If You Are This, Must You Also Be That?

Within some social groups, within some religious groups, within some cultures, amongst fans of a certain sport, or fans of a genre of music there appears to be certain clichés that go with these. I’m not talking about the rules, laws or “Commandments,” rather the extracurricular beliefs, opinions or likes that members of these groups seem to share en masse (that’s French for as a group).if you are this

I know with my own belief system (or should that be non-belief?) when it comes to my religious persuasion (or non-religious to be more accurate) that I share many opinions with many of my Atheist and Agnostic friends. This is especially so since the boom in social media with not only the sharing of memes and news stories, but the opinions that are offered up in one’s status update, or comments on other people’s status updates and shares, plus those who write comments on status updates of pages and groups they follow on that social media platform.

The one topic that I studied on social media amongst my friends and those commenting on pages is that of gay marriage. I know who my non-religious friends are on Facebook and I could safely say that every one of them has either liked or shared a pro-gay marriage meme, liked or shared a pro-gay marriage news story or blog post, or even shared an anti-gay marriage news story or blog post with a negative comment as part of their share.

Now I googled “atheist against gay marriage” and found that there are a few amateur bloggers (like me) who have written about this and I have found one or two people claiming to be Atheists who started a thread in a forum or asked that question on Yahoo Answer and other “I have a question to ask, can you give me an answer?” websites. I say claim as you can’t really tell if the person asking is or isn’t something, especially when they are asking something that seems to go against the grain.

But that’s the crux of this post. That’s the very point I am trying to make. Should you, could you, would you, or can you go against the popular belief of your group or organisation and still be part of that group; 100% part of it?

I know that there are plenty of Christians that are pro-gay marriage even though it is widely protested against by organisations of that religious denomination. Sure there is the outwardly spoken Anglican Parish of Gosford (APoG) who are being followed by Christians and non-believers alike on their Facebook page. With posts like this one that the Huffington Post picked up, what’s not to like about this particular Church, even by an Atheist like me? And then there’s the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) who are known worldwide for protesting at funerals of dead soldiers with their “GOD HATES FAGS” placards. If you were to chart the Christian organisations and their stance on gay marriage, the bell curve would lean more to the right towards the WBC, just without the hurtful protests and slogans and the Christians in favour of gay marriage would peter out to a blip on the chart towards the APoG’s way of thinking.

In one of my most popular posts from last year, The Ten Commandments of Parenting which was published on iVillage Australia, I mentioned in position number 6 that you should not pass on prejudices that you have to your child. It would therefore be hypocritical of me to suggest that what you believe based on being part of a group, especially where this belief is prejudice to another person or other people should be part of the whole of your organisation. And that’s where the argument for being pro-gay marriage comes from with virtually all of the non-religious people I know.

But enough about gay marriage. That’s not what this is about. What this is about is if you are this, must you also be that? So let me ask the questions to those who ARE this… Do you also have to be… Now it wasn’t my intention to write this as a poem, but as I started writing down these questions, the poeticnessnessness (yes, that’s now a term) became apparent. And whilst it is not in any true metre, I’m running with this…

If you are a black American, must you be a supporter of Obama?

If you are a Muslim, must you be a supporter of Osama?

If you love Rugby League, must you be a hater Rugby Union?

If you love God, must you be a hater of gay unions?

If you go for a team, must you hate their traditional rivals?

If you are non-religious, must you pay out on The Bible?

If you have a vagina, must you be a feminist?

If you write a mum/mom blog, must you always get pissed?

If you have a penis, do you need to “be a man?”

If you live in Nigeria, must you always send spam?

If you’re a naturopath, must you be anti-vax?

If you believe in God, should you believe The Bible is fact?

If you’re a politician, must you tow the party line?

If you are a toddler, must you believe “everything’s mine?”

If you listen to metal, must you grow your hair long?

If you listen to metal, must you hate that new pop song?

If you listen to metal, must you be a drug taker?

If you’re from low socioeconomics, must you be a law breaker?

If you’re a white Australian, must you also be racist?

If you’re a man who likes porn, must you think like a rapist?

If you vote for The Greens, must you be vegetarian?

If you listen to Reggae, must you be Rastafarian?

If you are Rastafarian, must you also smoke pot?

If you get one He-Man figure, should you be a collector of the lot?

If you were a child star, should you change your image when you’re older?

If you think different from your group, should you get the cold shoulder?

There are more that I could add, but I was hoping that I could start off 2014 with a blog post that received some great feedback. So tell me, what would you add to this list? It could be something like “if you’re a young male who just received his driver’s licence, must you also drive your car fast to impress people?” or something completely different. Please, join the conversation…

4 thoughts on “If You Are This, Must You Also Be That?

  1. In group/out group dynamics are always interesting to follow. To answer your question I find with most groups they will have a set of principles at the core of their group. You can not for the most part descent from these are still be part of the group. Meaning I can’t claim to be a atheist who believes in God, or a Christian who worships Zeus, or a Toronto Maple Leaf Fan who also like the Montreal Canadiens (NHL teams if you don’t follow the sport). But there are lots of other issues that impact the group that you can descent from.

    I know in Canada one of the big debates is can you be a feminist and support any law that would restrict any kind of abortion. In my own faith community there is tension between the gay rights movement, and various scientific discoveries. At times I feel I am dangerously close to pushing past the allowable boundaries. These things are always worth reflection on and reexamining.

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