How life has changed in the last 40 years, because it seems that almost everything we say offends somebody and we now live in a state of perpetual worry. We can’t say this we can’t say that without somebody falling off their stool with bouts of anxiety.
Take Facebook for example, I have had on numerous occasions when people who had previously been friends with me unfriending me because of a statement that I posted or maybe just an opinion, now it’s not wrong to have a different opinion than me and I am certainly not saying I’m right about everything but it’s kind of weird that people think it’s acceptable to be so offended by one line of thought that they need to eradicate that person from their life.
It is well known among those that actually know me that I am an atheist. I’m not an anti-theist but just somebody who does not believe in any of the gods. To me they are all man-made and came understandably from the time when we knew very little and were trying to make sense of the world. (Ironically I do love churches)
Now I have many friends who are religious and I might add from different religions and I regularly see their pro-religion comments and here is the point, although I disagree with them and don’t believe in what they believe in I don’t immediately unfriend them because they have many other values that I do agree with. I can have conversations with these people on many other topics and enjoy the interaction, and I am not offended because they believe in something that I don’t.
The trouble with this is that often once people find out that I’m an atheist some will try to change me and that can annoy me. It is then that I can be a bit more vocal about why I don’t believe in any of the numerous gods or religions.
However, it’s not just religion that people get offended over in fact it’s just about almost everything that gets covered by over sensitivity. Now I hate racism and bullying as much as anybody could, I think that when somebody openly attacks someone because of the colour of their skin or the shape of their body then it says a lot more about that person than it does the person they are attacking and I agree that we should eradicate that kind of behaviour at every level that we can.
The other side to this coin is that a lot of it is unbalanced and is just people jumping on a bandwagon, after all think of this, there are not many Irishmen that I know that get offended by being called Paddy and the same goes for Welshman who get nicknamed Taffy, Scotsman getting called Jock does not seem to create any extra wave of sensitivity but try calling someone from Pakistan Paki and the whole world erupts. Now if you say any of these words with venom that’s a different matter but just the use of the word is completely harmless it’s just a description.
I am not offended by the fact that a lot of Australians would refer to me as a pommy which I think refers to the fact that we first sailed out of Portsmouth many years ago. I am not offended if you call me bald because I undoubtably am and the hair that does still grow on my head gets shaven off every couple of days, because like looking like that. I’m not offended if you call me white because for most of the year I am (I say most because there are about three months of the year when I adorn a rather sexy tan.)
So, what I don’t understand is why people aren’t just proud of where they came from and their roots, there are many aspects of humanity which I dislike but being from a certain area of the world surely can’t offend anyone? After all it’s how you behave that makes a difference not what you look like or even what you believe in.
You know I am not even sure if we are allowed to call someone black anymore and yet if that is the colour of that person’s skin then surely they are black if I am white it’s not an offensive remark it’s just a fact. I really don’t care what the colour of your skin is if you are nice to me then I am going to be nice to you, and I think if we all stopped being over sensitive and were just kind and looked out for each other, then none of this nonsense would exist. Different cultures are important to us because we learn and expand by understanding different ways of life and that does include the things that I don’t believe in, and yes I can still gain from something that in my mind can’t be true or exist, the reason for this is that I can learn about different people and how they interact and where their belief systems come from, but I don’t need them to be exactly the same as me to gain the benefits in fact it’s more beneficial to me if they don’t.
If you behave like an idiot then I will treat you like one and I don’t blame you if you do the same with me, but don’t expect me to put you on a pedestal because your different than me or think different things than me.
So here’s a few topics that I don’t believe in and because I don’t can cause offence. I don’t believe in fairies, unicorns, the Loch Ness monster, alien abductions, after death experiences, people talking to the dead (never seen one yet that does not use cold reading and Barnum statements), religion, telekinesis, tarot cards and past life experiences. I’m fairly sure there are quite a few more out there.
Now I find many of those topics quite interesting and as I go through life I will never stop learning after all new things are being discovered all the time, areas like quantum are opening doors up that once we could never imagine even existed so we can’t really say no to anything and all possibilities are in fact possible. However, when there is no real proof of anything we cannot therefore say it exists and when someone states that something is true without proof then they are either seriously misguided or they are lying.
Here is the thing though, if you believe in any of the above I can still be your friend because I’m not offended that you think differently to me, in fact you might be correct and me wrong. I too have some spiritual beliefs or feelings that interact with many things that I don’t actually think can be correct, I don’t fully understand these feelings and so don’t push them onto other people but through healthy debate and interaction with others we can learn and grow. The point is to be able to embrace each others thoughts and share our growth and knowledge with each other in a friendly way that benefits us all.
At the moment, it’s almost like society needs to be offended and it wants to see fault in others and for me it’s hard to see where we go in evolutionary terms as a species because we seem to be subdividing all the time, and in my opinion the subdivisions are being caused by belief in things that don’t actually exist.
So, let’s get real and start thinking about the things that really make a difference in our short time on this planet and me worrying about if I’ve offended anyone is not one of them.