Wednesday, October 28, 2015

An Example Of Why I'm Regretting Having Joined Another Atheist FB Group

I while back I quit all of the atheists Facebook groups I was in, and for a while I didn't miss them at all. Then I started looking around again for interesting groups, and I joined one because it explicitly said in the group description that they were interested in atheists and religious believers listening to each other and giving respect and all that.

But sometimes it looks more like just another atheist group, which a few believers sprinkled into the mix for the purpose of being verbally abused.

And then there are the memes. And it appears that "meme" has accrued another definition since Richard Dawkins coined the term back in the 1970's, when he meant a characteristic or feature passed on within a group by non-genetic means, such as imitation. When I started using the word, I meant by it something close to "slogan;" ironically, I was very critical of New Atheist memes, and I didn't yet realize that not only was the term "meme" coined by The Head New Atheist Himself, but that some of the New Atheist memes which annoyed me most, such as referring to the authors of the Bible as "Bronze Age goat herders," also originated with Dawkins.

But now of course all and sundry -- or at least all and sundry in the irreputable circles in which I groove -- use the term "meme" to refer to captioned pictures used in comments, or very often in lieu of comments, in Internet discussion in places such as Facebook. For example, a meme may consist of a picture of A with a quote by A, or a caption mocking A, or a caption mocking someone else, or, for example, it may consist of a cute animal with a cute caption making it appear that the animal said that cute thing. The very popular lolcat pictures are an example of this recent definition of "memes."

So anyway, in this group which allegedly exists in order to build harmony between people who don't see eye to eye on the subject of religion there is a meme, serving as the OP of a thread, which consists of a crudely-drawn picture of the Earth and the caption:

If you were born in Israel, you’d probably be Jewish.
If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you’d probably be Muslim.
If you were born in India, you’d probably be Hindu.
But because you were born in North America, you’re Christian…

Your faith is not inspired by some divine, constant truth.
It’s simply geography.


And of course, being who I am, my first impulse was to point out that a lot of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Taoists, adherents of religions of indigenous peoples and other non-Christians were born in North America, and a lot of non-Jews in Israel, and what percentage of India is Hindu exactly? I wanted to look that up so I could contribute it to the discussion. Appears it's around 80%. Wow I thought it was much lower; I thought that between Muslims and Buddhists and Sikhs and Jains and others in India, Hindus might actually be less than 50% of the population, making the meme factually incorrect about India.

And of course the meme is factually incorrect inasmuch as it says "because you were born in North America, you’re Christian" instead of "because you were born in North America, you’re probably Christian" --

but as far as I can see, nobody in the thread wants to celebrate cultural diversity; it's just one more stupid backwoods-fundie-Christinas-vs-their-backwoods-New-Atheist-cousins Religion-is-stoopid- Is-not- Is-too Yuh-HUH Nuh-UH dealy.

I didn't notice anyone pointing out that a meme saying "because you were born in North America, you’re Christian" to all of its readers was posted on the World Wide Web, ignoring not only non-Christian Amurrkins but also all non-Amurrkins.

Or, to sum up this post in 9 words: An awful lot of New Atheists are friggin' hicks.

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