joined a bowling team several years ago and one of the members, without any questioning from me, offered that he doesn’t believe and that he hasn’t seen any more proof for God than he does the Easter Bunny. (I asked him where he looked and how often.) I don’t know why he felt compelled to say so. He did almost like a greeting: “Hi. I’m Bob. I’m an atheist and I haven’t seen any more proof of God than I have for the Easter Bunny.” Weird.

  4. Jason,
    I’ve never heard anyone say “I’m a Christian” in a manner that equates to my anecdote above. And guess what? I’ve known a few atheists that wear crosses around their necks as just another way to accessorize.

    I’ve been in a conversation at another blog on the topic of abortion. I had no intention of bringing up my faith, and never do in such conversations, but it eventually assumed by pro-aborts that my position is based entirely upon my faith, and not the clear science about what grows in the womb. This indicates a need to separate one’s self religiously so as to attempt a posture of sophistication versus my “superstition”. I say all this to show that in my experience, an atheist or non-believe will actually make a point of their lack of belief in a desperate attempt to counter the facts they cannot refute. Christians do not discriminate against atheists simply for the fact of their atheism. But as with homosexuals, we are justified to discriminate against any behavior seen as detrimental, just as both of those groups do to Christians and conservatives (but wrongly).

    I would also challenge you to illustrate how and/or why telling the truth is in any way hateful. Or perhaps you can provide proof that any of us on this side of the issue is hateful toward homosexuals. Here is the truth for you once more:

    -Christians do not believe being a homosexual, or rather, having those tendencies, is sinful. Homosexual behavior is sinful. This is a fact of our faith regardless of what atheists prefer to believe about the behavior. But atheists have no science to back their position if they deny this aspect of our position, we do as seen in the next point.

    -Homosexual attraction is a disorder. This is based on the fact that our species has two genders designed for each other. The two genders are compatible and complimentary with each other. Thus, it is obvious that for one gender to be attracted to the same gender is not logical, rational or beneficial to the survival of the species. The fact that animals might also show signs of this same-sex attraction does not lend credibility to the attraction, but only shows that the disorder exists amongst other species as well.

    These are the facts. How does acknowledging them indicate hatred?

  5. In my experience, atheists do this as a method of appealing to authority – and identifying that authority as themselves. They are saying it as a way to establish their superiority over people with religion beliefs. I find it hilarious when they refer to themselves as “free thinkers,” though, since I’ve found them to be even more dogmatic and closed minded then the religious people they mock. I know a number of atheists who were members of an online “free thinking society” that I checked out. It was the first time I’d encountered the term and initially liked the notion, thinking that “free thinking” actually meant… well, “free thinking.” Boy, was I proven wrong! Reading their forums, I found they where neither free, nor thinking, much. Most of their time seemed to be spent quoting Dawkins or Hitchens (even when they had no idea they were doing so), mocking people of faith for being ignorant and lauding themselves for their obvious vuanted intelligence. It was extremely dogmatic.

    I do encounter self-proclaimed Christians that do something similar. On introductions, I’ve heard plenty of “Hi, I’m [name,] and I’m a born again Christian!” or something like that, at a venue where it was entirely our of context and perplexing.

    As for why gays do it, I find that the ones who do that really do define themselves by their sexual preferences. Everything in their lives seems to rotate around their sexuality, and I find it perplexing. I know gays who *don’t* do that, and they find it perplexing, too. What I find just as perplexing is people who aren’t gay who go out of their way to announce to the world, constantly and often extremely rudely, talk about how much they support gays/gay marriage/lgtbqq2p-xyz people, etc. For them, it’s clearly a matter of extablishing superiority over anyone who disagrees with them. They especially love resorting to slander and misrepresentation of anyone who disagrees with them, and the most dispicable they can be about it, the more gleeful they are.

    • Kunoichi
      There’s a difference with Christians though, we claim it is a central part of who we are, atheists generally claim ot holds little to no significance.

      Jason

      You can see the atheistic braggery on twitter for example by finding a prominent atheist and looking at their followers. I realist that not all atheists are so vocal, but they aren’t the ones who bring attention to themselves, brag about their atheism, then claim its not any big part of them. That’s what I’m criticizing.

  6. There goes Jason with the typical homosexualist lies and whining victim status.

    No one is trying to legislate against homosexual rights. What we are trying to legislate is stopping them from redefining the word “marriage” and the institution it describes. No one is “hating” homosexuals by denying them the right to force everyone else to sanction and accept their sexual deviancy.

    In Jason’s worldview, one is “prejudiced” if he says homosexuality should not be sanctioned. But it ISN’T “prejudiced” to homosexuals to attack those who disagree with them, as being “homophobes.” He cries “tolerance” while sanctioning atheists and homosexuals who don’t seem to know what the word tolerance means, because they NEVER show tolerance to those who disagree.

  7. “There’s a difference with Christians though, we claim it is a central part of who we are…”

    Agreed, but that’s not the context I mean. Every now and then, I encounter it and it’s just odd and out of place, more like a badge than a part of their identity. I don’t get the impression that they’re looking for validation. It’s just… odd.

    • You’re right Kunoichi, they do wear it as a badge of honor and I think they use it to either feel like a member of a secret society if the other person replies in kind. I also think those kinds of Christians are more prone to looking down their nose at someone who either isn’t a christian or isn’t their brand of Christian.

      However, it wouldn’t bother (and bother really is the wrong word) me so much when atheists do it if they would just acknowledge the placement of where atheism rests with them. That its more than just a piece on the shelf among their other beliefs, when in reality it is the shelf upon which all their other beliefs rest.

  8. Rob Peterson says:

    @ John Barron- It is not like atheists are the only group of people in the world who advertise themselves to find like-minded groups of people to share their ideas with. This website is a great example.

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