On social media, specifically Twitter, I’m always looking for other atheists to follow. I don’t just follow all that I see in other tweets or in recommendations, I actually look at the persons profile, as well as take a quick scan of some of their recent tweets, before I decide whether I want to follow this atheist or not. I look at the tweets mainly of course to determine what they are discussing on Twitter. Would I be interested in being part of any of those discussions? If so, then yes, I will follow that individual. If not, maybe I’ll look another time.
I never really judge any of those that I follow, or choose not to follow, by their political leanings. I know that as a conservative, I’m a minority among atheists and what I’m more interested in is less someone’s political ideology than what is being said about atheism or religion. That seems right, doesn’t it? I don’t judge other atheists on their political views, and even though I’m a self described conservative, I don’t think other atheists should decide to follow me, or not, based on mine.
Recently, I followed an atheist who, by my not-so-rigorous standards fit those I thought I may want to follow on Twitter. Let me be clear, I don’t expect everyone I follow to follow me back. In fact, I have no expectations there at all. I’m just interested in what a particular atheist has to say. If at some point, I find that they are not who I thought they were, based on my cursory look, I unfollow. I think a lot of us do the same. To be plain, I won’t follow those atheists whose entire timeline is political in any way. I unfollow those I find that after a time, have fooled me because they are, in fact more about politics than anything else. I don’t care. I’m uninterested.
I have political and social views, as do everyone reading here. Sometimes, I will actually write about what I believe on them. As I already said, I’m a conservative and sometimes, I can’t write a piece without those views being a part of what I write. My readers can like what I say or not. They’re welcome to comment on anything I say as I don’t moderate comments as many other do. Everyone’s view is welcome here whether they agree with me or not.
What was interesting to me about this one atheist I followed is that no where in their profile is there an indication of their political leaning, In the last couple of years, I’ve found that rarely and also refreshing, I received a response from this person, who included a screenshot of my home page on Twitter that stated the following:
I have to ask @jeh7041 because you have followed me – as a conservative atheist…are you a Trump supporter as well?
That took me aback. What does one thing have to do with the other? Is there now some litmus test as to whether another atheist will return the follow? Should I unfollow all of those Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren supporters that are atheists as well? Should an atheist say something positive about a politician I don’t care for be the line in the sand as to if I follow them or not?
I’m neither Republican or Democrat. I don’t care for those badges being applied. Those that are proud one way or the other? Good for you, but please don’t assume that somone else is based on nothing other than being a liberal or conservative. Life is much more complicated than that and anyone that chooses their associations based on political ideology? Bye-bye. I know a few liberals that would say the same. Strange huh? Not so much. But in the world of atheism? Not common at all. Most atheists I see online have drawn that line in the sand, that red line, where if someone isn’t with them, then , even though the other may be an atheist, is an enemy.
We’ve allowed politics to infect atheism to the point where we’re viewed as nothing more than an arm of a particular political ideology. That needs to end because a non-belief in god(s) isn’t political at all. It’s a conclusion every one of us has come to over time, no matter what our political ideology may be and that’s how we should view it today.. Every atheist is welcome to their own political mythology, but to judge another based on the same? Is that applying reason or is it just an emotional response? I consider it the later.
Curious as to my response to the above? Here it is:
Not really. Trump’s not a conservative.
And that’s what I believe. It’s not that I reject all of his policies, I just, mostly don’t see what I define as conservatism in some. That was response was good enough to earn me a follow. Gee thanks. Think about how many fewer followers some of us might have as atheists if there was a political test before we either followed or were followed by someone. In my case, there’d be very few atheists that I follow because of their politics.
There are too few of us overall for anyone to be placing any kind of litmus test on one another.