So What’s the Big Deal?

by Squiddhartha

What are the Big Scary Topics over which I don’t want to pick fights on Facebook?

Well, naturally, the same topics we are advised to avoid in “polite” conversation: religion and politics.

Politically, I’m not too different from the majority of my friends and colleagues, since we live in the Denver/Boulder area — that oasis of liberalism in the conservative desert of Colorado.  But I don’t completely align with them, either, and would certainly not call myself a Democrat.  And I do have friends and relatives who skew strongly the other direction, and even some “friends” who are full-on right-wingers.  Still, I will occasionally let a mild political jibe through, and usually garner a bunch of “Like”s.

Religiously, though, I’m part of the small (but growing) minority of full-on atheists, and I’m on the wrong end of Christian privilege.  By which I mean I’m always encountering Facebook posts calling for prayer, or proclaiming a miracle, or citing a Bible verse, or explaining the will of God or Jesus, confidently (and correctly) expected to be generally viewed as worthy of approbation, or at the very worst as harmless.  Why, what kind of a jerk would object to a request for prayer for a sick relative?

Well, I don’t object to a prayer request, but I’d rather do something, y’know, useful.  If your Bible verse gives you guidance through the day, great, but it’s probably meaningless to me.  And miracles do not occur, so I’m pretty confident your “miracle” did not involve any contravention of the laws of physics.

This was brought into sharp relief recently with the tragic theater shooting in Aurora.  There were so many calls for prayer and “mercy on the souls” of the victims that I just shut myself off Facebook for the day.  And on my recent couple-week break from work, I also took a Facebook vacation to help my brain unwind.

The point being, if I were to respond honestly to all this religiosity on Facebook, I’d be viewed as insulting and alienating a lot of people — people whose very religiosity probably makes them look better than me, to the average American.  That doesn’t bother some folks, who are happy to engage on all manner of social media, but it’s not why I go to Facebook.  So I suppress my response… and get a little more bitter.

Well, I’m tired of being bitter.  Hence this blog.  If you don’t want to stray from “polite” conversation… head back to Facebook.  Here… Read At Your Own Risk.